The second new-format Helen Wareham Competition took place on Friday 28th April, and consisted of ten-minute recitals given by seven students: singers Anise R. and Lily B., violinists Oscar G., Anna C., and Charlie M., and pianists Richard E. and Brandon G. These musicians all represent different boarding houses, and a full cross-section of ages from fourth form to upper sixth.
We were privileged to welcome composer and conductor, Mr Peter White, to adjudicate the event. Peter held the post of Director of Music at RGS Guildford for over 30 years, and brought a wealth of wisdom and experience to his positive and constructive feedback, as well as a good deal of wit, hilarious anecdotes and inimitable charisma!
The quality of music-making, communication and technical accomplishment was astonishingly high – the highest our headmaster has witnessed – and all the more impressive given that the majority of the competitors are also preparing for public exams in the coming weeks. The programming was well considered, and celebrated famous and virtuosic canonical repertoire, as well as shedding light on lesser-known and under-represented composers, such as Australian composer, Carl Vine and female composers Grażyna Bacewicz and Clara Schumann.
Needless to say, it was a difficult and unenviable task for our adjudicator to have to select a winner. Congratulations are due to violinist Oscar G. for adding this accolade to earlier successes in this year’s string and woodwind competitions. Thanks also to all the teachers involved in the preparation of the competitors, and especially to Director of Music, Mr Richard Saxel for rehearsing and accompanying the violinists and singers. For those looking ahead to the next Helen Wareham competition, this will be a showcase event on Wednesday 22nd November, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the competition.