King Edward's Music

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Tag: Music Department King Edward’s School

Winner of the Benslow Young Composers’ Competition

Over the Easter holiday, I was thrilled to be pronounced the winner of the under-18 category of the Benslow Young Composers’ Competition for my composition Very Early Spring. With a choice of five poems centering around Spring, applicants from across the United Kingdom were tasked with writing a five-minute-long song for soprano Sarah Leonard and pianist Stephen Gutman. My composition was heavily inspired by the colours and harmonies found in the French art song tradition of Fauré, Debussy and Boulanger. By contrasting floating, wintry piano arpeggios with recurring rising piano lines underpinned by warmer harmonies, I ventured to use the music to illustrate the relationship between the lingering squalls of winter and the ‘golden fingers’ of the sun in the poem by Katherine Mansfield. The final workshop of the competition was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, as the five shortlisted composers were able to hear each other’s works and receive comments and advice from the judge of the competition and Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir. To win the competition was such a pleasant surprise, and I look forward to hearing my composition performed as part of the Benslow International Concert Series in August.

Christopher Churcher, Divisions

You can read more about the competition here.

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

A classical spark

Dare Odunjo: A Classical Spark (2020)

A lockdown fantasy by Dare Odunjo (Fifths)

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’

Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony no.9 op.125 (1824)
text by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1809)

KES/KEHS Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

compiled by Oliver Clarke, Dhiran Sodha, and Martin Leigh

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Spring Concert 2021, 24 March 2021

Instrumental Evening, Strings – 22 February 2021

Carol Service 2020

Instrumental Evening – Drums

Christmas Concert – Sleigh Ride 2020

Christmas Concert Programme 2020

Sixths String Orchestra – rehearsing again!

Music Calendar 2020 – 2021

Christopher Churcher’s ‘Always the Bridesmaid’ composed at The Sound and Music Summer School 2019

Christopher Churcher's 'Always the Bridesmaid' (Music Department at King Edward's School, Birmingham)

Christopher Churcher's 'Always the Bridesmaid' (Music Department at King Edward's School, Birmingham) (2)

A PDF is posted here: Christopher Churcher’s ‘Always the Bridesmaid’



Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

The Sound and Music Summer School 2019

On the 4th of August, I arrived apprehensively with around 60 other composers from all across the UK at the Purcell School in Hertfordshire. We were all there to attend the annual week-long Summer school run by Sound and Music, the UK charity for new music. Having applied last April, I was lucky enough to be given a place, and was allocated to the ‘Vocal composition’ group (there were also others, including Film, Instrumental, Jazz and Cross-Cultural). By the end of the week, there were over 60 brand new compositions written, performed and recorded!

In the vocal composition group, I was able to work with six professional singers, after several days of exploring different types of vocal music, from the madness of Cathy Berberian’s ‘Stripsody’ to the comparative minimalism of Laurence Crane. We then had just 3 days to compose and rehearse our compositions until the recording session and, finally, performances.

As the creative process began, I took a newfound interest in Swedish folksong, something with which I was unacquainted beforehand, but which I found really haunting and bewitching. With the help of one of the tutors, who was very knowledgeable about the techniques used in Swedish folksong, I learnt about specific techniques such as Kulning, as well as traditional Swedish vocal ornamentation and the modes that Swedish folksong traditionally explores. 

Struck by fleeting inspiration, I decided to combine a Swedish folk-inspired vocal line with the singing bowl (a type of bell that vibrates and produces a rich, deep tone when played) which one of our tutors had brought with them. This constant drone created the illusion that the singer’s line was almost suspended in mid-air, yet always in relation to the drone, which the voice slowly materialises out of at the start of the piece and disappears back into at the end.

I absolutely loved the Sound and Music Summer School and would fully recommend it to any composer looking to gain experience working with professional musicians or hoping to expose themself to a really wide range of intra-classical styles.

Christopher Churcher, Fifths



Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

Summer with Notebenders

Music at King Edward's School -- Notebenders

It’s been another amazing summer for Notebenders, the Ladywood based community big band.  First, a main-stage slot at the Moseley Jazz Festival in Moseley Park, a hidden gem just off the high street. It was a slightly nerve-wracking, but exciting feeling looking out over the crowd; I’m glad we were all in it together.

Next, the Birchfield Jazz Festival, a smaller, friendlier event with delicious, home-made Jamaican and African food in a local church.  The acoustics were incredible and the reception genuinely warm. 

Finally, the renowned big band afternoon at the Spotted Dog in Digbeth, an annual gathering of rowdy jazz fanatics.  As well as awesome music (check out the incredible jazz flautist, Gareth Lokrane), there was a ready supply of great food and, for those of us playing, a free bar!

The best thing is being part of the music-making and coming together with some brilliant musicians to have fun. Roll on next year!

Owen Swanborough, Removes



Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham

From Choral and Orchestral Concerts, 11 March 2019

Photograthy by David Ash @


From Choral and Orchestral Concerts, 11 March 2019

Huge thanks to David Ash @ for lovely memento of our spring concerts.