King Edward's Music

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Category: masterclass

Players from the CBSO record the Fifths’ string quartets.

Music Department at King Edward's School, Birmingham: recording compositions with the CBSO

Coaching the CBSO?

There was a cold snap to the air that brisk Sunday morning as ten drowsy boys trudged into school from each corner of Birmingham, the sound of their alarms still piercing their skulls. You ask; why were they in school on a Sunday? What could have possibly coerced them into doing such a thing? These are both valid albeit contrived questions as there are very few circumstances which involve lazy adolescents leaving the house on what is, after all, a day of rest.

However, this particular morning elicited no such signs of reluctance, as each and every member of the group had arrived to realise their true calling – to spread the sweet, dulcet tones of serial music, which in case you don’t know, is music that is designed to, well, sound bad…

Hmm, perhaps I should explain this in a little more detail.

     ‘Serial music is that which does not follow a scale or conventional harmony. Rather, it is a combination of different primes, retrogrades, inversion and retrograde-inversions of a chosen line of dissonant notes. I know right.’

Okay, okay. So maybe these school boys were initially somewhat sceptical about composition in such a genre. After all, they had never before listened to let alone composed serial music of any description, and although I would like to say that these minute reservations had vanished once the creative juices started flowing, the truth is that they stuck around until today when the nervous pupils found themselves holding their pristine scores with trepidation.

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham: recording with the CBSO

The author looks on, a picture of trepidation.

Perhaps part of this apprehension stemmed not only from the fact that these performances counted towards the final GCSE grade, but also from the weight of the occasion; alas, if seeing Dr. Leigh with his top two, yes two, buttons undone was not already enough make these boys uneasy, then they were in for a treat as today, playing their serial compositions, was the highly esteemed string quartet form none other than the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra! *Cue fanfare*.

The ensemble was comprised of the revered likes of Lena Zeliszwska at first violin, Zhiko Georgiev at second violin, Mike Jenkinson on the viola and Richard Jenkinson on the cello. We were spoiled with their prowess, which made proceedings run smoothly even when some of the students’ limited knowledge of dynamics became blindingly obvious *cough, cough*.

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham: recording with the CBSO

The CBSO quartet.

As we progressed through pieces such as ‘Shi No Numa’, ‘Seriaously Bad’ and ‘Why?’ the general consensus amongst the composers began to change from “Grrr, Sunday” to one of a much more positive nature; it was as if real-life string instruments didn’t sound like saxophones as they did on Sibelius; as if this wasn’t all part of one of Dr Leigh’s evil plots! By the end of the session, we’d had great fun listening to some exquisite pieces, played in a manner both unforgettable and professional, and all in time for Sunday lunch.

Miles McCollum, Fifths

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Martin Roscoe’s master-class

Martin Roscoe master-class at King Edward's School, Birmingham

King Edward’s and King Edward VI High School for Girls were honoured to welcome world-renowned classical pianist Martin Roscoe last Friday to give a master-class to select pianists from both schools, as well as treating us to a recital afterwards.

I think that both the lucky pianists as well as the audience watching would agree that Mr Roscoe’s attention to detail was formidable and his knowledge of the repertoire was vast: he had played all save one of the pieces that were performed!

With only one ten-minute break, he taught for three hours, offering helpful tips and guidance as well as wonderful suggestions to improve the pieces played before him.

The whole experience of a master-class by such a distinguished and remarkable pianist was one of incredible enthusiasm from Mr. Roscoe and inspiration for the performers.

Abhinav Jain (Divisions)

The performers and their repertoire:

Naomi Bazlov: Chopin – Nocturne op.72 no.1

Jeremy Ho: Ravel – Jeux d’eau

Mark Li: Beethoven – Sonata no.8 in C minor op.13 ‘Pathetique’

Bryan Chang: Debussy – L’isle joyeuse L.106

Michael Luo: Beethoven – Sonata no.25 in G major op.79 (i)

Aloysius Lip: Gershwin – no.2 from Three Preludes (1929)

Abhinav Jain: Schuman – ‘Aufschwung’ from Fantasiestücke op.12

Lauren Zhang: Ravel – ‘Scarbo’ from Gaspard de la Nuit

Adelaide Yue: Beethoven – Sonata no.17 in D minor op.31 no.2 ‘Tempest’z

This event was presented jointly with King Edward VI High School for Girls

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

From Martin Roscoe’s master-class

Martin Roscoe master-class at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Martin Roscoe master-class at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Martin Roscoe master-class at King Edward's School, Birmingham


This event was presented jointly with King Edward VI High School for Girls

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Martin Roscoe at King Edward’s School

Martin Roscoe at King Edward's School, Birmingham, Music Department


Friday, 2 October at 1600 — master-class
Ruddock Performing Arts Centre

Martin Roscoe works with the pianists of King Edward’s and King Edward VI High School for Girls.

