Pupils at Brentwood Preparatory School were surprised
to find reigning BBC Young Musician of the Year Martin Bartlett tinkling the
ivories at yesterday morning’s school assembly.
Martin, himself a former Brentwood School pupil,
was crowned BBC Young Musician of the Year in May, so it was a rare treat for
Prep pupils to have one of the greatest up-and-coming pianists in their midst.
Eighteen-year old Martin made the impromptu end-of-term
appearance at the final assembly of the year and watched on as awards were
handed out to Form groups. His proud mother, Mrs Hazell Bartlett, who teaches Music at Brentwood
Preparatory, watched on from the sidelines.
Staff and pupils
were enthralled by Martin’s spontaneous performance and he received an
enthusiastic welcome. Prep Headmaster Jason Whiskerd said it was a thrill and
an honour to have such a gifted pianist take time out of his busy schedule to
make the children’s day.
Martin scooped the
BBC title with his performance of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kirill Karabits in the competition
final at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
He joined Brentwood
in 2007 as a Music Scholar and attended the School until 2010, when he left to
pursue his musical career at a specialist music school. He was a regular
performer in the School’s programme of Chamber Concerts where his flair as a
pianist was there for all to see.
Hornchurch, began learning the piano at the age of six and the bassoon and
recorder from the age of eight. By the time he was 12 he had achieved Grade 8
Distinction on all three. He is now at the Royal College of Music studying for
a Music degree.
Martin said it was
a difficult balance juggling his degree studies with musical demands which see
him performing all over the world, but he praised his lecturers for the amount
of support and understanding they show him.
The unassuming teenager
said he looked forward to travelling the world, proving to people that
classical music can be enjoyed by everyone, and ensuring classical music was
more accessible to all.
And Martin’s days
of competitive musical challenges may not be over as he is considering entering
more prestigious international music competitions. He is also following in his
mum’s footsteps and finding the time to teach what must be some of the luckiest
young musicians in the world.
Brentwood School is at the forefront of independent
education, providing first class opportunities for its pupils. Founded in 1557,
the School statutes were signed by John Donne in 1622, declaring that pupils
should be instructed in Virtue, Learning and Manners; values still embodied
today. Combining inspirational modern teaching with traditional values, the School
aims to provide a first rate education. Brentwood offers extensive
extra-curricular opportunities, including excellence in sport, music and drama,
the largest optional Combined Cadet Force in the country and a high level of
participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
Brentwood School educates over 1500 pupils from aged 3 to 18,
providing an all-round educational opportunity and delivering a first rate
academic experience. It is renowned for its rare co-educational system using
the Diamond Model, which means boys and girls are taught together until the age of 11, separately
from 11-16, and together again in the
Sixth Form. The School has introduced IGCSEs and, in the Sixth Form, the option
of the International Baccalaureate to provide the most rigorous and stimulating
study opportunities to its pupils.