Aldenham School, Founded 1597

From Bach to Bouzouki – The Beck Music Competition

The adjudicator, trombonist Mr Peter Lacey, who is on the teaching staff at the London College of Music and at the Universities of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, commented on the high standards achieved in all of the classes at the annual individual music competition for the Beck Cup.  In addition to the standard orchestral instruments, piano and voice, along with electric guitar and drums, he was perhaps a little surprised to encounter the penny whistle and the Greek bouzouki.  

The Junior section (Years 7 and 8) was won with a characterful and captivating performance by Lillie Henchley on clarinet of Jim Parker’s arrangement of the traditional song Soldier, Soldier, although there really wasn’t much to separate her from the performances of the two runners-up, Edie Sunman (piano) and Bradley Pavia (violin).

The Intermediate section (Years 9 and 10) was dominated by a series of very fine performances by our pianists, although voice, brass and woodwind were also well represented.  Showing that they had gained much from the Masterclass with the international concert pianist Mark Viner only two weeks previously, three of the piano students who took part were placed:  Atahan Diamond winning with a towering performance of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor, with Alex Freeborn and Nasiya Narrandes as runners-up.  It was particularly encouraging to hear the immaculate playing of James Gray on the newly installed Recital Hall organ.

The evening culminated with the Senior section (Years 11 – 13), although any of the day’s performers were eligible for the Beck Music Competition Cup.  A huge variety of styles of music and presented the greatest challenge to our adjudicator, however, he was most impressed by the dazzling playing of Misha Behr who performed the Rondo from Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto with such authority, with the runners-up in this section being Toby Freeman (electric guitar) and Sophie Katsiavriades (voice).

Congratulations to Year 10 student Atahan Diamond for being such a worthy overall winner and for setting such a high standard for students to emulate next year.

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Aldenham Foundation