Twelve students put themselves forward to take part in our Concerto Competition, which took place on Sunday 13 January 2019 in the auspicious surroundings of Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM).
Arriving in the morning to rehearse with pianist Polina Gerasimenko, the students were seemingly unfazed by the prospect of performing on the same stage as ex-alumni such as Proms-creator Sir Henry Wood, conductor Sir Simon Rattle, and singer Katherine Jenkins. Each student performed a movement from their chosen concerto in a bid to win the opportunity to perform the entire concerto with a professional orchestra at our Choral Society and Chamber Choir concert in April. The runner-up will get the chance to perform their chosen movement at the same concert.
The panel of judges was made up of industry professionals; Professor Timothy Jones, Deputy Principal, Royal Academy of Music; Laura van der Heijden, Cellist and winner of BBC Young Musician 2012; Imogen Tilden, Senior Arts Editor of The Guardian, and former Farnborough student Jack Jones, who was the runner up of the Concerto Competition in 2014.
The audience, made up of parents, students and RAM supporters gave each competitor rapturous applause after their performance, reflecting the high standard achieved by them all. After all 12 students had performed, the judges retired to confer. Returning to Duke’s Hall, Head judge Timothy Jones thanked the students for all the hard work they put in to preparing for the day and was very complimentary about their performances. He then announced the winners – in reverse order! The runner-up was Charles Rothwell (first year on saxophone), while the winner was Max Pemberton (second year on piano).
Impressed with the level of performance reached by the competitors, Professor Jones commented, “All of today's performances were characterised by tremendous commitment and musicality. This was an extremely impressive occasion, and one of which the students and everyone associated with the College can be rightly proud.”
A delighted Max said after the event, “Performing at the Concerto Competition was absolutely wonderful. The venue was fantastic, Polina worked miracles playing the orchestral parts, and the piano was one of the best I’ve ever played on. Very many thanks to all who attended and to the adjudicators for taking time out of their busy schedules to listen to me and all of my incredibly talented musical friends. An unforgettable occasion!”
Curriculum Manager for music, Harry White commented, “The way in which our students coped with the pressure of performing in such a prestigious venue in front of a panel of industry professionals was truly astonishing. The standard reached by all competitors was exceptionally high, and the whole day was a wonderful reflection of the students’ hard work and commitment.”
Special mention goes to the College’s piano teacher Polina, who accompanied all the competitors, playing the orchestral reductions for each performance.
We look forward to hearing their performances with a professional orchestra in April at Guildford Cathedral. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.