Creating new music should lie at the heart of any musical institution: last Wednesday The Purcell School demonstrated a continuing commitment to composition by staging a ‘New Music’ First Study Composers’ Concert in the Recital Room. This concert showcased the work of six of the school’s first-study composers. The evening opened with works by the two youngest composers in the school: Chelsea Becker and Philip Theodorou from year 7. Their works had been inspired by a project focusing on birdsong and included pieces for two pianos (Philip), a flute, oboe and clarinet trio (Chelsea), recorder solo (Chelsea) and mixed ensemble (Philip). These were given engaging performances by pupils from years 7 to 13.
The second half of the concert focused on works by four older composers, including two by Lauren Marshall who is a composer in residence at the National Youth Orchestra for a second consecutive season. A selection of five topographical works from the Panorpheus project in Malta formed a centrepiece to the concert. Pieces by Pablo Barios, Zakia Fawcett and Theo May were performed by an eclectic line-up of senior and junior performers. Head of Composition Alison Cox hosted the evening; Simon Speare, composition teacher, was also present, along with an appreciative audience of fellow pupils, parents, family members, guests and teachers. Lauren Marshall’s witty take on a Shakespeare sonnet ended a lively and memorable evening in the Recital Hall whilst Edward Longstaff’s Panorpheus composition was performed by musicians positioned all around the New Music Centre as the audience made their way home.
The evening’s concert gave a glimpse into the extraordinary creativity of the Composition Department at The Purcell School and we are all looking forward to hearing the world premier of Thomas Sparkes’ competition-winning composition, ‘Kakoethes’, which will be performed atThe Royal Festival Hall on 29th February 2016.