String players work towards acquiring a solid technical foundation and, as well as developing their skills as soloists, will become accustomed to working as part of a group. Senior string players have the opportunity to audition each year for the chance to perform a short recital in a Solo Instrumentalists’ Concert held annually in the Wigmore Hall as well as for concerto opportunities.
Orchestral playing has an important place in string players’ programmes. There is a Junior String Orchestra, Sinfonia for players in the Middle School, and Symphony and Chamber Orchestras for pupils in the Sixth Form. All string players in Year 9 and above have the opportunity to play chamber music in weekly coached sessions, and selected ensembles play in our annual Wigmore Hall chamber music concert.
There is additionally a Chamber Music Academy, which takes place on Saturday mornings throughout the year. This is open to external students, and benefits from the immense experience and inspiration of members of Chilingirian, Endellion, Sacconi, Jubilee, Piatti, and Elias Quartets.
Strong links are maintained with Heads of Strings at all the London Music Colleges enabling access to the broadest range of musical experiences as well as facilitating the transition to the world of higher education. The department has an excellent of securing scholarships to the best conservatoires in the UK and abroad.
String masterclasses take place regularly with outstanding visiting artists such as Lewis Kaplan, Erick Freedman, Felix Andrievsky, Igor Ozim, Ralph Kirshbaum, Sylvia Rosenberg and Steven Doane. In Summer 2012 there was a series of classes as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations given by Zakhar Bron, Natalia Gutman, Alina Ibragimova, Craig Ogden and The Brodsky String Quartet. More recent visitors have included Sandy Baillie (cello), Louise Lansdown (viola), and Natalia Lomeiko (violin).
Head of Department
Charles Sewart AGSM – Head of Strings
With tours to over forty countries as a member of the Chilingirian Quartet and other ensembles, Charles has enjoyed a busy schedule of performing, recording and teaching at some of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals. Recordings of a wide range of repertoire from the well known classics to lesser known masterpieces for Virgin/EMI, BMG, Decca, Hyperion, CRD, Chandos and Classic fm have become central to the classical recording catalogue. Collaborations with composers such as Hugh Wood, Robert Saxton, John Tavener, and Michael Berkeley have been core to the Chilingirian’s work, performances and recordings meeting with highest critical acclaim.
As a member of the Chilingirian Quartet, resident at the Royal College of Music, Charles has given classes and recitals and worked with young ensembles on the masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire; former students of the Royal College include the now highly successful Belcea and Sacconi Quartets.
Charles has also collaborated with many other international artists; his work with London Mozart Trio includes recordings of Schubert and Dvorak trios which were voted best available digital recording by BBC Radio’s “Building a Library”. Charles’ recording of the violin sonata and other chamber music by Reynaldo Hahn with Stephen Coombs was voted “CD of the month” by BBC Music Magazine.
Charles is a principal member of the London Chamber Orchestra which performs regularly at major London venues and has had the privilege of performing at important Royal events such as Her Majesty The Queen’s private birthday party at Kew Palace and the wedding of HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in 2012.
Charles has been Head of Strings at the Purcell School since 2008 and, since leaving the Chilingirian Quartet, has continued to pursue a broad and varied performing career including international concerto performances, leading, presenting and directing gala performance of music of the Strauss family and Charles is frequently asked to join colleagues playing violin and viola in chamber recitals both in the UK and abroad.
Sarah-Jane Bradley - Viola
Tony Cucchiara – Violin
Alda Dizdari - Violin (GSMDJD)
Tatjana Goldberg - Violin (MA, PhD MC)
Felicity Lipman - Violin (GSMDJD)
Sadagat Mamedova-Rashidova – Violin
Charles Sewart – Violin
Nathaniel Vallois – Violin (BC)
Ben Wragg - Violin
Pal Banda - Cello
Alexander Boyarsky - Cello (RCM)
Tim Lowe - Cello (GSMD)
Neil Tarlton - Double Bass (RCM, PO)
Francesco Mariani - Guitar
Jean Mercer – Alexander Technique
BC - Birmingham Conservatoire
CQ - Chilingirian Quartet
GSMD - Guildhall School of Music and Drama
GSMDJD - GSMD Junior Department
MC - Moscow Conservatory
PO - Philharmonia Orchestra
RCM - Royal College of Music
RNCM - Royal Northern College of Music
The Trout Quintet (1st Movement) - Franz Schubert
Purcell School students at the Wigmore Hall, April 2012