About us

In the classroom and beyond, the school’s musical life is extraordinary.

Our academic results are outstanding: in the Summer of 2015, 20 of 22 boys were awarded A* at IGCSE Music, and we won the Good Schools Guide’s award for ‘best performance at the International Baccalaureate by boys taking Music at an English independent school’. In the first two years at school, the curriculum includes twice-weekly music lessons, during which the boys listen, perform, and compose.

Our musical life is enriched by visiting speakers, masterclasses, concert trips, and our close links with principal players of the CBSO. Recent visitors have included Alfred Brendel, Professor Robert Pascall, Martin Roscoe, Daniel Tong, and Krysia Osostowicz.

The scale of practical music-making at King Edward’s is remarkable: the KES Choir has a membership of 150, close to 20% of all boys in the school. Our partnership with King Edward VI High School for Girls makes possible a 98-strong Symphony Orchestra and a thriving Choral Society, which also involves members of staff. Many members of our senior ensembles hold ABRSM grade 8, and our boys regularly achieve national recognition as part of the National Children’s Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra.

Each week more than 200 instrumental lessons are delivered by a team of 20 visiting instrumental and singing teachers. There are 13 major weekly-rehearsing ensembles and choirs, as well as string and wind quartets, piano trios, quartets, and quintets, string sextets, and other chamber ensembles. Composers join Clef Club, and their works are performed in public and recorded.

Each year we give 30 public concerts, recitals, and services, so that more than 350 boys perform and at least 5000 people hear us play.

We play a full part in the school’s Outreach programme. The two swing bands tour each year and, in summer 2016, KES/KEHS Symphony Orchestra led a major project at Symphony Hall.

The Ruddock Performing Arts Centre is our principal rehearsal and performance venue, a 450-seat concert hall with superb acoustics, equipped with concert organ and Steinway model-D grand piano. We play regularly in Symphony Hall and the Barber Institute at the University of Birmingham. The music department has teaching, rehearsal, and practice rooms, two music IT suites, a library, and a recording studio.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to the Director of Music, Dr. Martin Leigh, using:


Best of all, please come to a concert or recital, and share the remarkable achievements of our boys.


Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham