Next week, pupils at The Prep will be treated to a unique performance by members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, ahead of a day of workshops with the music pupils from across both The Prep and Senior School.
The performance will kick off a partnership which Cheltenham College and Cheltenham Prep are forming with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). They are one of the very best professional orchestras in the world, known for being ground breaking in many areas (with personnel and repertoire, etc). For example, Sir Simon Rattle, one of the most famous orchestral conductors in the world, first rose to prominence with the CBSO having been appointed when he was just 25 years old. The new conductor of the CBSO orchestra, appointed in 2016, is both female and just 30 years old: Lithuanian born former director of the Landestheater opera company in Salzburg and winner of the Nestlé Conducting Competition in 2012, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
The CBSO's partnership with The Prep will involve close collaboration between the organisations moving forward. Back in the summer term, a group of Year 8 Music Scholars attended a lunchtime concert by the brass section of the CBSO at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham. Their first visit to The Prep next week will see a String Quartet coming to perform to, and work with, a variety of pupils from across the entire school. Beginning with a performance to The Prep School in their Assembly, the CBSO members will deliver workshops with Year 1 Kingfishers children, who all learn class violin as part of their Music curriculum, followed by training with the chamber groups (the String Quintet and String Trio), a masterclass with Upper School string players from The Prep, and finally, working with College pupils during their orchestral sectional rehearsal at the end of the day.
The Prep's Head of Music, Mr Kit Perona-Wright, said "We hope to welcome different musicians from the Wind, Brass, Percussion, and Strings sections of the CBSO to The Prep, who will work with and inspire pupils across Prep and College, throughout the year. This partnership will offer the best of both worlds: all pupils will experience world-class music making, whether they learn an instrument or not, and the pupils that do learn an instrument will have the chance to study with world-class musicians, both individually and in small groups. This is a fabulous opportunity for pupils across College and provides a real focus on Music and the excellent musical provision available at our School."