25th Anniversary Course and Concert

3 November 2019, Cadogan Hall, London

The English Schools' Orchestra during the 2019 Concert The English Schools' Orchestra during the 2019 Concert

This year, the English Schools' Orchestra celebrated 25 Years. The highlight of our 25th year was the annual Orchestra Course, which took place over the October half-term. This comprised a five-day residential course during which an exciting programme of music was put together for a concert on the final afternoon.

This year's concert was held at London's Cadogan Hall on Sunday 3rd November 2019. The course was held during the half-term week, Wednesday 30th October to Sunday 3rd November at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Elstree.

During the week, students enjoyed regular refreshments, a delicious full cooked lunch and high tea. Residential students stayed at the well equipped Lincolnsfield Centre nearby and benefited from a cooked dinner and a wide range of organised evening activities including a spooky Halloween party.

Our Anniversary programme began with an enthusiastic performance of Elgar's popular Cockaigne Overture. This was the perfect start to an exiting programme and received a rousing reception from the packed audience.

The main feature of the first half was the incredible performance of Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto featuring soloist Isata Kanneh-Mason. Isata was amazing to work with during the course, inspiring the students and commenting on how impressed she was with the quality of the Orchestra. She was particularly complimentary of Anna Maclean who brilliantly played the solo Cello part in the 2nd Movement of the concerto.

Isata Kanneh-Mason is the eldest child in what Simon Cowell described as "The Most Talented Family in the World" in their recent performances on Britain's Got Talent. Isata is currently studying as a Postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music. She was a Piano section finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year and is a winner of numerous prizes. In July this year, Isata released a recording of the Clara Schumann Concerto on Decca Classics. Clara Schumann began to compose her piano concerto at the age of 13 - the age of our youngest student.

In the second half, the Orchestra performed Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony. Lord Lingfield, the Orchestra's President, said after the concert "If you closed your eyes, you would have thought it was a professional orchestra playing!" This was deserved praise for the way the Orchestra took on this challenging masterpiece.

Full Programme
  • Edward Elgar - Cockaigne Overture
  • Clara Schumann - Piano Concerto in A minor with soloist Isata Kanneh-Mason
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff - Symphony No.2 in E minor
  • Cadogan Hall, London - 3rd November 2019 - Click here to see all photos.

    Photos by Justin Griffiths-Williams