Creative Arts

Opportunities abound for pupils to pursue creative interests both within the curriculum and through the extensive co-curricular programme. Superb facilities supported by expert tuition provide the backbone for excellence within which pupils’ individual talents are nurtured and challenged.

2017  Arts Festival Monday 19th to Wednesday 21st June.

A three-day Festival of arts events with performances, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, concerts and activities providing a stimulating three days to challenge and inspire.

Click the below brochure for more info:

Welcome to Gedanken

The new ‘sciency musical’ Welcome to Gedanken is being performed by members of the school on 26th and 27th June at the Theatre Royal in Winchester.

The show involves about 50 pupils and staff and is very much in the tradition of the previous shows we have taken to Winchester and the Nuffield Theatre. The play, once again, is a farce with songs and science and is suitable for all ages. The action takes place, in part, in the fictional country of Gedanken – think Vulgaria in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.

Recital prize win

Congratulations to Aelfred Hillman who has been awarded the recital prize as a result of his performance at the recent Portsmouth Music Festival Gala Concert. Aelfred will now present his debut recital on clarinet and saxophone as part of the 2018 Portsmouth Festivities.

Music cup win

Congratulations to Ellie Macleod who played two of her A Level piano pieces at The Southampton Music Festival on 12th March winning The Janet Sherbourne Cup (U18 piano) for her performance of Joachim Raff's ‘Romance'. She received very positive feedback from the adjudicator for both pieces she played. 

More Festival success

Congratulations to Ollie Schofield who achieved 1st place with Honours in the Musical Theatre 15 years & Under category at the Southampton Festival of Music and Drama. He was also placed 1st in the Open Song category and has subsequently been invited to perform his winning number at the end of Festival Concert at Thornden Hall. Well done Ollie!

Rhythmic Gymnastics success

It has been a busy time for KES pupils involved in Rhythmic Gymnastics. The Rhythmic South Gymnastics Awards Day 2017 was held on Saturday 4th March and a number of achievements were made. Rosie Dyer-Slade and Alice Turner-Hall both achieved the Rhythmic South Gymnastics Bronze award with Distinction and Alice also gained the Bronze medal in the age 11 group whilst Rosie was awarded the Silver medal in the age 12 group. This weekend also saw the British Rhythmic Gymnastics Group Seeding Championship where the girls finished a very respectable 18th.

Dual success at Portsmouth Festival

Well done to Erik and Aelfred Hillman who recently competed in the recent Portsmouth Music Festival winning all their classes.

Erik performed twice on trombone gaining distinctions in the Grades 7-8+ Examination Class and Classical Music Class and was awarded the Roberts Cup and the Pinkney Cup. Aelfred was awarded Honours for both his Grade 7-8+ clarinet performances winning the Goodmans trophy and Joan Swift trophy. He also gained distinction for his saxophone playing in the Grades 7-8+ Jazz Class and winning the Marley trophy.

In addition, Aelfred was awarded the Zurich trophy for the 'Best Overall U18 Performance' and the Karen cup for the player demonstrating the most musicanship and versatility across the genres. As a result he has been invited to perform at next month's Gala Concert at The Kings Theatre where he will compete for either the 'Portsmouth Festivities Recital' or the 'Solent Symphony Concerto' prize for 2018. We wish him the best of luck.

Success at Southampton Music and Drama Festival

Congratulations to Sophia Bassi who entered two classes in this month's Southampton Festival of Music and Drama. She achieved 1st place with a distinction and won The Miss Elsie Coles Memorial Cup in the U12 Piano 20/21st Century including Jazz Class and has been invited to perform her winning performance 'Over the Rainbow' at the end of Festival Concert. Sophia also achieved 2nd place with distinction with her clarinet in the Solo Class: Any Woodwind Instrument, Grades 6 - 7.


Chamber Choir workshop

On Thursday 9th March the Chamber Choir welcomed David Hurley, former member of the King's Singers, a world-famous a cappella group, to run a workshop on their pieces for the Turner Sims Concert. In the workshop students were encouraged to move outside of their comfort zones away from the need for a conductor, building confidence as individuals to take collective responsibility for the performance. The experience was inspirational and informative as well as being enjoyed by all.

Success at Music Festival

Congratulations to Sophie Wu who competed in the piano section in the Portsmouth Music Festival during half-term achieving some outstanding results. 

Classical (Grades 6-7 pieces): Distinction, 1st in Class
Romantic (13 - 15 years): Distinction
Duet class (13 -15 years): Distinction, 1st in Class

Piano Masterclass

In the first week after half-term pianist Niel Immelman, teacher at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy, visited KES to offer a masterclass to some of our senior pianists. His work with the participants, Maya Garside, Joe Arthur, Sophia Bassi and Alex Zhou, who all played beautifully, was inspirational and demanding and left them with much to think about. Many other talented KES pianists attended as observers and through Niel’s knowledge and experience gained an intriguing insight into some advanced music and many interesting nuances of piano technique.

Lower School Music Concert

On the Wednesday before half-term, the first of this term's two Spring Concerts was held in the Main Hall. The evening saw over one hundred young musicians from the Lower School, supported by some of our Fourth Year pupils, play a programme of lively items to a packed auditorium. Many parents commented on the lovely atmosphere and high standard of musicianship.

