Masterly Shostakovich performance
From string orchestra to big band to choral music, the annual Picnic Concert, involving musicians from all the year groups across the Junior and Senior Schools, was a fabulous celebration of music, which culminated in College music scholar Stephen Smithers giving an exceptional performance of Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto.
The talented fourteen year-old, who had earlier been playing viola and the euphonium in a number of ensembles, played all three movements from memory, displaying equal measure of poetry and virtuosity.
The Senior School Orchestra, conducted by Director of Music Andrew Bruce, kept pace with Stephen’s furious tempi and provided some fantastic orchestral colours and textures.
Stephen Smithers (pictured rehearsing for the concert) started piano at 4 and currently studies with Anthony Hill at Bishop’s Stortford College. As well as playing viola with the National Children’s Orchestra (NCO) for 5 years, he is also a member of the Essex Youth Symphonic Wind Orchestra where he plays euphonium. In 2009, Stephen won the Harlow Young Musician of the Year for the under 12s with his performance on the piano; this year he won the under 16 brass section.
The concert concluded with a farewell to the Upper Sixth musicians, who often play a leading role in the many College ensembles and who motivate and inspire their younger colleagues.
The Picnic Concert programme:
Trumpet Ensemble – Military Fanfare (Traditional)
Junior Strings – Hoe Down (Hilary Burgoyne)
Junior Big Band – How high the moon (Morgan Lewis)
Senior Big Band – You don’t bring me flowers (Neil Diamond) and Have you met Miss Jones (Roger and Hart)
Senior String Orchestra – Bercere (Jarnfelt) and More than a feeling (Boston)
Junior School Orchestra – Take 5 (Paul Desmond)
Junior Concert Band – Antares (Richard Saucedo)
Senior School Choir – Let all the world in every corner sing (Vaughan Williams)
Upper and Lower Third Choir – You raise me up (Brendan Graham, arr. Roger Emerson)
Senior Concert Band – Downtown from Portrait of a City (Philip Sparke)
Senior School Orchestra with Stephen Smithers (Piano) – Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, op 102 (Dmitry Shostakovich)
Please click here to view a gallery of photos.