Award-winning pianist hits right note at Prep
21st January 2015

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.

Martin, from 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

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.

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