Chamber Choir sing at Romsey Abbey

On Thursday evening the KES Chamber Choir joined Romsey Abbey Choir to sing evensong at the Abbey.  The combined voices produced a beautiful rendition of Noble's 'Magnificat' and Edgar's 'Give unto the Lord' for the congregation.

City Art Gallery Recital

On Thursday lunchtime, Sixth Form Music A Level students performed at Southampton's Art Gallery.  They showcased their A Level recital pieces to the public ahead of their forthcoming examinations.

Dance Gala

On Wednesday 8th February, KES dancers from across the whole school came together to perform a glittering ‘Dance Gala’ in the Dance Studio. The evening was a sell-out success and showcased the School’s many talented dancers in various styles including Tap, Contemporary, Ballet and Irish Dance. The evening also saw the debut performance from the new KES ‘Elevate Dance Company’. The pupils have been hard at work choreographing their pieces and they all performed brilliantly. Congratulations to all who danced!

KES Annual Music Competition

Congratulations to all sixty-seven musicians who performed in the annual Music Competition on Tuesday 7th February. This year the standard was extremely high and Dr Carrasco, the adjudicator, commented on how well prepared the players were and the impressive range of music on offer. Thank you to Mr Belassie for providing the piano accompaniment for all pupils.

The results were:

Grade 1-3
Winner: Maya Chakraboryty
Runners up: Huw Dunlop and Beth Robinson

Grade 4-6
Winner: Alex Zhou
Runners up: Ankit Nambiar and Oliver Schofield

Pro Corda National Chamber Music Competition

On Friday 3rd February, three students participated in the regional rounds of the National Chamber Music Competition at Godolphin School. The Woodwind Trio, with Tom Edwards and Eva Carlyle playing flute and Aelfred Hillman on clarinet, performed 'Aubade' by Gordon Jacob to a very high standard in front of adjudicator Laura Kinnesey, and a receptive audience, before receiving a masterclass on their piece.  The results of the competition mean that the trio will now progress to the semi-final.  Well done!

Drama Scholars perform 'The Ash Girl'.

Last night the School's drama scholars performed Timberland Wertenbaker's play, 'The Ash Girl' in The Twigg Studio.  'The Ash Girl' premiered at Birmingham Rep in 2001 and explores the beauty and terror inherent in growing up.  Congratulations to all those who took part for a thoughtful and moving interpretation of the play.

Music Trip to London

Last Wednesday thirty KES GCSE and A level musicians enjoyed a bright, crisp sunny day in London where they had a fascinating backstage tour of Covent Garden Opera House, visited the National Gallery to look at eight significant masterpieces, watched street theatre in Covent Garden over lunch and listened to the London Mozart Players perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 16 with soloist Howard Shelley at St John’s Smith Square. All in all a top quality and action-packed cultural day.

Workshop with Tom Seligman

The musical year got off to an exciting start with a workshop from our visiting musical advisor and consultant Tom Seligman. Tom is an English conductor who made his Royal Ballet debut in 2010 conducting a double programme of Peter and the Wolf / Tales of Beatrix Potter at Covent Garden.  He is in demand as a choral conductor and has worked extensively with the BBC and London Symphony Choruses, was chorus master for the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado at the BBC Proms and was Guest Chorus Director for the Hallé’s Gramophone Award-winning recording of 'The Kingdom'.

During his visit to KES Fourth Year GCSE pupils worked with Tom on aspects of their Concerto topic, while Sixth Form A Level musicians enjoyed an active conducting workshop on Beethoven's 'Eroica Symphony'. Tom also worked with musicians on A Level recital repertoire in a series of excellent performance classes.

KES pupil plays for National Children's Orchestra

Congratulations to Third Year pupil and trombonist Erik Hillman who has been offered a place in the U14 main National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain for 2017.  This is a very impressive achievement and Erik will be performing at venues throughout the UK including Birmingham's Symphony Hall and the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

KES Advent Concert

A very appreciative audience was entertained and delighted by the Chamber Choir, soloists, instrumentalists and readers at the Advent Concert directed by Irene Anderson - a new aspect of our growing relationship with the community at St Nicolas' Church, Stoneham. Choral music from the twentieth century included a moving performance of Britten's 'Ceremony of Carols', Tavener's 'The Lamb' and Warlock's rousing 'Benedicamus Domino' sending us on our way towards Christmas, but not without first enjoying hospitality at the Wellington Sports Ground next door.


Success at Music Festival

Sophie Wu participated in the Gosport Music Festival on Saturday 12th November.  She entered two classes: Romantic piano solo under 14 and Classical piano solo under 14. Sophie achieved a distinction (88 marks) for both pieces and was awarded first place in both classes.  Well done!

Concert trip to Kings Place

Sixth Form musicians enjoyed a first-class chamber music concert at London’s Kings Place on 10th November. The concert, given by the Schubert Ensemble, began with one of the Ensemble’s highly-acclaimed ‘Behind the Notes’ sessions, in which they explored the Piano Quintets of Franck and Fauré, using live performance to strip down the music and reveal its inner workings. This was followed by a full performance of the works which left the Sixth Formers completely inspired.

