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A triumphant day for young string players visiting Oundle School
16th December 2014

On Sunday 9 November, the Oundle School Music Department hosted a String Day involving 160 string players from the Royal College of Music (with whom the School has enjoyed a unique partnership since 2012), Oundle’s own massed strings and younger players from a variety of prep and primary schools.

Amidst the music-making and workshops, there was a chance to discuss the work of Oundle’s Alexander Technique Teaching Department and the Strings in Balance project – a project which is unique to Oundle and looks at bespoke chin and collar rests for violin players.

Director of Music, Quentin Thomas commented, “The real joy came from the excitement of performing our endeavours to our audience who were packed to the rafters in the Great Hall.”

The audience was treated to a massed strings performance of Jenkins’ vibrant Palladio, Laxton Junior School’s neat and well executed version of Ryan’s Polka, before the older string players let rip with Moravian Folk Dance (Fischer) and the first and third movements of the much-loved Holberg Suite (Grieg).

Inspiration for all abounded as the Royal College of Music continued with Strauss’ Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings, a work indelibly linked with the 2nd World War, with Strauss responding to the bombing of Munich with this definitive and hauntingly beautiful work. 

The concert concluded with swirling, dark, massed strings offering an arrangement of both Elfman and Zimmer’s Batman-The Dark Knight Rises, specially written for the occasion by Quentin Thomas, Director of Music, for no fewer than four string orchestras and an array of percussion.

Quentin concluded, “It was a terrific day and a joy to see the different tiers of ages and standards merging for impressive and powerful renditions of quality music. Our thanks to Mr Angus Gibbon, Head of Strings, for organising such a memorable and fun day.”

Choral, Instrumental and Organ Scholarships at Oundle School are awarded at 11+, 13+ and 16+ entry, in recognition of proven talent and solely on merit. All scholarships are underpinned by bursary assistance if the financial circumstances of the individual family necessitate it. The Director of Music is always pleased to meet with prospective music scholars. Please contact him at music@oundleschool.org.uk

 

Background on the Unique Partnership between Oundle School and the Royal College of Music

 

In January 2012, Oundle School entered into a unique partnership arrangement with the Royal College of Music, whereby pupils from the School gain the experience of working with professors and students from the College, both in Oundle and London.

The prime movers behind this arrangement were Mark Messenger, Head of Strings at the Royal College of Music, and Angus Gibbon, Head of Strings at Oundle School.

The memorandum of understanding between the two institutions was signed on Friday 13 January 2012, by Headmaster Charles Bush and Stephen Johns, Artistic Director of the Royal College of Music.

The historic signing was followed by a concert with all three areas of the educational spectrum: primary, secondary and tertiary.

Pupils from Oundle are invited to various masterclasses and workshops at RCM and highlights include regular visits from Professors and Heads of Departments of the RCM in the form of masterclasses and judging of the School’s annual Hepburn Music Competition. Oundle School Orchestras and Ensembles give concerts in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Royal College of Music, London. Other events have included pupils attending rehearsals for Bruckner 8 taken by Bernard Haitink and the Chamber Orchestra’s performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto with Francesca Dego, Italian violinist and ex RCM student as part of the School’s General Studies Programme.

Oundle School works closely with the Oundle International Festival, Oundle for Organists and distinguished musicians such as Jeremy Menuhin, Natalie Clein, Michael Boccman and Craig Ogden. Pupils have taken part in joint projects with the English String Orchestra, the Aurora Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Swan.

The music programme at Oundle School is rich and varied, offering a stimulating musical environment to all musicians, whether in a popular or more traditional style. There is a range of ensembles to suit all abilities and interests. Concert venues have included Symphony Hall, Birmingham, West Road, Cambridge and Peterborough Cathedral.

Music Scholarships are awarded at 11+, 13+ and 16+ entry, in recognition of proven talent and solely on merit. All scholarships are underpinned by bursary assistance if the financial circumstances of the individual family necessitate it. The Director of Music is always pleased to meet with prospective music scholars. Please contact him at music@oundleschool.org.uk

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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