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Welcome to the latest edition of Purcell’s Weekly Highlights!

Phoebe Papandrea

During half term Year 8 pianist Phoebe Papandrea performed in Carnegie Hall, New York at The Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition. She was awarded First Prize and the Exceptional Young Musician Prize. Our congratulations Phoebe, we are delighted for you.

Rhys Concessao

On 22nd October 2019, Year 12 student Rhys Concessao performed a solo recital at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai. Rhys is the first Purcell pianist to have been bestowed an invitation by the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation (Maestro Zubin Mehta’s foundation), and the recital proved a huge success. Rhys received praise for his interpretation of works by Prokofiev, Liszt, Chopin and Kapustin, and for his charismatic performance.

Purcell Maths Photography Competition

The winners of the Purcell Maths Photography competition were announced in assembly this week. The competition ran during the first half of the Autumn term and challenged entrants to capture images of maths in everyday life. The Maths department were inundated with high quality, creative and inventive photographs, and the team were delighted by the response.

Harvey Cullis, Yinong Xiao, Phoebe Papandrea and Mina Hobson-Mazur took the four main prizes for their photographs, with Ella Richardson and Patchubun Panjamapirom being highly commended for their images. It was Eric Wei’s inspired suspended compass and still lifes, however, that crowned him the overall winner. Congratulations Eric!


Rush Hour Lecture: Fact from Fantasy

On Tuesday evening, Purcell teacher Edward Longstaff gave his second lecture of the term in the successful Rush Hour series. He explored the inspiration behind Chopin’s longest and greatest work – Fantasie in F Minor Op 49 – with an analysis of its structure and a discussion of its interpretation. Purcell pianists supported the lecture throughout by playing the musical examples. Julianna Niu was one such student, and is pictured below.

The Rosamunde Trio Masterclasses and Recital

On Wednesday the Rosamunde Trio, comprising Martino Tirimo, Ben Sayevich and Daniel Veis, visited the School for a series of masterclasses with students. Martino Tirimo led a piano masterclass, while Ben Sayevich focused on violin, and Daniel Veis on a quartet. The visit culminated in an evening recital which a member of the audience described as ‘spellbinding’.

Alexis Ffrench

Alumnus, contemporary pianist and composer Alexis Ffrench has announced that his new album, Dreamland, is due to be released on 27th March 2020 via Sony Music. Of the album Alexis commented ‘In writing the album, I wanted to shine a light in times of darkness as an antidote to our troubled times; to give listeners an opportunity to stop, listen and breathe, if only for one three-minute track. I hope listeners use Dreamland as a form of escapism, to transport them to a safe and calm oasis in which they can create time for self-care, often an afterthought in our busy, stressful working lives.’

Alexis also appeared in the news this week over his duet with Mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins at the Music Industry Trusts Award ceremony. The pair will perform together again at Jenkins’ Christmas Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 12th December.

Mica Levi

Alumna and composer Mica Levi has written an original score for Jonathan Glazer’s new short film, The Fall. The BBC hosted a surprise launch of the film on 28th October, with an unannounced broadcast on BBC 2, BBC iPlayer and in a number of UK independent cinemas. The film will be available to view online for the next 12 months.


Alumnus, pianist and composer Yiruma has just announced the date of his fifth concert in Singapore. He will be performing for one night only at The Star, Singapore, on 29th February 2020. Additional information is available here.

Baroness Mary Warnock

A service of thanksgiving for the life and work of the philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock was held on Tuesday 22nd October at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey. The late Purcell patron, who died aged 94 earlier this year, played a prominent role in public life, including chairing an influential committee of enquiry into Special Educational Needs and then the enquiry whose report formed the basis of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. She maintained an active interest in education throughout her life and, from her childhood in Winchester, she acquired a lasting love of church music. Music of all kinds was important to her. The service celebrated her life and work, with carefully chosen readings and music to reflect this.

Sir Andrew Davis

Purcell patron Sir Andrew Davis has been nominated for Australia’s annual Limelight Artists of the Year Awards. For details or to vote, please visit the Limelight website here. Voting closes on 5th December 2019.

Vladimir Ashkenazy

Purcell patron, pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday 30th November. With Sayaka Shoji on the violin, the Philharmonia will play Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Dvorak’s Symphony No 9 From the New World. Tickets are available here.