Music Diploma Success
19th June 2015

Seven Oundle pupils, Matthew Ho (18), Francis Yiu (16), Fin Stowers Veitch (17), Charlotte Ma (16), Miles Aho (18), Ed Willey (18) and Tom Arnold (18) have recently been awarded music diplomas. Matthew gained a distinction in his viola DipABRSM. Francis and Fin’s Dip ABRSM diplomas are on the violin and Charlotte’s is on the piano. Miles gained an ATCL piano diploma.  Ed and Tom gained Rock School diplomas on electric bass and electric guitar respectively.

Considered to be the equivalent of the standard expected in the first year of an undergraduate music degree, the diplomas are a significant achievement. The pupils can now use the letters after their names, wear an academic gown with an elegant hood and will be allocated UCAS points.

Matthew, who has played the viola for five years since starting on the violin eleven years ago, gained a distinction in his viola DipABRSM. His diploma pieces were Viola Concerto in G by Telemann, Märchenbilder by Schumann and Sonata in E by Brahms. Matthew is studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics and hopes to read Physics at Imperial College, London. He plans to work towards a higher level diploma (LRSM), and join a university orchestra – all whilst continuing to play the piano as well as the viola.

Francis, who gained a Dip ABRSM diploma on the violin, has played it for ten years and also plays the piano. He plans to study Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths next year at A level and hopes to go on to study medicine at university. His diploma pieces included Bach’s Sonata in E Minor, Beethoven’s ‘SpringSonata No. 5 in F Major, Opus 24, Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto in C major, Opus 48 and Danse Espagnole from La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla (arranged by Kreisler)

Francis commented, “I hope to achieve a LRSM in the Sixth Form, which is the next level beyond a DipABRSM, and in the future hopefully, if I work hard enough, maybe to play a concerto.”

Fin, who also gained a Dip ABRSM diploma on the violin, has been playing it for eleven years and also plays the piano. His diploma pieces included Suite Italienne by Stravinsky, Concerto in G major by Mozart, two movements from Bach’s Partita no.2, the ‘Spring’ Sonata by Beethoven and Moto perpetuo by Frank Bridge. He is currently studying Maths, Chemistry, Economics and History and hopes to study Chemistry at university, continuing with his music as a hobby.

Charlotte has played the piano since she was around six years old and gained her Dip ABRSM diploma. She also enjoys classical singing (she is taking her Grade 8 next year) and composing music. For her diploma exam she played Prelude and Fugue No. 5 in D Major by Bach, Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor by Beethoven, Intermezzo in A by Brahms and  Le chat et la souris (Cat and Mouse) by Aaron Copland. Next year she will be studying Physics, Maths, German and English Literature and hopes to go on to study Law prior to a career in Corporate Law. 

Miles gained an ATCL piano diploma, having been playing the piano for ten years. He also plays the viola, organ and the guitar, as well as taking singing lessons. His diploma programme consisted of two major works: Chopin’s two Nocturnes,Opus 48 and Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ Sonata. He is studying History, Maths, Further Maths and Economics and hopes to study History at Hertford College, Oxford starting next year. He plans to continue playing the piano and would also like to keep up his singing, whether it be in a choir or in a more relaxing close harmony group.

Ed gained a Rock School diploma on electric bass, having played the bass guitar since he was eleven. He also plays the piano, viola and sings. He played Teen Town and Three Views of a Secret by Jaco Pastorius; Spain by Chick Corea; There is Only So Much Oil in the Ground, What is Hip? and Down to the Nightclub by Tower of Power and finally Dune Tune by Level 42. Ed is studying Maths, Music, Chinese and French at A level and has been offered a place to study Chinese at Cambridge next year

Ed commented, “I enjoy composing and singing greatly, and hope to continue these at University and beyond along with my bass playing.”

Last but by no means least, Tom also gained a Rock School diploma. He has been playing the electric guitar for eight years and played Satch Boogie by Joe Satriani, Texas Flood  by Stevie Ray Vaughan, I Remember Wes by George Benson, Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits, Song of the Wind by Carlos Santana. He is currently studying A levels in Maths, Latin, French, and Spanish and hopes to read Modern Languages at UCL next year where he plans to continue playing the guitar, both acoustic and electric, in London.

Director of Music, Quentin Thomas commented, “All seven pupils deserve our warmest congratulations for fulfilling these significant achievements that represent the investment of sustained effort and dedication in the pursuit of developing real ability and musical excellence.

It is a proud moment indeed when any person reaches the top of the music examination ladder and attains Grade 8, but gaining a professional diploma is another league entirely. 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 that these players deserve. The demonstration of independent learning, the honing of skills and the 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 – all of this speaks volumes for a person.


About the Oundle School Music Department

Oundle School’s Music Department is a vibrant place with around 900 music lessons being taught and over forty ensembles, choirs, bands and orchestras rehearsing each week, as well as over 150 performances a year, with regular tours, musicals and recordings. Recent events include performing Mahler 8, Strauss’ Alpine Symphony and Four Last Songs under Ronald Corp at the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Ronald CORP, and alongside the New London Orchestra at St John Smith’s Square. Our musicians have recently been working with Stephen Cleobury CBE, Howard Goodall CBE, Nicholas Daniel, the SKAMPA and Cavaleri string quartets, Lewis Kaplan, Francesca Dego and Craig Ogden, with the orchestras performing Mendelssohn and Rodrigo concertos. 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 Competition. 

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



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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