London Mozart Players and KES String Day

On Wednesday 12th October the School hosted an exciting string-playing day with the London Mozart Players, KES string players and 110 young string players from eight partnership and prep schools. The day focused on technique and musicianship and the important skills required to play in a large string orchestra. Following several workshops during the morning, the combined players presented a lively afternoon concert to parents. Repertoire included pieces from Grieg’s 'Holberg Suite', Bartok Rumanian Dances and Warlock’s 'Capriol Suite'. The junior pupils joined the core orchestra to play a number of Jigs and Reels which took the total of string players to 167! It was a wonderful day of music-making.

London Latin Jazz Festival

KES A Level musicians recently enjoyed an excellent evening at Soho's Pizza Express Jazz club listening to the infectious Latin rhythms of nine piece Cuban band Son Con. The band fuses the elements of traditional Son with an exciting modern vibe. During the evening, and after Pizza, the Sixth Formers took to the dance floor for a spot of Latin dancing.

Alice in Wonderland

The much loved classic tale of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which has been adapted by Simon Reade, provided an entertaining, thrilling and at times bonkers show for audiences to enjoy last week.  Pupils in the Lower School performed this delightful piece that was directed and choreographed by the KES Drama and Dance departments.

Music Competition results 2016

On Wednesday 15th June, following a wonderful day of top quality music making, and over sixty entries, the results of the Music Competition were as follows:

Grade I-III
Winner: Anoushka Umranikar
Runner up: Huw Dunlop

Grade IV-VI
Winner: Linus Etchingham
Runners up: Erik Hillman and Alex Hopkins-Manceri

Grade VII+ 
Winner: Eleanor Dunlop
Runners up: Chris Lotery and Aelfred Hillman

Trombone success

Following a recent audition at the end of last term, Second Year pupil, Erik Hillman, has been offered a place to study trombone at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department. Erik was invited to audition following a recent National Children's Orchestra residential course and beat off some very stiff competition. He will now travel to London every Saturday for a full day of music making with some of the countries leading musicians.

Gold certificate for Music Department

The Music Department is celebrating being awarded the ISM’s (Incorporated Society of Musicians) Gold certificate in music in 2016.  It has been awarded for the excellent results in GCSE music last year. More than 20% of the Fifth Year cohort at KES achieved an A*-C in GCSE music, which placed the School 37th in 5,000 Schools across England. The data highlights the reach of music within the School and whilst the ISM award was for schools with A*- C grades the whole KES Music cohort produced 100% A*/A grades.

Well done to all students for this outstanding achievement.

Spring Concert at Turner Sims

On 9th March the second of this term’s spring concerts was held at Turner Sims, Southampton University and showcased over 100 of the School’s senior musicians in a sparking and varied programme. The Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Choir and Big band were on top form, and a number of chamber groups and soloists complemented. This was also a concert with something new; an accordion player in the Chamber Orchestra’s performance of a Shostakovich Jazz Waltz, a delightful harp solo performed by Ellie Dunlop, a rousing performance by the newly formed Brass Sextet and a team of Fifth Years performing Elliott Cole’s 'Postlude 8' for bowed vibraphone - in darkness! No KES concert would be complete without a glittering finale and this year the solo singers rounded the evening off in great style with a performance of 'Sway' to the accompaniment of combined Big Band, Orchestra and dancers. The concert was brought to a close with exploding streamer cannons and rapturous applause from the full house.

Southampton Drama Festival success

Several KES students recently took part in the Southampton Drama Festival with notable success, winning 1st or 2nd place in every category in which they were entered.

First Year winners:
Elizabeth Lotery won the Under 12s solo category.
James Jellet & Harry Stembridge and Sophie Braackenburg & Evie Mussonwon came 1st and 2nd in the Under 12s duologue category.

Third Year Winners

Michael Shenouda won the Under 15s duologue category.

Fourth Year Winners
Roma Creedon and Beth Ryan came 1st and 2nd respectively in the Shakespeare Solo class.

Well done to all the students who took part.

KES student wins piano award

Congratulations to Sophia Bassi who took part in the recent Southampton Festival of Music and Drama, playing 'Prelude' in the '12 years and under' piano class. She achieved a distinction and was awarded 1st place and the Elvis Marion Young Memorial Cup.

KES student to sing with St Thomas Choir School

Congratulations to Phil Normand of the Upper Sixth who has been given a three month GAP year placement at St Thomas Choir School in New York. This prestigious placement will see Phil work in the School and also sing with the world-renowned St Thomas Choir, on Fifth Avenue.  Founded in 1919, and located in the heart of New York City, Saint Thomas Choir School is the only church-affiliated boarding school of its kind in the United States.

Evensong at Winchester Cathedral

On 24th February, the Chamber Choir sang evensong at Winchester Cathedral. This was an exciting opportunity to sing in an amazing venue accompanied by one of the cathedral’s organists. Students learned about the traditional elements of an evensong service and were able to develop their skills singing Psalms and Responses, a new experience for many. They were also able to put into practice all that they had learnt singing alongside the choir at Worcester College, Oxford, a few weeks previously. Their performance of Stanford’s ‘For Lo I Raise Up’ was particularly rousing, and special commendation should go to Phil Normand, Rhianna Jones, Holly Smart and Angus Armstrong for their solo contributions.

Percussion success

Congratulations to Michael Armitage who has been selected as a percussionist for the National Youth Wind Ensemble, as well as for the Woodfalls Band who are currently placed 19th in the world brass band rankings and are due to compete at the West of England Regional Championships next month.

