The culmination of three weeks of incredible music making within the Millfield Music School was the Instrumental Finals. Once again, the evening was adjudicated by Simon Chalk, who had the incredibly difficult decision of picking the category winners, as well as the prestigious Overall Instrumentalist for Millfield Musician of the Year 2022 Award.
The evening began with performances from the Intermediate Categories. There was one performer from each instrumental category chosen from the Intermediate grade boundaries (Grade 4 -5) to perform. The first performer of the evening was Tansy, who had the very difficult job of opening the evening with her keyboard performance. Tansy was poised and gave the audience a delicate, lyrical performance of J.S. Bach’s Gavotte en Rondeau from Suite in G minor, BWV 822. Next was Tamara who won the Intermediate Strings category with her performance of Kraemer’s Cossack Dance on violin. Her playing captured the dancelike Hungarian atmosphere with vigour. Third in this category was Teddy who performed the well-loved Pink Panther theme tune. Teddy won the Wind, Brass and Percussion category because of his smooth dulcet tone on the saxophone.
Once the intermediate winners had played, the judging of the other categories commenced. There were six categories which needed to be adjudicated: Advanced Keyboard, Advanced Strings and Wind, Advanced Brass and Percussion, and then the three diploma categories, Keyboard, Strings and Wind, Brass and Percussion.
The advanced Keyboard category was opened by Jack who played Chopin’s Mazurka in F minor, Op. 63, No.2. This elegant performance captured the contrast of the piece and had been polished and refined. Second in this category was Chloe, who played Struttin’ at the Waldorf by Lane. This fun and jazzy piece was expertly played, and the jovial rhythms gave the piece great character.
The Advanced String category also had two performances, both of whom were cellists. Starting this category was Abby who performed a beautifully cantabile rendition of the 2nd movement from Klengal’s Concertino in C major. There was clear connection to this music and Abby’s professionalism and skill on her instrument was clear. The other performer in this category was Melinda, who performed the beautifully lyrical Après un Rêve by Faure. As noted by Simon Chalk, this piece used the high register of the cello, which is incredibly difficult, but Melinda navigated it with ease.
Next up was Advanced Wind, Brass and Percussion, where we had the pleasure of hearing three brilliant performances. Keamen opened this category with Binge’s Romance from Concerto for Alto Saxophone. His smooth tone filled the room with the beautiful melody and his natural ability to phrase gave an effortlessly musical performance. Next in this category was Pierre who played the infectiously fun Sack the Juggler by Hext on the marimba. Pierre brilliantly captured the mood of the piece, and this exuberant performance was cheeky and full of spirt. Last within this category was Clemmie’s performance of Sunstreams by Clarke. Her performance of this piece captured the mystical nature of the work and she transported the audience with her playing, encapsulating all of the various mood changes within this piece.
The Diploma Keyboard category started with a brilliant performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No.5 in C minor, Op.10, No. 1 by Annabel. This ferocious and characterful piece was played brilliantly, and Annabel captured the virtuosity and great characterisation of the work. Next was Tabitha who gave a stunning performance of Khachaturian’s Toccata in E flat minor; the technical difficulty of this work was expertly handled with poise. The category continued with another great 20th century keyboard work, Shostakovich’s Three Fantastic Dances, Op.5, played by Jo. This harmonically challenging work was brought to life by Jo’s playing.
Next was the Diploma String category. Unfortunately, one of the performers in this category was not able to perform, but was commended at the beginning of the evening for her wonderful playing during the heats earlier in the week. The first live performance in this category was Hamish who performed Toccata (in the Style of Frescaboldi) by Cassadó. It was after the challenging double-stopping section of this piece where the string on Hamish’s cello snapped, however, this unfortunate event did not deduct from this accomplished and energetic performance. Jo provided the second performance in this category, and her second accomplished performance of the evening. Her beautiful harp playing was angelic throughout both the 1st and 3rd movements of Handel’s Concerto in B flat major.
The final category of the evening was Diploma Wind, Brass and Percussion. Cecilia opened this category with a performance of Hummel’s Theme and Variations on the oboe. This performance was poised and elegant showcasing her natural affinity for phrasing and shaping the music. Second was Izzy, the youngest player in this category, who played the marimba. Schmitt’s Ghanaia was brilliantly played, bringing the funky and electric mood of the work to life. The third performer was Grace on the flute. Grace transported us to another world with her performance of Ibert’s Jeux. The soaring flute lines were contrasted to the playful runs in this 20th century French work. Felix had the difficult job of ending the music for the evening, but his performance of Albinoni’s Concerto in D minor, 1st movement was played with such natural affinity for the style and feeling.
Well done to everyone who played in the final, the competition was nail- bitingly close, and all the performers should be incredibly proud of themselves. Please see below a list of winners for the instrumental competition. Thank you everyone who has been involved in Millfield Musician of the Year 2022, we have heard so many brilliant performances, and it speaks to the hard work of so many students and the support of many teachers to be able to have such a high standard of competition.
Millfield Certificate Winner - Will, Intermediate Wind, Brass and Percussion Winner - Teddy, Intermediate String Winner - Tamara, Intermediate Keyboard Winner - Tansy, Advanced Keyboard - Jack, Diploma Keyboard - Tabitha, Advanced Strings - Abby, Diploma Strings - Hamish, Advanced Wind, Brass & Percussion - Pierre, Diploma Wind, Brass & Percussion- Izzy, Overall Instrumentalist - Izzy.
View the full photo album from the evening here.
Discover more about music and Millfield here.