On Sunday 25th June, Year 7 pianist Ilya performed two solo pieces at the Chickenshed Theatre in Southgate. The Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre and performing arts college which aims to ‘create wonder out of chaos and change out of challenge’. Ilya performed Debussy’s ‘Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum’, and Beethoven’s ‘Sonata in G Minor’ in front of a full auditorium with an audience of over 200. Proceeds from the event will go towards raising funds to continue the important work of the Chickenshed Theatre.
Congratulations to Ilya!
Purcell Pianist Wins Award at International Competition
We were delighted to hear earlier this week that Year 8 pianist Daria has been awarded 2nd Prize at the recent EV-Stellar Competition 2023, an Arts Awards for Vietnamese in Europe. The final took place at the Marylebone Theatre and Daria performed works by Rachmaninoff and Britten.
Well done, Daria!
Photos from the Proms at St Jude’s
On Thursday 29th June, Purcell students performed a programme of Elgar, Britten, Mahler and Beethoven with acclaimed tenor James Gilchrist at St Jude’s Church, Hampstead. The event, which was part of the successful Proms at St Jude’s series, saw Chloe (Year 13) once more take the french horn solo and Director of Music Paul Hoskins conduct. It was a sensational concert, and for those unable to attend here is a selection of photography from the event.
2023 Arthur Felsenstein Award
On Tuesday 4th July, seven shortlisted students took to the Recital Room to perform for their chance to win the 2023 Arthur Felsenstein Award.
This prestigious title is awarded to a Year 13 student leaving to read music at a conservatoire, university or equivalent. The donors, Mr and Mrs Fenton created the award in memory of Mr Alan Fenton‘s twin brothers, in the name of his father, Arthur Felsenstein.
The winner was decided by independent adjudicator, Benjamin Pope (conductor and composer). All seven students performed exceptionally well but the winner, chosen by Benjamin, was Rowena (Year 13, recorder). Accompanied by Josh (Year 13), Rowena performed Yoshimine ‘Mudai, 1st movement’, Anonymous ‘Lament Di Tristano’ and Bob Margolis ‘Dance and Fanfare’.
Many congratulations to Rowena and all the candidates shortlisted!
Clumber Studios Concert
On Monday 3rd July, a group of Purcell students were invited to perform at a private concert at Clumber Studios, Surrey. The programme included Beethoven, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Barrios and Ibert. The audience thoroughly enjoyed it and one even commented that it was the ‘best Clumber concert’ he’d been to.
Congratulations to Ekaterina (Year 13, oboe), Alana (Year 13, oboe), Tom (Year 13, oboe), Rocco (Year 12, guitar), Nathaniel (Year 12, guitar), Ozel (Year 13, piano), Suanoi (Year 11, flute), Birce (Year 11, clarinet), Ostap (Year 10, bassoon) and Chloe (Year 13, french horn) – we couldn’t be prouder of your performance.
With grateful thanks to Peter and Cyntha Hardy for inviting us.
Commercial and Popular Music Department Live
On Monday 3rd July, the students of the Commercial and Popular Music Department performed their very first gig at The Horns, Watford – and it was a resounding success!
The school’s rock band and two session bands – the latter playing soul and Motown hits – took to the stage effortlessly, and it was particularly thrilling to hear some of the original songs from our songwriting students.
A huge well done to everyone who performed – Nathaniel (Year 12), Louis (Year 12), Zaki (Year 13), Freddie (Year 13), Jack (Year 9), Cole (Year 11), Angelica (Year 11), Fiona (Year 13), Ted (Year 13), Noah (Year 13), Clara (Year 9), Albert (Year 10), Rocco (Year 12), Johnathan (Year 12), Yoel (Year 10) and Ruby (Year 9) – we are all hugely proud.
Here’s to more gigs from this new and exciting department.
Musical Trails was a special project, created by Purcell Composition teacher Gareth Moorcraft, to celebrate the School’s 60th Anniversary. Every student was invited to compose a 60-note piece for their own instrument and, on Tuesday 27th June, the pieces were organised in trails all over the school.
Tuesday 27th June also saw numerous performances of ‘Unusual Spaces’, a project devised by Purcell Composition teacher Sylvia Lim. Small concerts took place all over the School in unexpected places – from the art room to the builder’s yard, on the stairs, in corridors, in the gym and even on the minibus!