Dobson Theatre Concert

Over eighty Lower School pupils filled the Dobson Theatre with a wonderful array of musical items in an excellent concert on 10th February. The Sinfonia opened the evening with highly polished and musical renditions of 'Wallace and Gromit' and 'Take Five' and the Symphonic Winds closed the evening with a high energy, foot-tapping jazz performance of B'lue Dinosaurs'. The first Year choir was on top form and there were a number of outstanding soloists and chamber groups. After the concert members of the audience remarked on the high quality of the performances and also the poise with which the performers presented themselves.

The Golden Masque of Agamemnon

Members of the Lower School performed 'The Golden Masque of Agamemnon' by John Wiles on Friday night in The Dobson Theatre. This was a version for young people of 'The Oresteia' by Aeschylus and told the story of Agamemnon’s return from Troy. There were some splendid performances from all chorus members, a king, queen, prophetess, various gods and furies, to name but a few! The Lower School students thoroughly enjoyed taking part and provided a memorable evening for a most appreciative audience.

Chamber Choir sing evensong at Worcester College, Oxford

On 4th February, the KES Chamber Choir travelled to Oxford to sing evensong at Worcester College alongside their College Choir. The Chamber Choir rose to the challenge of singing some advanced choral repertoire and excelled, being commended by the Director of Music at Worcester College for their knowledge, work ethic and choral sound. A particular highlight was the singing of Stanford’s 'For Lo, I Raise Up', a performance in which the choir’s enjoyment of the music was clear to all. Our students also had the opportunity to have a tour of the college, as well as have tea with the choral and organ scholars who were very willing to answer questions and share their experiences. The Chamber Choir is looking forward to performing this repertoire across a number of other events this term, including evensong at Winchester Cathedral on February 24th, putting into practise all they learnt at Worcester.​

Music assembly at Stroud School

Five KES Lower School musicians visited Stroud School this week to play at morning assembly, ahead of this year’s Dobson Theatre concert. As well as giving inspirational performances of some challenging pieces, they also demonstrated their instruments to the children from Years 3, 4 and 5 and spoke about the importance of music in their lives.

Mrs Fay, Director of Music at Stroud wrote: "Thank you so much for bringing your KES musicians to play for assembly. They were great – their standard of playing was inspirational to our pupils, and they also spoke well and were great ambassadors for KES."

Sixth Form performance of 'Heritage'.

Congratulations to the cast of the Sixth Form play, 'Heritage', directed by Ollie Uglow that was peformed on Friday and Saturday night in the Dobson Theatre. The play, written by  Daffyd James is a blistering black comedy with music exploring the darker side of nationalism.

Birmingham Royal Ballet Worshop

On Thursday 28th January, KES played host to Birmingham Royal Ballet who provided a fabulous workshop based on their production of Swan Lake, currently being performed at The Mayflower Theatre this week. The day began with a workshop for our feeder primary schools, and we welcomed Durlston Court, Princes Mead, Twyford and Springhill. These pupils enjoyed a fun warm up at the barre, an opportunity to choreograph their own version of the famous Cygnet Dance and a short introduction to mime in ballet. It was lovely to see such creative ideas flowing from such passionate young dancers! After that, it was the turn of KES Lower School pupils and they enjoyed learning the choreography for the Spanish Dance from the first act of Swan Lake. The girls picked it up impressively quickly and really showed off a Spanish flourish and flair in their final performance.

Battle of the Bands

The annual KES Battle of the Bands proved to be a popular event once again on Tuesday 19th January 2016. With over ten acts performing, the event was well attended with over 200 tickets sold. The talent on the night was of such a high calibre, that the guest judges Miss Barnett, Edwardian and guitarist Jordan Sheath and pianist Mark Hall, were spoilt for choice when choosing the winners. There were some stand out solo, duo and band performances. In particular, there was a tribute to the late music icon David Bowie with Sam Thompson performing ‘Ziggy Stardust’. Over £600 was raised in total for the Summer Camp project, with homemade cakes and refreshments being sold by members of the Summer Camp team on the night to encourage donations for the charity.

Curtain Call

Congratulations to all the staff and students who performed in the very professional and entertaining concert 'Curtain Call' last Thursday evening in the Dobson Theatre. The event was organised by Niamh Phelan of the Sixth Form in aid of the Goedgedacht Project. The performers sang and danced to some of the most loved pieces from musical theatre and the standard was extremely high.

Christmas Tree Festival

Well done to the Chamber Choir who gave an excellent performance at the opening of the Christmas Tree Festival on Friday 4th December, at St James Road Methodist Church. Members of the audience were full of praise for the quality of the singing. All proceeds from the event went to charity.

Twelve angry men

Twelve Angry Men’ was originally a 1954 television play, but is most famous for the 1957 film version starring Henry Fonda as the lone juryman who refuses to buckle to pressure from the others to convict a teenager of stabbing his father to death. It will be performed by members of the Sixth Form in the Robert Twigg Studio, in the Round, on 8th,9th and 10th December at 7.30pm. Tickets available on ParentPay.


The KES Drama Department has been working with Jeremy James Taylor (international director and writer) who founded the National Youth Music Theatre Company) in his role as director-in-residence this autumn.  Tonight sees the last performance of the production of the ensemble piece ‘Hiawatha’, with its talented cast comprised of pupils from all year groups.

