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Musical Highlights

It’s been another momentous year for music at South Hampstead, with a number of noteworthy highlights over the summer term.

We kicked off with the annual Choral and Orchestral concert, an ambitious programme of Sibelius Karelia Suite, performed by Symphony Orchestra, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, performed by the Choral Society, Senior and Staff Choirs, and the Chamber Orchestra, and two solo items – one from Barbara, giving a beautiful performance of the sublime slow movement of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto no 2, accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra, and the other from Thazin, dazzling us with the Flute Concertino by female composer Automne Chaminade, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra.

Our Sixth Form Music Scholars entertained us the following week with a valedictory (for the Upper Sixth) recital of solo music delightfully ranging from Bach to Hendrix – a fond farewell to those girls moving on to the next stage of their musical lives. A smattering of concerts given by Music Scholars from other years took place in their usual Friday lunchtime slots across the term, with audiences thrilled with the wizardry of our younger musicians.

In the second half of term, our second Chamber Concert took place, with girls from all years performing across all instrumental groups, including our guitar and recorder consorts and vocal groups, alongside the many string and piano-based ensembles. Always a lovely evening, this year’s was especially warm as a packed crowd squeezed into the Recital Room.

Our final event, the Senior School summer concert was preceded, the day before, by our annual get together of the large Wind and Brass ensembles from both Junior and Senior School. This is such a fun event and the audience watched in awe at sparkling talents of girls across ten year groups! The Summer Concert was its usual array of choral and instrumental performances, the highlight perhaps being the Junior Jazz Band’s unique entrance (the staff of the music department’s prefatory fanfare notwithstanding) and performance on stage.

A mammoth five days of music exams with ABRSM and Trinity occurring simultaneously with the Junior School’s spectacular Summer Concert made the first week in July a very special one indeed. The Bohemian Rhapsody will stay in the collective memory for many years to come!

Despite leading a busy schedule of ambitious school concerts and recitals, Director of Music Dr Collisson still finds time to travel the globe as an ABRSM examiner and be principal cellist of the Southern Sinfonia and cellist of the String Quartet Lunaire.  He has also appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, the Festival Hall and on BBC Radio 3. Dr Collisson and the rest of the department are passionate about performing music, inspiring the same in our pupils. Music Scholarships are available to girls who show outstanding musical aptitude for entry at 11+ and the Sixth Form. 

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