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Whitgift musicians were joined by the RPO for a Spring Selection at Cadogan Hall.

Whitgift School joined forces once again with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), in March, to present a Spring Selection Concert at London’s world-renowned Cadogan Hall. The evening’s music perfectly showcased the outstanding wealth and breadth of the School’s musical provision and the young performers raised the musical bar to an extraordinary level.

The Whitgift Chamber Orchestra opened the evening with Mendelssohn’s charming Italian Symphony, under the direction of Whitgift’s Director of Orchestral Music, Mr Philip Winter. The delicate phrasing and technical precision of the young wind and brass players, paired with some exceptionally well-handled string flurries, conveyed an effortless performance. Particular credit must go to Whitgift musicians Cai Evans (Year 9) and Joseph Barber (Year 12), both playing the French horn, as well as oboist Karl Sachs (Year 12) – all three rose to the occasion and performed their challenging solo sections admirably and with professional poise.

Clarinet soloist Marian Bozhidarov (Year 12), winner of the Whitgift International Music Competition 2017, delivered a masterful performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, conducted by Director of Music, Ms Rosanna Whitfield, who kept perfect tempi throughout. Performing from memory, and with jaw-dropping pianissimo dynamics and seamless phrasing, Marian’s musical promise was impressively evident.

 Up next were the Whitgift Chamber Choir, accompanied by the RPO and Whitgift Music Department staff, who treated the audience to J.S. Bach’s Magnificat. Bach’s writing is deceptively challenging for both orchestra and choir, but the players were undeterred and, under the direction of Director of Choral Music, Mr Ronny Krippner, presented an entirely assured performance. The professional soloists were tremendous and it was surely a great inspiration for the fledgling singers in the Chamber Choir to hear such confident solo performances.

The evening drew to a close with Stokowski’s orchestration of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue. The magnitude of the combined forces of the Whitgift Symphony Orchestra and the RPO was a rare treat and it was clear from the unmistakable opening bars that this would be a finale to remember. Music Teacher, Mr Daniel Smith, conducted the ensemble with energetic assurance and the orchestra performed the numerous fast-running passages with complete conviction.  Especially impressive was the fact that, despite such large numbers on stage, often playing in unison, the intonation remained secure.

This collaborative celebration was a triumph, and testament to the huge efforts of Whitgift boys and staff and our valued partnership with one of the finest orchestras in London. Congratulations to all involved.

For more information on Whitgift School, visit their webpage.

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