Musical success

Congratulations to Sixth Form student Luke Roberts who has been selected to play the oboe in the National Youth Chamber Orchestra; an outstanding achievement.

Music Festival awards

Well done to Sophie Wu who played in four classes in the Gosport Music Festival last weekend.  Sophie was awarded 1st place in the 20th century (under 14 years old), Classical (under 14 years old) and Duet (under 14 years old) categories and was highly commended in the Swing, Jazz, Blues (under 14 years old) category.

Art Department visit National Portrait Gallery

On Tuesday 17th November, Fifth Year art students visited the 'exhibition of the moment' at the National Portrait Gallery entitled 'Giacometti-pure presence'. This exhibition showed the development of Giacometti's style through his early paintings and sculptures and cleverly highlighted the links between the two. It was also interesting to see how he drew inspiration from a small circle of friends and his family. His fluid drawings and painting will certainly inspire students in both their current projects but also as they approach the Art examinations in early January.

Theatre workshop

On 10th November the Sixth Form and Fourth Year Theatre Studies pupils took part in an inspiring and highly energetic workshop by Max Lindsay from the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. The workshop was a practical exploration of the work of the French theatre director and practitioner Antonin Artaud, who pioneered the niche style known as Theatre of Cruelty. Pupils explored a more visceral approach to performance with enthusiasm and much noise, creating powerful pieces around the themes of human trafficking, dictators and mental health issues.

GCSE Theatre Studies devised performances

On Thursday 5th November the GCSE Theatre Studies pupils showcased their devised performance exam pieces, worth 40% of their GCSE Mark, to an audience of parents and friends in the Twigg and Dobson Theatre.

The evening offered a diverse range of styles of performance from Brechtian-inspired plays that looked at the migrant crisis and the fickleness of those in positions of power, with humour and wit that entertained and informed, as well as two naturalistic performances one set in a prison and the other the home of a war veteran that were harrowing and acted with great maturity and sensitivity. There was also a piece of physical theatre set in an airplane inspired by the work of theatre company Frantic Assembly, who pupils worked with last year, that was both lyrical and engaging.

Southbank Sinfonia visit KES

On 20th October the advanced musicians of the Chamber Orchestra joined forces with our professional partnership orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, for an inspiring day of side-by-side playing. Repertoire included Rossini's Barber of Seville Overture, Dvorak's 9th Symphony, first movement and extracts from Poulenc's Gloria.  The day, which also saw 70 musicians from our feeder junior and prep schools performing with the KES chamber Choir, culminated in an outstanding concert at Turner Sims.​

Royal Marines band workshop

At the end of September a group of KES brass and wind players visited the Royal Marines School of Music in Portsmouth, to participate in a day of music-making with the professional musicians of the Royal Marines Band. It was an inspirational day of learning and playing, alongside students from five other local schools, culminating in a hugely impressive afternoon performance with the world-renowned band.


KES Drama Department is very pleased to announce that we have Jeremy James Taylor, international director and writer who founded the National Youth Music Theatre Company, as our Director in Residence this Autumn.

Jeremy is directing the ensemble piece Hiawatha, with a cast comprising of pupils from all year groups. The talented cast have an intense rehearsal schedule and we all look forward to their performances on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th November at 7.30pm in the Dobson Theatre. Tickets will go on sale at the beginning of October.

Conducting Workshop

Musicians in the Sixth Form enjoyed an inspirational conducting workshop with Tom Seligman who has worked extensively with the BBC and London Symphony Choruses. He was chorus master for the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado at the BBC Proms and was Guest Chorus Director for the Hallé’s Gramophone Award-winning recording of The Kingdom.​​ Tom is a regular conductor for the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, English National Ballet and New York City Ballet. KES Students were able to work at their conducting technique and gain a valuable insight into the importance of this role as a musician.

KES Arts Festival 2015

The 2015 Arts Festival ran for three days this week providing a colourful myriad of workshops and performances to challenge and inspire.

Forty–eight visiting artists came to the School over the three days to work with students and workshops included Samba drum and dance, print making, violin playing, fashion design, enamel jewellery making, guitar playing, illusion theatre, singing, Bollywood dance, Dhol drumming, lectures, digital news reporting, mime, comedy, origami and paper cutting.  There were several spectacular large scales events in the Big Top including the Art Exhibition, Concert, ‘Science of the Circus’ show, Art History lecture and a number of band performances. Competitions included the ‘Compose the Festival Jingle theme’, Graffiti Art, Music Competition, Book Origami and the staff Tug o’ War (won by the Humanities Department).

KES music scholars scoop prizes

Congratulations to KES music scholars Mike and Emmy Huang who achieved multiple success at the recent Southampton Music Festival.

Emmy won the Chappell Challenge Cup (Baroque or Classical 14 years and under) and the Trinity College Challenge Cup (Romantic 14 years and under) whilst Mike won the Janet Sherbourne Cup (Romantic 18 years and under) and the Whitwam Trophy awarded to the most promising pianist of the year and was invited to perform in the Festival Concert. Jointly, Mike and Emmy won the Anne Harris Challenge Cup (Chamber Groups including Duets).

Mike also claimed the title Young Musician 2014 awarded by the Southampton Choral Society to a young musician who has made an outstanding contribution to music in the city.  He was invited to perform a cello solo in their concert in St Mary's Church.

