16 year-old Joe Parks has reached the Percussion category final of BBC Young Musician, the UK’s leading contest for young classical musicians.
After an extensive audition process, judges have announced five finalists for each of its categories – Strings, Keyboard, Woodwind, Brass and Percussion. The Percussion category final will take place on 8 March 2016 at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, followed by the semi-final on 13 March 2016. The BBC Young Musician final will take place at the Barbican, London, on 15 May 2016, where three finalists will be accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. BBC Young Musician will be broadcast extensively on BBC Four with complementary programming on BBC Radio 3.
Previous Purcell School winners of this prestigious competition are oboist Nicholas Daniel, and pianists Lara Melda and Martin James Bartlett.
Martin James Bartlett, 2014 BBC Young Musician, commented: "BBC Young Musician has been the most exhilarating and inspirational musical experience of my life! Winning the title has launched my solo performing career and for that I am immensely grateful. I would like to wish every category finalist the best of luck for their upcoming performances!"
Headmaster, Stephen Yeo, said “We are thrilled to hear the news that Joseph has done so well and look forward to following his progress through the remaining stages of the competition. Here at The Purcell School we are immensely proud of Joseph and know just how hard he works, with the dedicated help of his teachers, to hone and develop his innate musical ability”
Joe Parks joined The Purcell School in 2013, with a Government Music and Dance Scheme Scholarship. He studies Percussion with Cameron Sinclair, Marimba with Daniella Ganeva and he also has classical and jazz piano, and composition lessons.
On the Thursday of Outings’ Week, eleven Muggles (nine Juniors along with Professors Hayward and Jacklin) were transported by the Purcell Bus to Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden for a fun-filled foray around the two studios that now house the Harry Potter film exhibitions. The visit was arranged to tie in with the students’ English lessons which this term are based on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The exhibitions clearly cast their magic spells on the children who had a spellbinding time seeing all the props, costumes and sets that were used in all of the eight films. When asked for her comment on the (non-alcoholic!) Butter Beer sampled at lunchtime Alexandra replied, “Mmmm!” Sometimes only one word will do!
A fantastic day was had by all with many of the children saying that the highlight of their day was seeing the magnificent miniature model of Hogwart’s Castle covered in snow.
On Wednesday 20 January, as part of their art course, the Year 8 pupils visited the Natural History Museum at Tring. Hannah, from the Education Department at the museum scoured the collection for insects which would be suitable to draw from. She found lots of wonderful creatures in the archive, some sets of butterflies and beetles in small cases and some in resin blocks, perfect for looking closely at. The year 8s were focusing on bugs as they will inspire this term’s art nouveau project!
After a brief introduction from Hannah, Miss Sender led a drawing session, with each student aiming to fill a consortia book with a variety of drawings from life, looking closely at the specimens, which were hundreds of years old, and recording what we saw. Using pencils and pens pupils recorded detail and pattern, Kishor said; “We drew the outlines of the bugs, then the patterns they had on them (some beautiful some not so beautiful), before drawing them in absolute detail.”
At the same time Miss Hayes ran a photography workshop with individual pupils, each having the opportunity to use the ‘mini studio’ pod to take some ‘macro’ images of the insects. Everyone worked really hard doing the drawings and taking great photos, which will really inspire their upcoming lessons. In the afternoon there was an opportunity to explore the 4,000 animal specimens collected by Walter Rothschild which are on permanent display.
Isabelle said: “I really enjoyed this trip and I have learned much more about sketching animals and paying much more attention to small details which make the animal what it is. This was a really interesting and fun outing!”
Many congratulations to our Head Boy and Head Girl, who have received Oxbridge offers for next year. Tom Sparkes to read Music at Girton College Cambridge and Jenny Clarke to read Music at Christ Church Oxford. Both pupils hold Government Music and Dance Scheme Scholarships at The Purcell School.
Hailed by The Telegraph as ‘potentially one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century’, Purcell alumnus Yevgeny Sudbin's latest recording for BIS Records has been given an International Classical Music Award (ICMA) alongside 15 other productions from 15 labels in the Audio and Video category. Yevgeny performs Medtner Piano Concerto No. 3 and Scriabin Piano Concerto on this recording with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton.
Yevgeny was born in St Petersburg in 1980 and in 1997 moved to London to study at The Purcell School, and subsequently the Royal Academy of Music where he completed his Bachelor and Masters degrees under Christopher Elton. He was supported by The Wall Trust as well as the Hattori and Pulvermacher Foundations.
The Awards were announced yesterday, with Soprano Dame Felicity Lott being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Artists performing on the winning audio and video releases are Ensemble Leones, Michala Petri and Mahan Esfahani, Ann Hallenberg, Joyce DiDonato, Philippe Herreweghe, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Andras Schiff, Isabelle Faust, Yevgeny Sudbin, Sir Simon Rattle, Krysztof Penderecki, Jordi Savall and Riccardo Chailly.
ICMA President Remy Franck says: "According to our criteria only really outstanding recordings are allowed to win a prize, and to get there, we will certainly never be misled by any chart rankings or the whatsoever popularity of artists. At ICMA, also less known musicians and smaller independent labels have a chance. It’s all about musical quality and integrity!"
The Award Ceremony and Gala Concert will take place on April 1, at the Kursaal in San Sebastian, hosted by the Orquesta de Euskadi (Basque National Orchestra) and San Sebastian European Capital of Culture 2016.
The full list of awards is here.
On Tuesday 12 January, our pianists performed 28 new piano pieces to a large appreciative audience in a concert entitled 'A European Pianorama'. The pieces were written by composers from each of the EU countries, specially created for this event as a special post-examination academic music leadership project in June 2015 by young pianists from The Purcell School, supported by staff members Andrew Williams and Alison Cox.
The project has its roots in a similar enterprise run by The Commonwealth Resounds as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago. The Commonwealth Pianorama was named as a pun upon the well-known Caribbean steel pan festival 'Panorama', and 53 short piano pieces were performed in Trinidad, London and Edinburgh throughout 2009 and 2010. Due to the success of this original project, the decision was made to put on a European version!
Each pianist was invited to choose two or three EU countries, listen to the traditional and classical music, identify the main composers and musical organisations in each country, and find a young composer to write a short piano piece for them. The pianists, between them, secured pieces from each of the 28 countries, which is an impressive achievement. They have also made some new international friends and contacts.
There were a few surprises in the programme, including three eggs being smashed onstage as part of one composition, and unexpected sounds from a piano that had been prepared! We were delighted to have the following composers present – Felix Altenberg from Belgium, Frederico Paixaio from Portugal, Pol van den Berg from the Netherlands, William Gough from the UK, Vilhelm Patriks Skabardis from Latvia and Ana Meunier from France.
The event will be repeated at the Royal Over Seas League's Princess Alexandra Hall in June 2016.
Last Sunday afternoon Mr Hathway and Mr Sewart took 14 Purcellians to Stoneham Court in Reading to present a musical cocktail of chamber music performances, masterclasses, and side-by-side experiences with the Academy @ Maestros, run by Berkshire Music Hub.
The Berkshire Maestros is an organisation for children aged 9 -18 which meets once a month for an all-round classical music education. All sections of the orchestra were involved and our pupils proved to be excellent outreach ambassadors as they presented two lively hours of performance and discussion. This was followed by the massed forces – 30 strings, 25 brass, 25 wind and 5 percussion - joining together to give an exuberant mini performance of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique.