On Thursday 2nd March, a very special and unique event took place at the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square. It was an evening of contemporary art-inspired music, composed by five of our youngest first study composers and performed by the collective Music Off Canvas.

The pieces were written in response to the Saatchi Gallery exhibition, Painters’ Painters, which the School visited in early 2017 and from which each student selected a work of art to write a piece of music about.

Philip Theodorou, aged 12, picked Richard Wilson’s renowned installation, ’20:50′. The sculpture consists of a room filled to waist height with oil, and Philip imagined the oil escaping from the sculpture and invading the gallery. However, a mere week before finishing his composition Philip was informed that ’20:50′ had been decommissioned and removed from the Saatchi Gallery. For many composers, this would have been a disaster, but Philip calmly said ‘Oh dear! Oh well . . . !’ and re-imagined the piece, maintaining its original title ‘Oil Escape’ but instead representing the complete loss of oil from the space.

The performance, entitled ‘Painters’ Painters, Composers’ Composers’, was warmly received and well attended by staff, pupils, parents and friends. The young composers involved were Sasha Scott, Asli Emre, Chelsea Becker, Petar Jovanovic and Philip Theodorou, who expressed equal parts excitement and anxiety at watching their new pieces played in such an incredible environment. The innovative ensemble, Music Off Canvas, was led by alumnae and Co-Director Hannah Grayson (flute), with former Purcellian Jenny Melville (oboe), and former Practice Supervisor Joanna Baillie Stark (bassoon). 

We are enormously grateful to the Saatchi Gallery, who not only promote exciting new art works by emerging artists, but also do so much to help and support young people in creative enterprise. Special thanks to Rozenn Logan, Education Manager, who worked so hard with us all to make the event a success.