The Great War Revue Evening

The Great War Revue Evening was an opportunity for the school’s actors and musicians to come together to commemorate World War One. The evening involved staff as well as students, and was a mixture of comic sketches, dramatic scenes and music from the era.

Spring Concert at Turner Sims

On Wednesday 18th March the second of this term’s Spring Concerts was held in Turner Sims featuring the school’s advanced musicians. The Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Big Band and a number of soloists and chamber music performers wowed the audience with a sparkling array of top quality music including works by Liszt, Holst, Schubert, Weber, Beethoven and popular numbers by Ed Sheeran and Scotty Morris to name a few. The evening was rounded off with a high energy performance of Marques’s Danzon and Fly me to the Moon featuring tap dancer Charlie Callaghan. The full programme, pictures and video may be found here:

KES Music scholar scoops prizes

Congratulations to First Year Music scholar Sophie Wu on her success in the recent music festival competitions.

At the Portsmouth Music Festival, Sophie won 1st place with Distinction in the Classical (Grades 4-5) class and 1st place with Honours in the Duet (age 10-12 year) class.

In March, at the Southampton Music Festival, she won 1st place with Distinction in the Romantic (11 years and under) class, 1st place with Commended in the 20th/21st century inc. Jazz (11 years and under) class and 1st place with Commended in the Baroque or Classical (11 years and under) class.

KES students awarded drama prizes

Congratulations to the following KES students who won awards at the recent Southampton Music and Drama Festival.

Dramatic Solo Piece 15s and Under : 1st Place to Catherine Thomson. Catherine also won the Drama Cup for achieving the highest mark in this catergory.

Dramatic duologue 12s and Under: Joint First Place went to David Ace and George Butler and Ruth Kilgannon and Rebecca Waggett.

Dramatic duologue 11s and Under:
Isobel Chapman and Katherine Roberts

Music Festival wins

Congratulations to First Year trombonist Erik Hillman who performed at the Portsmouth Music Festival during half-term.  The competition was adjudicated by Paul Denegri, Head of Brass at Wells Cathedral School, and Erik was awarded two Honours certificates, the Crawford Trophy and also the Woods Trophy for the overall most promising brass player aged 12 years and under.

Strictly superb dancing!

During half-term, First Year pupil, Ella Thomas competed in the South Regional Ballroom and Latin Dancing Championships that were held in Milton Keynes. She danced the ballroom section in the morning and the Latin section in the afternoon and managed to win both competitions in her age group. This is an amazing achievement. Well done Ella.

Top Hat!

The short film 'Top Hat', in which Charlie Callaghan plays the starring role, has been nominated for 'Best Short Film' at the Century Club’s 2015 Short Film Festival. This is a prestigious event as this is an age old club on Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End, renowned by the UK's film industry. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday 23rd March with the results being announced following the screening of all nominated films.

Dobson Theatre hosts Spring Concert

On 11th February the first of this term's two Spring concerts was held in the Dobson Theatre. The evening saw over 100 young musicians from the Lower School, supported by some of the school's Fourth Year musicians, play a programme of lively items to a packed theatre. Many parents commented on the lovely atmosphere and high standard of the evening's performances.  Well done to all those who took part.

Art Gallery concert

On January 28th, the KES AS and A-Level Music students performed a lunchtime concert in the Southampton Art Gallery to rapturous applause. Their programme showcased an impressively broad spread of styles and techniques. The works on offer ranged from piano solos by Liszt and Debussy to songs by Michael Head, Mozart, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Vaughan-Williams; as well as pieces for cello, clarinet, and viola. Seating space was limited, but members of the public were more than willing to stand as the recital unfolded. By the final number our ensemble had captured the attention of a large audience. It was a beautiful space with a vintage Steinway grand piano and remarkable acoustics. The event was very well received by all who attended, and the museum’s staff expressed a hope that we would return in the near future.

Winchester Cathedral concert

Last weekend the Chamber Choir performed in a joint concert with the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra. Around forty KES students took part in the excellent performance performing with musicality, sensitivity and confidence. The choir performed a wide variety of different pieces, with particular highlights including Grieg’s Ave Maris Stella, Stopford’s Lully, Lulla, Lullay and Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God. All students involved should be congratulated for their hard-work and commitment to this performance.

NCO success

Congratulations to Erik Hillman who has won a place in the U12's National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain playing trombone. He was one of over 1500 children who auditioned so this is a fantastic achievement. Well done Erik.

A National Champion

Congratulations to Charlie Callaghan who was a member of the England Tap Team who won the IDO World Championship on Friday 5th December. The England team travelled to Germany to take part in the competition and beat 25 other countries to become the World Champions. Well done Charlie!

Bugle Playing Competition 

Congratulations to Fourth Year pupil, Mhairi Carson, who took part in the National bugle playing competition at the weekend. Mhairi was one of eighteen bugle players to reach the final and she came 4th in the competition. This is a remarkable achievement as most of the players were much older than her.

Welcome to Thebes

Last week the Dobson Theatre was transformed into Thebes, a country ravaged by civil war. Audiences of over 300 became immersed in the drama as the cast of over 30 pupils from the Upper School and Sixth form became child soldiers, senators, characters of Greek myths and new world leaders. It was handled with maturity and sensitivity by the excellent cast who inspired us with their compelling performances and a focus and passion way beyond their years, providing a fast paced thought-provoking evening for all those who attended.

