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Oundle’s Spring Concert in Hong Kong
15th May 2015

Over the Easter holidays, a group of Oundle musicians led by Head of Strings, Angus Gibbon and Head of Keyboard, Alec Hone performed at a concert in St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong to a capacity audience of old, current and prospective parents and pupils. This was a particularly memorable and special event, as it was Mr Bush’s last concert in Hong Kong before he retires as Headmaster of Oundle School in July.

Six pupils flew out to Hong Kong from the UK and were joined there by sixteen Hong Kong resident Oundle pupils, to make an orchestra of twenty two players. They performed with the Hong Kong Music Academy String Orchestra conducted by Ray Tsoi, and also several with prospective pupils. 

The UK pupils stayed with host families who welcomed them into homes ranging from a beautiful boat to sky-scraping apartments with breath-taking views and a house on the jungle-like peak of Hong Kong.

Viola player, Anna Pathak (16), commented, “Rehearsing took up the afternoons, but we still had a wonderful taste of Hong Kong’s food, locality and sights as we were shown round by our hosts.”

One highlight of the concert on 16 April was a performance of former pupil, Edwin Sung’s Best Wishes, a moving dedication to the Headmaster.

Oundle’s repertoire included Charlotte Ma (16) playing a Shostakovich piano concerto, Po Lam Chan (16) playing Summertime on the saxophone, Matthew Ho (17) with a Tabakova viola suite and the Bach violin ‘double’ played by Serena Shah (18) and Findlay Stowers Veitch (17) and the Vivaldi Concerto for four violins played by Francis Yiu (15), Serena Shah, Satoshi Oshima (16) and Nicholas Wong (15). Piano solos were played by Collin Ng and Jeffrey Hui (16), and Jasper Poon (16) performed the first movement of Gregson Tuba Concerto.

The Hong Kong Music Academy gave an inspiring performance of Glinka Russlan & Ludmilla and the concert was concluded with Sibelius’s Andante Festivo performed by the combined orchestras of the HK Academy Strings and Oundle conducted by Ray Tsoi and finally Grieg Holberg Suite directed by Angus Gibbon.

The evening finished with a reception at the Helena May Club and the next day the UK pupils returned home with many happy memories.

Head of Strings, Angus Gibbon commented, “It was a real pleasure to perform in the beautiful setting and acoustics of St John’s Cathedral. It was also very exciting to collaborate with Ray Tsoi and the Hong Kong Music Academy String Orchestra. In addition to playing side by side with these wonderful musicians we also invited several young musicians who will be joining Oundle in the near future.

Pupils studying at Oundle benefit from a unique partnership with the Royal College of Music in London as well as links with Rachmaninov’s Musical Institute in Tambov, Russia which offer an envious line-up and access to masterclasses and visits from world-class professors. The School has a deserved reputation for music excellence in both teaching and recitals, with pupils given every opportunity to perform in concerts at a top level.

Director of Music at Oundle School, Quentin Thomas, commented, “It was an honour for our musicians to perform in Hong Kong and we were delighted to continue to forge musical links with our community in Asia. Music at Oundle is a thriving, inspiring and buoyant culture of excellence, led by an enthusiastic, dedicated and highly experienced team of staff. The Department aspires to high standards in both performance and academic work, as demonstrated through our unique partnership with the Royal College of Music. We are the only School in the UK to have this partnership and it gives our pupils opportunities to work with, and learn from, many eminent music professors through concerts, masterclasses and even individual lessons.

Pupils at Oundle have the chance to perform in over forty ensembles and orchestras, including Symphony, Chamber and String Orchestras, Oundle Brass, the Concert Band, the Wind Orchestra and Big Band. The Chapel Choir and Schola Cantorum maintain Oundle's strong choral tradition and there is a vast line-up of instrumental ensembles performing regularly.

We are always looking for the next generation of talented and ambitious musicians to welcome and nurture; these pupils become the leaders of our large numbers of musicians, instilling cultural values and a good work ethos. In addition to the many music scholars and exhibitioners, there are some seven hundred pupils who learn a musical instrument with well over nine hundred individual music lessons being taught every week.” 

Headmaster of Oundle School, Charles Bush commented, “It was an honour to experience a concert in Hong Kong put on to celebrate my contribution to Oundle and my imminent retirement. It was a real privilege to listen to such talented musicians performing in such a prestigious venue and with the Hong Kong Music Academy players too. Excellent and diverse music-making is an important part of a high quality British Boarding School and it was moving to see so many friends, pupils, parents and former pupils at this memorable concert.  In my retirement I shall certainly miss attending wonderful Hong Kong Concerts in future.”

Choral, Instrumental and Organ Scholarships are available at 11+, 13+ and 16+. For further details contact the Director of Music, Quentin Thomas on 01832 277132 or email music@oundleschool.org.uk

 

Oundle’s Facilities and Partnerships

Oundle School’s Music Department is recognised as being one of the best among the top Independent Schools in the UK. Music facilities are excellent and the music school is housed in a handsome Georgian building with a range of practice and teaching rooms, music library, technology suite and recording studio.

The partnership with Yamaha offers a fleet of first-class pianos across the entire School. The Chapel boasts two organs – the world renowned Frobenius Organ and a larger romantic, Copeman Hart organ. The Great Hall has a Steinway D grand piano and the School also has a 2 manual harpsichord and practice organ.

A partnership between the School and The Royal College of Music was launched in January 2012. The aim of this unique partnership - Oundle School is the only UK school to have such an agreement - is to give to musically talented pupils opportunities to work with, and learn from, the many eminent professors and their students from the RCM through carefully planned joint events such as concerts, Masterclasses and, for exceptional pupils, individual consultation lessons.

Oundle School’s reputation for Music attracts many talented pupils and we are delighted that we can offer those with aspirations to perform at a professional level very valuable long-term coaching and guidance about how to be playing at Conservatoire standard by the time they are in their Upper Sixth year.

Concerto opportunities, solo performance experiences, tours (such as to Hong Kong, France, Italy, Barbados, Ireland, USA, Austria, Germany), recordings and a plethora of concerts (many in prestigious concert halls such as Birmingham Symphony Hall, St John’s Smith Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey) are constantly evolving projects, ensuring that a live, vibrant and stimulating environment pervades across our department.

 

Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.

The School’s history dates 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 Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015. 

There are currently 1100 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11. 

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