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

The Purcell School Brass Ensemble

On Sunday 17th November, The Purcell School Brass Ensemble were honoured to take part in The High Sheriff’s Justice Service for the County of Hertfordshire. The service, which is held annually in St Alban’s Cathedral, recognises those who administer law and order, and those who work or serve in a voluntary capacity in the county. As part of the service, our Brass Ensemble performed two of Elgar’s processionals fanfares to a full congregation of Hertfordshire VIPs. Sarah Beazley, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, thanked all the Purcell musicians who took part adding that ‘It was wonderful to have them, and they really add to the occasion’

Bethany Caswell

Harpist Bethany Caswell has been named Nottingham Young Musician of the Year 2019. Having previously won her first two rounds in the Strings section of the competition, Bethany competed against four other section winners to take the overall award.

Alex Roswell Ryan

Year 8 French horn player Alex Roswell Ryan has been offered a place with London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) for their Barbican concerts and 2019/20 tour season. The first concert will take place on 8th January and will be conducted by Sian Edwards.

Tristan Vermeulen

On Saturday 15th November, pianist Tristan Vermeulen was the youngest player and one of only two pianists to perform in the North London Centenary Concert, Countdown to 100. Tristan’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor can be viewed here.

Students take in Maleficent

On Sunday, two members of boarding staff took a group of students to the Odyssey Cinema in St Albans to watch Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. A great time was had by all!

Purcell Running Club

Saturday 16th November saw the Purcell Running Club attend the Rickmansworth Park Run for the first time. Eleven students from Year 8 through to Year 13 took part, and enjoyed a busy event that ran around two lakes and along part of the Grand Union Canal. The students were supported by three members of staff who welcomed Jessica, James, Asli and Beste for their first event. Running club stalwarts included Daven, Rowena, Nadia, Harvey, Reuben, Benji and Ali. Well done to everyone.

Joo Yeon Sir

Alumna and Purcell violin teacher Joo Yeon Sir performed Prokoviev’s 1935 Violin Concerto with the Folkestone Symphony Orchestra at Holy Trinty Church last week. Of the event, KentOnline reported that the audience was ‘won over by the power and passion of her [Joo Yeon Sir’s] playing’.

Joo Yeon Sir’s latest solo violin work, My Dear Bessie, was also recently released on YouTube to tie in with Remembrance Day. The work is inspired by a book of Second World War love letters, and is available to view here.

Jacob Collier

Grammy-award winning artist and Purcell alumnus Jacob Collier has received two nominations for the 62nd Grammy Awards (2020). His piece Moon River is up for Beast Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, and All Night Long featuring Jules Buckley, Take 6 and Metropole Orkest has been nominated for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals. We wish him every success!

As part of their 70th anniversary, AKG Audio last week honoured Qunicey Jones with a Lifetime Achievement Award in a star studded evening of dazzling music-making. To mark the occasion, Purcell alumnus and protégé of Quincey Jones, Jacob Collier, performed three of the most memorable songs from Jones’ extensive body of work – Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra, and George Benson’s Give Me The Night.

Alexandra Ridout

Alumna and jazz trumpeter Alexandra Ridout performed with her quintet as part of LIVE at St Wilfrid’s on 12th November.

Kenji Miura

Alumnus and pianist Kenji Miura has won the Concours Long Thibaud Crespin International Piano Competition 2019. Of receiving the competition’s First Grand Prix, Kenji Miura said ‘Winning the competition was beyond expectations’.

Martin James Bartlett

Alumnus and pianist Martin James Bartlett has won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions 2019, which took place earlier this week in New York. Martin James Bartlett is one of four First Prize winners who will be invited to join the Young Concert Artists’ roster – granting access to a minimum of 3 years management services, career engagements, publicity and career guidance – plus coveted recital debuts in New York City and at the Washington DC Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts.

Jack Liebeck

Alumnus and violinist Jack Liebeck has received great critical acclaim for his performance of A Brief History of Time by Paul Dean. A piece dedicated to the late Professor Stephen Hawking and performed as part of the ‘Brian Cox: A Symphonic Universe’ at Melbourne’s Hammer Hall, Liebeck’s playing is praised by the Daily Review for expressing the ‘soaring themes of joy (albeit sometimes bittersweet), wit, tension and even rage’ as it evokes the idea of illness ravaging the body of one of the world’s greatest minds.

Mica Levi

Alumna and contemporary composer Mica Levi has composed a new score for Nan Goldin’s exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery. The digital slideshow, entitled Memory Lost, recounts a life lived through a lens of drug addiction – the journey being at times captivating, beautiful and haunting – and is accompanied by Levi’s emotionally charged piece. The exhibition runs from 14th November 2019 to 11th January 2020. For more information visit the galleries website here.

Sir Simon Rattle

On Sunday 17th November, Purcell patron Sir Simon Rattle was guest conductor at a benefit concert which took place at the New England Conservatory. The event, entitled ‘Hope & Harmony: A Benefit Concerto for Underserved Women with Breast Cancer’, had an all-star orchestra comprised of musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Proceeds from the concert went to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Project, the Boston Breast Cancer Equality Coalition, and the Greater Lawrence Family Health Centre.

Sir Andrew Davis

Purcell patron Sir Andrew Davis conducted violin soloist Karen Gomyo and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday 13th November in what has been described as an evening that saw the conductor laureate at his ‘interpretive best’.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

As previously reported in the Weekly Highlights, Auckland’s Aotea Centre theatre has been renamed after the renowned soprano and Purcell patron Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. A star-studded gala concert was held on Wednesday night to commemorate the event, and Dame Kiri was treated to a surprise performance from one of her former students. Ipu Laga’aia. Dame Kiri said that the renaming ‘a great honour’ and something she had never expected – ‘It’s extraordinary to have something like this, it’s quite breathtaking’.