Turner Sims celebrates 40 years

On Wednesday, a group of senior musicians visited the Turner Sims to view a special performance celebrating the venue’s 40th anniversary. Led by the Britten Sinfonia, it was a varied programme including Elgar and Purcell, and renowned pianist Paul Lewis playing a Mozart piano concerto. It was a wonderful chance to see top-quality professional musicians in a setting which many of our musicians are lucky enough to find familiar, having performed there themselves.

National Chorister Competition

Congratulations to Angus Armstrong who has progressed through to the national finals of the BBC 2 Chorister of the Year competition this year. During half-term he competed with three other boys (and four girls) in the finals at St Paul’s Cathedral in front of an audience of around 2000. The competition was recorded by the BBC and will be broadcast later this month.

KES perform with Southbank Sinfonia

On 9th October the School was delighted to welcome the Southbank Sinfonia with whom they experienced an action-packed, inspiring day of music making. Pupils from several feeder Prep Schools, singers from the KES Adult Choir and musicians from the KES Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir all took part in a variety of activities with the visiting musicians. One of the Sinfonia’s violinists is Avril Freemantle who attended KES in the Sixth Form from 2006-2008.

In the morning the visiting Prep School musicians were involved in the full orchestral rehearsal and composed pieces for the pre-concert performance, whilst the KES Chamber Orchestra played alongside the Southbank Sinfonia. In the afternoon the Chamber Choir enjoyed rehearsing Mozart with a professional orchestral accompaniment and throughout the day Lower School artists sketched the orchestra as part of their Cubist art project.

A vault full of music!

Congratulations to Holly Smart, Emma Blackman, Miriam Chapman-Rosenfeld, Rosa Sparks, Phil Normand, Mike Huang, Anna Cook, Charlie Lisle and Richard Brown who performed solos and duets with great panache in one of Southampton's medieval vaults as part of the Music in the City event on Saturday 4th October. 

What would you do?

Congratulations to Jordan Sheath who has just produced his first album 'What would you do?' which is due to be released via iTunes, Spotify and other music sites on the 21st of September. So far, the album has climbed to number 38 in the iTunes singer/songwriter charts on pre-orders alone. 

Jordan started writing songs when he was 9 years old, progressed to learning the guitar two years ago and over the summer visited a local recording studio where, with the help of the producers there, he was able to create his own fully self-written 5 song album/EP. The album cover was designed by Oliver McQuitty, also a Sixth Former at KES.

An appearance at The Albert Hall

Congratulations to Rosa Sparks who sang with the Winchester Cathedral Girls’ Choir at the Royal Albert Hall in a BBC Prom last week. She sang in Bach’s 'St Matthew Passion', conducted by Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

A dancing star!

Congratulations to Genevieve Wateridge who has won the All England Dance Championships and is the National Star Tap champion. As a result of this she has been invited to dance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 2nd at the Dance Proms and will be interviewed by BBC Radio Solent on Tuesday 16th October at 3.15pm. 

Tap! Tap! Tap!

Congratulations to Charlie Callaghan who has been selected for the England Team to represent England at the World Tap Dance Championships which will take place in Germany during the first week in December.

Showcase Concert

On 25th June, over 100 audience members squeezed into the Music Recital Room to watch over fifty pupils from the First and Second year perform in their End of Year Showcase Concert. The evening was an exciting mix of ensemble and solo performances with First Year Choir taking the lead, starting with a three part arrangement of the Gospel song 'Climbing Up the Mountain'. All the soloists of the evening gave confident, polished performances to a very receptive and encouraging audience. Flute choir, led by Miss Stocker, gave a very beautiful rendition of a medley of songs from 'The Sound of Music' and Second Orchestra kicked off the second half of the evening with a rousing arrangement of the 'Shostakovich Jazz Waltz', conducted by Mr Belassie. To finish the evening, Lower School Choir performed their harmony versions of the very popular songs 'Let It Go' from Disney's Frozen and 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams, which got everyone up on their feet and clapping along. It was a great evening demonstrating the hard work and commitment of all the performers and was enjoyed by all who attended.

A trophy win!

Congratulations to Guy Ripper who has won the Bournemouth Singer of the Year Competition in the Under 17 category with his renditions of  'Se tu m’aimi', 'Empty chairs at empty tables', 'The vagabond' and 'Sea fever'.

An enchanted evening!

Congratulations to the Junior Drama Club members who produced an impressive 'Enchanted Evening' performance on Thursday 19th June under the direction of Miss Birks.  Forty First and Second Junior Drama Club pupils participated with various members of the Lower Sixth helping to direct scenes.

Annual KES Music Competition

On the 20th June the annual KES Music Competition was held; this year expertly adjudicated by Dr Andrew Fischer, lecturer at the University of Southampton. All the students performed with superb musicianship and technical ability and it was very hard to award an overall winner for each category. However this year, the winners were:

Grade I-III - Maddi Holden, First year, Voice
Grade IV-VI - Eleanor Dunlop, First year, Voice
Grade VII+ - Joe Arthur, Third year, Piano

Dance workshop

Northern Ballet are visiting The Mayflower Theatre in May with their acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and earlier in the week KES pupils were lucky enough to enjoy a workshop run by this fabulous company. Northern Ballet are a narrative ballet company, renowned for telling stories through dance. The pupils enjoyed a fun and energetic warm up, the workshop then explored the story and characters from the show and gave our pupils the chance to try out some of the moves for themselves.

