Young musicians compete at Inaugural Cognita Music Festival
Eleven schools from the UK and Spain, took part in the Inaugural Cognita Schools Music Festival, staged at London’s prestigious St. John’s Smith Square concert hall on Sunday March 30th.
Nearly 200 young musicians performed to an audience of more than 300 parents, friends and relatives. Each of the eleven schools were allocated a 15 minute showcase to represent the musical life of their school and this resulted in the presentation of a wide range of musical styles and a mixture of solo and ensemble performances.
The enthusiastic audience was treated to some outstanding playing and singing from the young musicians who ranged from 9 to 18 years. They performed with a technical ability and musical maturity that bore testimony both to their own musical talents and to the skill and dedication of their teachers.
The musical styles represented over the evening ranged from Bach to Beat Boxing and unaccompanied solo violins to combined choral and band performances with more than 30 young musicians combing forces to raise the ornate and historical roof of St. John’s!
Cognita’s Director of Education, Geraint Jones said: “I am extremely impressed by the musical talent displayed by our young performers and the commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism of the music teachers who helped them prepare their performances”.
Whilst the event was, first and foremost, a celebration of the musical life of schools from the Cognita group, it was also a competition. There were no losers but some performers did come away with trophies to celebrate their success on the evening. Three independent judges awarded prizes to the musicians and schools who, in their opinion, gave the most musically satisfying performances. The judges were Luke Howard, Director of Music at St. Francis’ College, Letchworth, Phil Marriot, a professional drum player from the Fabba and Jules Carter Trio and Tim Grant-Jones a professional accompanist, piano teacher and music educator, currently musical adviser and chief official accompanist with the Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama.
The winners were:
Gabriella Bilas (Year 6) from Hydesville Tower School, who entranced the audience with her solo piano performance of ‘Variations X1, X11’ and ‘Coda’ by Kabalevsky.
Imogen Davey (Year 9), a flautist from Huddersfield Grammar School who gave a technically brilliant and touching performance of ‘Sunstreams’ by Ian Clarke.
Charlotte Brosnan (Year 11), from North Bridge House School who accompanied herself at the piano singing ‘Songbird’ by Christine McVie and whose performance was rapturously received by the packed hall.
Rebecca Holt (Year 12) from El Limonar International School in Alicante, Spain whose performance of ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables by Boubil & Schonberg, demonstrated both musical and dramatic talent.
The final award of the evening was to Quinton House School which, in the opinion of the judges, presented the most musically satisfying showcase. Their presentation included African Drumming, a solo Tuba player (Keiron Parkinson – Year 8), a singer, (Emily Fowkes – Yr 11) and a choir who performed songs from the hit musical Matilda with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, led by Director of Music, Lucie Diedhiou. They were awarded £500 to purchase equipment for their music department.
The schools taking part were:
North Bridge House Senior School, Hampstead, Huddersfield Grammar School, Huddersfield, Salcombe Preparatory School, Southgate, London, Quinton House School, Northampton, Akeley Wood School, Buckingham, Hydesville Tower School, Walsall, Southbank International School, Westminster, Meoncross School, Fareham, Hampshire, Colchester High School, Colchester, The British School Barcelona, Spain and El Limonar International School, Spain.