Diploma Success and Hepburn Winner
5th March 2014


Congratulations to Oundle pupil Serena Shah who, at the age of 17, has been awarded a DipABRSM Diploma for her piano playing. Considered to be the equivalent of the standard expected at the first year of an undergraduate music degree, the Diploma is a significant achievement. Remarkably, one of the pieces played for the Diploma; Le Chat et La Souris (The Cat and The Mouse) by Aaron Copland, also won Serena the School’s prestigious Hepburn prize.  


For her diploma, Serena played:


·         2 Sonatas in G major (K259 and K260) by Scarlatti

·         Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor (Op. 2, No. 1) by Beethoven

·         Impromptu No. 3 in Gb Major (Op. 51) by Chopin

·         Le Chat et La Souris (The Cat and The Mouse) by Aaron Copland


Serena, who also plays the violin and is working on her violin diploma, will be taking her Grade 8 singing exams soon and has also recently started playing the organ.


Serena is currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Economics, Latin and Music at A level and whilst undecided on her future studies she comments, “I know that music will always be in my life.”


Director of Music, Quentin Thomas commented, “It is a proud moment indeed when any person reaches the top of the music examination ladder and attains Grade 8; wedded to the fulfilment is the demonstration of independent learning, the honing of skills, dedication of hours of sustained periods of practice along with everything that is healthy with learning an instrument – multi-tasking, multi-processing, communication skills, public performing, control of nerves, organisation, perseverance – it speaks volumes for a person.


However, attaining a professional diploma is another league, and earning the right to have a bunch of letters after your name on all documentation for the rest of your life is testimony to the accolade of salutes and applause players deserve. This is a fantastic achievement; warmest congratulations to Serena.”


Oundle School’s Music Department is a vibrant place with around 900 music lessons being taught each week, over 30 ensembles, bands and orchestras rehearsing each week, well over 150 performances a year, with regular tours, musicals and recordings. Recent events include performing Mahler 8 at the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Bernard Haitink, and alongside the New London Orchestra at St John Smith’s Square. Our musicians have recently been working with Nicholas Daniel, Simon Channing, the SKAMPA Quartet, Lewis Kaplan, Francesca Dego and Francesa Leonardi with the Chamber Orchestra performing Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Piano and Violin. There are many forthcoming concerts and performances.


Oundle School’s partnership with The Royal College of Music was launched in January 2012 with the aim of enabling talented musicians from Oundle to work with RCM professors and students for the mutual benefit of both institutions. Professors from RCM give masterclasses and judge the School’s annual Hepburn Music.


Generous Music Scholarships are available at 11+, 13+ and 16+. For further details contact the Director of Music, Quentin Thomas on 01832 277132 or email


Press contact:


Liz Dillarstone

Publicity and Press Relations Officer

Oundle School

01832 277267

07810 788458 


Background Information on Oundle School


Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English Market town from which it takes its name. The School's buildings, dating from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.

The School's history goes back to 1556 when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocers' Company decided to divide the School into two parts: Laxton Grammar School, mainly for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, mainly for pupils from further afield. However, to mark the new millennium, the Governing Body decided to reunite the two schools under the common name of Oundle School, with Laxton as a House for day-pupils.

The School is now able to offer a range of educational possibilities to meet contemporary needs: co-educational day or boarding education, with Laxton Junior as a 5-11 day school, and Oundle School as a boarding and day school, with entry at 11, 13 or into the Sixth Form.

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