A fabulous way to start the week!

Winchester Young Soloist Competition 

Congratulations to Jenny Whitby on winning the Winchester Young Soloist Competition 2014. Jenny gave a dazzling performance of the Nielsen Flute concerto with the Winchester Symphony Orchestra to secure the title.  Well done also to cellist Mike Huang who charmed the audience with an excellent performance of the Elgar cello concerto.

National Youth Theatre success

Congratulations to Charlie Callaghan who has been offered membership of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT).  It is notoriously difficult to be accepted first time at the youngest age of 14 and very unusual to be offered NYT (National Youth Theatre) and NYMT (National Youth Music Theatre) at the same time so this is an outstanding achievement.

The CEO Paul Roseby has congratulated him and said "This year we auditioned over 4,800 young people in 19 auditions centres across the UK and you are one of just 560 who have been selected. The standard of talent was exceptional this year and we received a record amount of applications, so you should be incredibly proud of your achievement." 

KES playwrights shortlisted

Congratulations to Georgia Humphrey and Tabitha Piggott, who took part in the National Theatre New Views Playwriting competition run in School during the Autumn and Spring term, and have both made it to the Long List.  The National Theatre received over 480 student scripts and the School is extremely proud to have two pupils make it into the top 60.

Young soloist competition success

Congratulations to Michael Huang and Jenny Whitby on their success in being chosen to play as two of the three finalists in the Young Soloist competition playing with the Winchester Symphony Orchestra on 10th May at the Harvey Hall at St. Swithun’s. We wish them the best of luck.

KES Spring Concert

The second of this term’s Spring Concerts was held at Turner Sims on 19th March.  The evening showcased the School’s advanced musicians in the Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Big Band and Chamber Choir and music ranged from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Shostakovich’s 2nd Piano Concert to Billy Strayhorn’s Take the A Train. There were a number of outstanding solos and chamber items to complete the programme.

A piano masterclass

Congratulations to Bi Jia Wu who won several awards in the recent Portsmouth Music Festival. As a result of her performances she has been chosen as one of four pianists to attend a festival masterclass in June, which will be run by Mr Murray McLachlan, the Head of Keyboard at Chetham's School of Music.

Southampton Music Festival

Over the past two weekends, many pupils from King Edward’s have taken part in a variety of classes held at the Southampton Music Festival.  Particular congratulations go to the following students whose outstanding performances have won them various cups, medals and titles over the two weeks.

Emmy Huang came 1st place in the Chappell Challenge and also won a medal in the Baroque or Classical Junior Piano, 14 years and under class, Mike Huang won the Southampton Piano Teachers’ Challenge Cup, the Whitwam Trophy, the festival plate for strings and came 1st place in the Post grade 8 String recital and joint 1st in the string concerto class, Luke Roberts came first in the post grade 8 woodwind recital and has been asked to play in the festival gala concert and Tom Edwards received honours and won the grade 8 woodwind class. Bi Jia Wu won the Triangle Pianos Trophy (post grade 8 Recital) and Mike Huang won the Whitwam Trophy, awarded to him for being the most promising junior pianist.  Joan Chen won the Miss A B Reid cup for Baroque Playing under 18s and the Jane C R Smith Challenge Cup for Classical Playing under 18s. Joan Chen and Carol Cao also won the Eardley Russell Challenge Cup for under 18s ensemble playing with their piano duet. Shyam Samraj won 1st prize and the cup in the U11 piano competition as well as 1st prize in the grade 4-5 guitar section.

Flute and Piano Quartet through to National Finals

Congratulations to the Flute and Piano Quartet who have made it through to the final of the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Competition.  They will now compete on Sunday 23rd March in Birmingham against the following schools; The Perse, Shrewsbury, Trinity, Guildford, Charterhouse, Uppingham, Sevenoaks, Dean Close, Tunbridge Wells, Westminster, Ipswich, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The group consists of Jenny Whitby, Zoe Carter Tai and Tom Edwards (flutes) and Bi Jia Wu (piano).

Striking a chord!

The Music Department has received a fabulous gift of a harpsichord that is now in the Recital Room.  The instrument was very kindly donated by Mrs Jenni Shipwright, widow of Mr Jack Shipwright, who was a former Head of Modern Languages at KES and very involved with the Music Department when Mr Merryman was Head of Department.  The harpsichord will be enjoyed by many present and future pupils.


Piano masterclass

Grade VIII and Diploma piano pupils enjoyed an inspiring masterclass with Philp Jenkins FRAM on 11th February. Philip is widely recognised as one of Britain's most sought-after teachers. He studied with Harold Craxton at the Royal Academy of Music in London, in Paris with Jacques Fevrier, and then with the legendary pianist Dame Myra Hess. Philip Jenkins' career as soloist and chamber music player has taken him to many parts of the world including North America, the Far East and throughout Europe. He is professor of piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Music trip to Berlin

In February, ten KES musicians accompanied by members of the Music Department travelled to Berlin for the weekend on a mini music tour. Highlights of the trip included hearing the world class Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra perform their A level set piece, going to see the Berlin State Opera perform Richard Strauss’s 'Salome' and visiting an authentic Berlin jazz club.