A busy half term holiday at Wandsworth Music!

It might have been the half term holiday last week but we’ve been busy making lots of music in Wandsworth!

French Horn Masterclass with Ben Goldscheider

On Saturday 10th February, French horn students from the Wandsworth Music had a truly memorable afternoon. The international French Horn soloist, Ben Goldscheider, gave a masterclass to 6 of the Wandsworth Music Academy students. The students ranged from grade 1 to grade 8, and many of their horn playing friends from WMA attended to listen and support. Ben gave very insightful feedback, including musical suggestions, improving breathing, working on embouchure and right-hand position. Amira, Andrea, Daniel, Valerio, Ariane and Adele played beautifully, and we heard music ranging from Henry VIII to jazz classics such as What a Wonderful World, and the fabulous Nocturno by Franz Strauss. After each student performed, Ben opened the floor for audience questions. We discovered that despite being a world-famous soloist and chamber music, Ben only has Grade 3 on the French Horn!

The masterclass was in collaboration with St Luke’s Music Society, who kindly arranged for Ben and Huw Watkins (pianist) to work with the students in the afternoon. Ben and Huw joined forces with the violinist Ben Baker, to form the Ben Goldscheider Trio, for a concert in the evening. The trio performed trios by Brahms, an arrangement of the Mozart Quintet K407 for trio, and a trio written Huw Watkins. This was coupled with music by Clara Schumann, Mendelssohn and Brahms for violin and piano. The concert was superb, and it was wonderful to see so many of the WMA French Horn students attending and enjoying the performance.

We are very grateful to St Luke’s Music Society, for organising the masterclass and for their generous offer of free tickets to the students of Wandsworth Music to attend the evening concert at St Luke’s Church. 

Wandsworth Music Academy Half term course

From 15th to 17th February, Burntwood School was abuzz with activity as the Wandsworth Philharmonic Orchestra (WPO) and Wandsworth Concert Orchestra (WCO) took part in the February half term course. It was a chance for the pupils to have some intensive rehearsals and coaching in preparation for the Brighter Sounds concerts at Fairfield Halls in March.

Over the first two days the Orchestras alternated between full orchestra and sectional rehearsals. Led by a team of experienced orchestral musicians including Jim, Sam, Dave, Sabrina, Isha, Michael, Seb, Louisa, Iolo, and Olly, pupils had the opportunity to delve deeper into the nuances of the music, focusing on style, phrasing, and expression. Please head over to our Instagram page to see some of the videos taken at the course!

Before the informal concert the Youth Council organised a bake and music sale. Many thanks to Hilary, Sophie, Emma, Chloe, Louise, and Leo who’s hard work helped raise an impressive £175 for the academy’s tour fund, taking the total raised to more than £2,500!

The culmination of the half-term course was marked by an informal concert where participants had the chance to showcase their hard work to their family and friends. The WPO wowed the audience with a rendition of Borodin’s Polovstian Dances, while the WCO delivered captivating performances of Echoes of Time and Juba Dance.

Philharmonia Massed String Day rehearsal

On Saturday 17th March, we were joined by three members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, for the first of two coaching sessions in preparation for a Massed Strings Day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with the Philharmonia and the Benedetti Foundation. Children from the Junior Orchestra have been busy learning specially arranged, ‘mild’ and ‘spicy’ parts, to play alongside string players from other music hubs across the country. The Strings Day will take place on 14th March and will be a celebration of all things strings, with various workshops and a final performance to parents. The children had an intimate session, including break-out sectionals, focusing on some higher-level elements surrounding phrasing, bow strokes and articulation, effective practice techniques and how to refine their ensemble skills!

We are very much looking forward to the upcoming Brighter Sounds concerts at Fairfield Halls. Mark your calendars for the 26th (WCO) and 27th (WPO) of March to hear the culmination of this terms hard work!