Concerts Week in Review
This week we had a private concert at Clumber Studios and a sensational Commercial and Popular Music Department concert at The Horns, Watford – the very first external concert for the newest of Purcell’s departments.
At Purcell, we were treated to the third in the series of Purcell Parallels concerts entitled Midsummer Meze, a Rachmaninoff 150 Concert, a student-led Upper Sixth Piano Recital, the dazzling end of year Sound Image Movement Concert and 3 Lunchtime Concerts.
Well done to all composers and performers for their outstanding playing: Ekaterina, Tom, Alana, Suanoi, Birce, Ostap, Chloe, Ozel, Rocco, Nathaniel, Louis, Zaki, Freddie, Jack, Cole, Angelina, Fiona, Ted, Noah, Ciara, Albert, Johnathan, Yoel, Ruby, Elise, Danya, Maddie, Rebecca, Ali, Jessica, Rhea, Antonia, Jacqueline, Mina, Da In, Aaron, Josh, Nemunis, Alexander, Tim, Ken, Leyla, Kaelan, members of Chamber Choir, members of Lower School Choir, members of Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Herman, Ali, Phoebe, Jessie, Chloe, Benji, Henrietta, Sebastian, Mr Longstaff, Dr Hepburn, Ms Walters, Ms Buxton, Mr Swain, Djordje, Mr Coombs, Dexter, Arunima and Tessa.
Video of the Week
Our video of the week is ‘Four New Works’ from Purcell’s Creative Ensemble which was recorded in the Recital Room on Tuesday 4th July.
The Creative Ensemble is a place for performers and composers to collaborate and experiment, performing music from traditionally notated scores, to graphic scores, and the totally improvised. In the ensemble there is no distinction between performer and composer; performers are composers, and composers are performers!
Programme: Laila (Year 13) – ‘Some Variations on Some Variations’ Maddy (Year 12) – ‘Light in Dark Clouds’ Yu-Wei (Year 12) – ‘Fantasia’ Joshua (Year 13) – ‘Die Erforschung’
Oboe – Rhea (Year 12)
Violin – Yu-Wei (Year 12)
Violin – Tori (Year 12)
Viola – Mina (Year 12)
Harp – Maddy (Year 12)
Percussion – Joshua (Year 13)
Piano – Laila (Year 13)
Alumna performs at St John’s College
On Saturday 1st July, alumna and harpist Anne Denholm performed in the chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge, where the choir were singing Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Chichester Psalms’ as part of Evensong. Since leaving Purcell, Anne served as Official Harpist to the then Prince of Wales from 2015-19 and, amongst other commitments, is currently joint Section Principal Harp for the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Alumni Afternoon Registrations
Thank you to those alumni who have already signed up for our reunion event on Sunday 17th September 2023 (2-6pm). For those who have not yet had the chance to do so, the registration form is available here on the School’s website.
Autumn Open Morning
Our next Open Morning will take place on Sunday 8th October 2023. We look forward to welcoming prospective students and parents, who will meet staff and students, take in the campus facilities and enjoy the outstanding music-making that characterises the School.
Please feel free to share news of the Open Morning. Registration is open now here.
Over the Summer we will be publishing news of our 2023/24 Concert and Events programme, the plans for which look set to make it a fantastic year for our young musicians.
For updates, please visit our online Concerts and Events Guide here.
Woodwind Accelerate Afternoon
We are delighted to announce that our next Woodwind Accelerate Afternoon will take place on Sunday 3rd December 2023 from 2.00 to 5.00pm.
The event is open to all Woodwind players of Grade 3 standard and above, and is a fantastic opportunity for young woodwind players to explore aspects of solo performance, technique and chamber music with Purcell’s music tutors. The afternoon will focus on honing and developing the aspects of playing that young musicians really enjoy while also tackling any areas where they might like an extra boost or help. There will be the chance to play to The Purcell School’s instrumental tutors as well as take part in informal discussions and chamber music sessions.
Event: Woodwind Accelerate Afternoon Date: Sunday 3rd December 2023 Time: 2.00 to 5.00pm Venue: The Purcell School, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Herts WD23 2TS Requirements: For woodwind players of Grade 3 standard and above in Years 5-11 Registration Deadline: Sunday 26th November 2023 Cost: Free of charge
To register, please complete the form here. Further information will be sent to the registered email address in the week before the event.