Music Masterclasses

Bob Chilcott and Travis Baker visit Downe House

1 February 2024

We were delighted to be paid a visit by Bob Chilcott and Travis Baker for a day of inspiring workshops for our young musicians.

We are incredibly proud to have renowned composer and conductor Bob Chilcott as our Musician in Residence and it is always a treat when he visits Downe House.

He began the day by workshopping our A Level musicians’ compositions for string quartet. Camilla and Olivia from the Upper Sixth (Year 13) were able to tap into his vast wealth of composing knowledge to help improve their exam submissions, as well as hearing their compositions being performed live for the first time.

Watching my composition played live added a completely new dimension to it for me.
I found Mr Chilcott’s advice on performance markings particularly valuable in helping me try and capture
the beautiful playing of the Upper Fifth and Miss Butcher onto the musical score as much as possible.
– Camilla, Upper Sixth

Mr Chilcott was also kind enough to run a Q&A session with our Lower Fourth (Year 8) choir, Treblemakers. The pupils asked many insightful questions about Mr Chilcott’s career and life in the classical music industry.

To round off his day, Mr Chilcott spent time mentoring some of our Music Award Holders, including Alice from the Lower Sixth (Year 12) who is the current holder of the Chilcott Choral Scholarship.



On the same day, we were thrilled to welcome Travis Baker who is a highly experienced organist and vocal coach. Mr Baker runs BAY Courses (a series of residential and non-residential singing courses based in East Sussex), works with the choristers at Westminster Abbey, the Bromley Boy Singers, Glyndebourne and many others.

We were fortunate to have his expertise demonstrated in a choral masterclass for Polyphonix, a choir for pupils in the Lower Fifth (Year 10) to Upper Sixth (Year 13).

Mr Baker did lots of technical work with Polyphonix such as on sound production and listening to harmonic changes. He also went into detail on the opening movement of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’, which Polyphonix will soon be performing for the local community at St John’s Church in Newbury. Polyphonix thoroughly enjoyed his visit and gained valuable skills they can bring apply to their future choral work.

I am hugely honoured to have had the pleasure of working with Polyphonix; a terrific group of talented young minds!
– Travis Baker


This was an incredible opportunity for our musicians to learn from professionals in the industry. Discover more about Music at Downe House here.

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