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

Awards for Young Musicians (AYM), Future Talent and BBC 30 Second Challenge

Composer Maddy (Year 10) has had a busy half term! She has been the recipient of both an AYM Award and a Future Talent Award, and explained that this will allow ‘me to create new pieces I’ve planned and hopefully perform them early in 2021’. Maddy has also won a BBC 30 Second Composition Challenge for a piece on the Pedal Harp called Rainbow Over Mountain which will be performed and played by the BBC over the coming weeks. We are delighted for Maddy, and look forward to celebrating her new works.

Alhambra Scholarships

Guitarists Maddie (Year 11) and Ashton (Year 10) have been made recipients of Alhambra International Scholarships 2020-21. The programme requires the highest certified playing level of applicants outside of further education (university or conservatoire), and with Maddie and Ashton representing 2 of the 10 scholarships available worldwide, we are tremendously proud of them both.


On Wednesday night, our talented young musicians, led by Zara (Year 13), presented a fantastic evening of music by some of the forgotten great Black-British and African-American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as compositions and arrangements by Purcell students.

Of her hopes for the evening, Zara explained that she felt strongly that ‘following a night of inspiring and eye-opening music-making, both audience and participants will be motivated to discover more works by BAME artists, both past and present. I [Zara] believe it is crucial that these composers’ works find their way out of the shadows and into the concert hall.’

The concert was given in aid of the Chineke! Foundation whose mission is ‘championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’. For more information and how to donate visit, please visit the foundation’s website.

Alexis Ffrench and The Big Issue Collaboration

Pianist and alumnus Alexis Ffrench has teamed up with The Big Issue to present a set of musical cues for positive emotions and mental wellbeing. As with his latest album, Dreamland, Ffrench wants to use music to bring people together and demonstrates that acutely in his playlist for The Big Issue which is available here.

Birthday Honours

We were so very pleased to hear that two former Purcellians Paul Andrew Philbert (Timpanist) and Nicholas Daniel (Oboist and Conductor) have been recognised for their services to music and awarded an MBE and OBE, respectively, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Our congratulations to them both!

Kitchen Concerts London

Alumna and pianist Lara Melda and Chef Tom Anglesea have joined Kitchen Concerts London for a first-of-its-kind virtual presentation of music and food. The inaugural online event, which will take place on 24th October, will pair an intimate musical performance with a memorable cooking class. For more information, or to register for the event, please visit the Kitchen Concerts London EventBrite page here.

Purcell Physiotherapist

In addition to her weekly visit to Purcell, School physiotherapist Sarah Upjohn has been busy promoting musicians’ health and wellbeing virtually, through a number of organisations. Between April and the end of October, she achieved the following:

1. Produced two videos about wellbeing for young musicians for NCOnline (the National Childrens Orchestra online platform).
2. Taught a class of string pedagogy to Masters Students at the University of Illinois.
3. Delivered four 2 hour live webinars on Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing during lockdown for the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).
4. Filmed for the Healthy Conservatoires Network, in one of a series of films that they have commissioned.
5. Contributed to a book by Paul Harris.
6. Contributed to a book by Lucy Heyman (vocal coach, Doctoral Researcher and RCM award holder).
7. Contributed an article to the peer reviewed Journal of Music and Wellbeing.
8. Met the GB Paralympic Squad Exercise Physiologist to discuss similarities in physiological changes in musicians and athletes when they perform.
9. Delivered two live mini-session webinars for The Benedetti Foundation.
10. Joined the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for their induction session, before their live rehearsals resumed.
11. Made 2 short films about ‘preparing to play’ and about ‘sitting to play’ for the RNCM Junior Department.