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29 January 2016

Britten Sinfonia - Second Year of Residency

We were delighted to once again host members of the Britten Sinfonia for two days of workshops and an evening performance in the Music School.

During the two days, there was focus on both chamber music and singing.  Members of the Fifth and Sixth Form had been working on various compositions for strings, clarinet and oboe and these were developed further with guidance from the Britten Sinfonia players.  It was a wonderful opportunity for the pupils to hear their compositions played by professionals and to receive constructive and very useful criticism on their work.  There were some very encouraging comments on the high standard of the pupil work.  Very well done to our composers Amelia Bailey, James Hendy, Giselle Dugdale, Helena Regan, Honor Hornsby, Jess Jafry, Alby Stevens, Sam Hopkins, and to Patrick Shepherd who received a special mention of excellence.

Meanwhile there were masterclasses for our top singers with soprano Julia Doyle, cellists with Caroline Dearnley, violins with Jacqueline Shave and Miranda Dale and for our oboists with Marios Argiros.   These both provided useful performance opportunities and many pupils commented on how insightful the feedback was.  It is always extremely valuable to play to other musicians, especially such esteemed professionals, and to hear their views.

The sell-out concert by the Britten Sinfonia players on Thursday evening demonstrated the extent of their talents in a performance setting.  Three Shell classes, our GCSE and A level musicians, music scholars and members of the wider community enjoyed the wide ranging programme which included Fratres (for string quartet) by Arvo Pärt, Continuum by Ligeti, and, as part of a world premiere tour, This Lunar Beauty by Anna Clyne. 

Many thanks go to Jacqueline Shave, Miranda Dale ~ Violins, Clare Finnimore ~ Viola, Caroline Dearnley ~ Violoncello, Marios Argiros ~ Oboe, Julia Doyle ~ Soprano and Maggie Cole ~ Harpsichord for their time, expertise and inspiration to both staff and pupils during the course of the two day residency.

For more information about the Britten Sinfonia, please visit

Reporting by Ruth Partington, Assistant Director of Music (Academic)

Pictures from the Britten Sinfonia visit are available to view and download.  Photo Set 1, Photo Set 2.

Pupil compositions are available to listen to via this link


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