Friday, 2 October at 1900 — recital
Ruddock Performing Arts Centre

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Sonata in D Hob.XVI/37
Ernő Dohnányi (1877-1960): Pastorale (Hungarian Christmas Carol); Rhapsody no.3 in C op.11 no.3
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Sonata in A flat op.110

With an extraordinary career spanning over four decades, Martin Roscoe is unarguably one of the UK’s best loved pianists. Renowned for his versatility at the keyboard, Martin is equally at home in concerto, recital and chamber performances. In an ever more distinguished career, his enduring popularity and the respect in which he is universally held are built on a deeply thoughtful musicianship allied to an easy rapport with audiences and fellow musicians alike.

With a repertoire of over 100 concertos performed or recorded Martin works regularly with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, having especially close links with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, Manchester Camerata, Northern Chamber Orchestra and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has had over ninety performances. Martin has worked with many eminent conductors, including performances with Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder and Christoph von Dohnányi.

An equally prolific recitalist, Martin has also performed regularly across Europe, the Far East, Australasia and South Africa. His chamber music partnerships include long-standing associations with Peter Donohoe, Tasmin Little and the Endellion and Maggini Quartets as well as more recent collaborations with such artists as Jennifer Pike, Ashley Wass, Matthew Trusler and the Brodsky and Vertavo Quartets. One of his most important chamber music collaborations has developed in recent years: the Cropper Welsh Roscoe Trio. Together the trio have performed many times across the UK, most notably with several series of concerts at London’s Kings Place.

Recent and future engagements include appearances with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Symphony Orchestra, as well as recital performances at the Bridgewater Hall (where Martin is an Associate Artist), Kings Place, Musée d’Orsay, Wigmore Hall and Festival of the Sound, Parry. Martin is also Artistic Director of Ribble Valley International Piano Week, and Beverley Chamber Music Festival, and will succeed Kathy Stott as Artistic Director of the Manchester Chamber Music Society at the start of the 2014/15 season.

Having had over 500 broadcasts, including seven BBC Prom appearances, Martin is one of the most regularly played pianists on BBC Radio 3. Martin has also made many commercial recordings for labels such as Hyperion, Chandos and Naxos. He has recorded the complete piano music of Nielsen and Szymanowski, as well as four discs in the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series. Martin is in the process of recording the complete Beethoven piano sonatas for the Deux-Elles label. The first three discs have been released to unanimous critical acclaim. The Independent described the sonatas as being “all delivered with Roscoe’s typically scrupulous attention to detail and emotional truth”. The second disc includes the Waldstein Sonata, and was proclaimed on BBC Radio 3 as “one of the truly great recordings of the Waldstein Sonata” … “perfect musical judgement and a formidable technique from Martin Roscoe”.

Teaching has always been an important part of Martin’s life and the development of young talent helps him to constantly re-examine and re-evaluate his own playing. He is currently a Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London and has just been awarded his Fellowship there.

Martin lives in the beautiful English Lake District. Being in this wonderful place provides inspiration and relaxation, and also enables him to indulge his passions for the countryside and hill-walking.

You can read more at:
This event is presented jointly with King Edward VI High School for Girls

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

From the masterclass with Krysia Osostowicz

Music at King Edward's School: masterclass with Krysia Osostowicz

Music at King Edward's School: masterclass with Krysia OsostowiczOur thanks to Mr. Boardman for the photographs.

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

The masterclass is presented jointly with King Edward VI High School for Girls

Masterclass with Krysia Osostowicz

Krysia Osostowicz at King Edward's School, Music Department

Krysia Osostowicz

A splendid opportunity for the string players of King Edward’s School and King Edward VI High School for Girls: Krysia Osostowicz, one of the finest players and teachers of her generation, gives a masterclass.

The class will take place on Wednesday, 15 January, between 1030 and 1600 in the Ruddock Hall; all are welcome to attend some or part of the day. Below, Krysia’s biography:

Krysia Osostowicz enjoys a busy career as a chamber musician, soloist and teacher. In 1995 she founded the Dante String Quartet which is recognised as one of Britain’s finest ensembles, winning a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2007.

Born in London of Polish descent, Krysia studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, at Cambridge University and in Salzburg with Sandor Vegh.  She has made a series of award-winning recordings for Hyperion, including sonatas by Bartok, Brahms and Ravel, and the string quartets of Debussy, Sibelius, Smetana and Kodaly.

Krysia teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has given masterclasses in the UK, France and Spain. She is artistic director of the thriving Dante Summer Festival in the Tamar Valley ( in the West of England.  In 2015 she will play all of Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas, plus ten newly commissioned companion pieces, with pianist Daniel Tong at Kings Place and elsewhere in the UK: details on


Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

The masterclass is presented jointly with King Edward VI High School for Girls

Margaret Cookhorn and the KES/KEHS Symphony Orchestra

Margaret Cookhorn masterclass for King Edward's School Music Department

Margaret Cookhorn

On Thursday, 20 November, the woodwind of KES/KEHS Symphony Orchestra worked with CBSO principal contrabassoonist, Margaret Cookhorn.  Also a member of BCMG, Margaret is one of the leading national exponents of the instrument, both in ensembles and as a concerto soloist. She also plays the heckelphone.

As part of the ensemble’s preparations for the Christmas Concerts, this was an invaluable opportunity.

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham