Music in the Lent term

We are proud to highlight some of the fantastic music events from the Lent term run by our passionate Music Department.

28 March 2023

St John’s Concert

This year’s St John’s Concert was particularly special, as Prima Voce performed the epic choral work that is Fauré’s Requiem. The choir was accompanied by a professional orchestra which showcased the talents of our Music Department staff, Visiting Music Teachers and, excitingly, a selection of our more advanced student musicians were invited to play too.

Chamber Orchestra also performed, playingMéditation from Thaïs by Massenet with the beautiful violin solo played by Katie (UV). The programme also featured Eric Whitacre’s Glow performed by Prima Voce and A Prayer for Ukraine. The concert was a sell out and raised £1800 for Christian Aid.

This event also marked the last concert for our Upper Sixth musicians. A special thanks to Sara (Head of Music), Katie (Deputy Head of Music), Lauren (Head of Choral) and Thalia (Leader of Chamber Orchestra) for their dedication to the department throughout their time at Downe and for being incredible role models for the younger pupils.

Young Musician of the Year

Always a highlight in the school calendar, Young Musician of the Year 2023 was a real showstopper of a day for musical excellence. The popularity of the competition was evident with nearly 100 entries – to narrow this down to the finalists was an incredibly difficult process, so every musician should feel incredibly proud of themselves.

What an amazing Young Musician of the Year Competition this year! An exhilarating Finals. A true celebration of exceptional music making from across the School from the beginner to the diploma student!
– Dr Exon (Director of Music)

The day began with the Music Maker Final (Grades 1-3) which was won by vocalist, Elizabeth (Remove). The Rock ‘n’ Pop Final followed with Amy (UIV) winning the categoryThe Maestro Final (Grades 4-6) was very competitive this year but was ultimately won by Georgina (UV) for her saxophone solo. After the Virtuoso finalists (Grades 7+) had enjoyed a special supper, it was their turn to perform. It was truly inspiring to watch every one of them perform so brilliantly. The final prize went to Angelina (LV).

The Director of Music Prize recognises an entrant who may not have made the final but shows a great amount of promise to be a finalist of the future. This year Dr Exon awarded it to Cate (UIV). Congratulations to everyone who took part, and thank you to Bob Chilcott for providing his expertise whilst judging.

It was superb and the performers all deserve great credit. It was a great reflection of the strength of music at Downe House!
– Mr Chilcott (Musician in Residence)

Berkshire Young Musician Final

This year’s Berkshire Young Musician Competition was for String instruments. Applicants were asked to submit a video and then a select few were chosen to compete in the semi-final. Three of our talented musicians, Angelina (LV), Natalie (UIV) and Tatiana (UIV), were all selected for this stage – a huge achievement!

Angelina’s exceptional performance secured her progression to the final, and ultimately, the win in her age category (13-15 years). We are all incredibly proud of what she has achieved. Click here for a glimpse into Angelina’s winning performance, captured by Dr Exon (Head of Music).

Please enjoy reading about Angelina’s experience in her own words:

‘Taking part in the Berkshire Young Musician of the Year Competition 2023 was an amazing experience. This was my first competition in the UK – something I had really been looking forward to since I arrived at Downe House. Not only did it give me the opportunity to learn and perform challenging new repertoire on the violin, it also helped me build my confidence playing in front of an audience.

I had set myself the challenge of learning new repertoire for each round of the competition and, while this was not an easy task, it did help improve my skills as a performer. In the Final, I played an arrangement of Londonderry Air by Kreisler and Introduction and Tarantella by Sarasate. Although the competition was tough, I was really happy to be able to hear and learn from all the other performers.  

I am really grateful to be given the chance to compete in the Berkshire Young Musician of the Year Competition of 2023, and to win the prize for my age category!’

Music Award Holders’ Recital

This term saw another treat of a concert in the Music Award Holders’ Recital. This concert included solo performances on a wide variety of instruments. For the first time, we welcomed members of the public to enjoy the concert. We have recently made our weekly Murray Music Moment lunchtime concerts public and several regular attendees were keen to come and watch the Music Award Holder’s Recital too. We had a strong turnout, and an enjoyable evening was had by all. Congratulations to all the performers who showed an astonishing level of skill in their solos. A captivating harp performance by Alice (LVI) earned her the well-deserved title of Musician of the Concert.

I really enjoyed performing and hearing everyone else’s solos too. Having members of the public attend made the event feel more special and it was nice to perform to such a full audience.
 – Alice, (LVI)

House Music

The eagerly awaited House Music competition gave each boarding house the chance to show off their musical talent in a series of performances. Each house presented a soloist, vocal ensemble, instrumental ensemble and a full house choir. This year’s competition was once again an incredibly fun and successful event. After putting in the hard work to polish their performances, every house can certainly feel very proud of the final results.

In the end, it was AGS who were crowned the overall winners, as well as picking up awards for Best Solo (Angelina, LV), Best Conductor (Camilla, LVI) and Best Programme Design. Congratulations AGS!

The other house’s did not go away empty handed though. AGN won Best Vocal Ensemble, whilst Tedworth went away with Best Presented House. Aisholt collected both the Best Instrumental Ensemble award and the Best Accompanist prize for Juliette (LVI); while Best Choir went to Holcombe, along with the Outstanding Individual Contribution for Felicitas (UV).

Discover more about the amazing opportunities for musicians available at Downe House here and follow the Music department on Twitter for all the latest updates.

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
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