A Masterclass within a Masterclass
12th January 2015

In mid-November, eighteen of Oundle School’s pianists were fortunate to participate in Oundle Pianists’ Day of Masterclasses with Professor Ian Jones from the Royal College of Music.

With three classes organised sensitively by age and ability, every performer was made to feel comfortable on the Steinway Concert Grand as it resounded forth around the School’s Great Hall.

Director of Music, Quentin Thomas commented, “Ian Jones’ comments and demonstrations could not have been more edifying, succinct, purposeful, encouraging and inspiring.”

From Bach to Kabalevsky, Khatchaturian back to Schumann, the day offered a feast of classics most competently performed by pupils from First Form through to the Upper Sixth (Years 7-13). 

Quentin added, “We were treated to many aspects of musical delivery, from the subtleties of melodic shaping, to the pursuit of journeys via close scrutiny of harmonic progressions. A focus on presentation (announcing to an audience and the taking of a bow) was appreciated, and the manner in which Professor Jones dealt with each individual’s musical needs offered a Masterclass within the Masterclass.”

The evening’s Oundle Pianists’ Concert saw a culmination of those who had offered the most assured performances from the day demonstrating an impressive array of abilities and repertoire, all the more elevated from the pursuits and explorations of the day. 

Quentin concluded, “We are fortunate to have our unique partnership with the Royal College of Music. Its offerings of precious occasions and experiences help ignite and fuel the progressions of our present generation of musicians. Thank you to Mr Hone for organising this inspiring day.”

Oundle School’s Music Department is a vibrant place with around 900 music lessons being taught and over 30 ensembles, 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 at the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Bernard Haitink, and alongside the New London Orchestra at St John Smith’s Square. Oundle 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


 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 1110 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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