Parents and the Bath community recently enjoyed a spectacular Bath 200 Gala Concert, as 200 orchestral and choral musicians from King Edward’s, the Bath Philharmonia, and students from Bath Spa University came together.
The musicians performed alongside one another as part of the King Edward’s School and Bath Philharmonia Side-by-Side project.
Taking place amidst the stunning surroundings of the Assembly Rooms, the concert featured performances of O Fortuna from Orff’s Carmina Burana, the soundtrack of Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, by John Williams, as well as the premiere of Pamoja! – a new work by King Edward’s resident composer, Mark Boden.
Accompanying the Orchestras were the choral musicians of KES, including a newly formed choir made up of parents, staff and friends of the School, who rehearsed with Shean Bowers, Assistant Director of Music at Bath Abbey.
Their involvement included performing the rousing O Fortuna, Pamoja! and only the third performance of composer Eric Whitacre’s Deep Field, a piece inspired by the images of space taken by the Hubble telescope.
The evening also saw solo performances by three of the School’s senior musicians.
Trumpet soloist, James Brennan, performed Haydn’s Finale from his Trumpet Concerto, Bassoon soloist Anna Thomas, played Vanhal’s Allegro Moderato from his Bassoon Concerto in C, and Bath Young Musician winner and Year 13 pupil, cello soloist Sebrina Lambert-Rose performed Fauré’s Élégie.
Commenting on their solo performances with the Bath Philharmonia, Sebrina Lambert-Rose said: “It has been a great experience as a soloist to play alongside a professional orchestra for the first time. Working with Jason Thornton and the Bath Philharmonia has provided me with a remarkable insight into the world of professional musicians.”
Fellow soloist, Anna Thomas agreed, saying it has “undoubtedly advanced my playing, both in the discipline of orchestral work and in the solo elements.”
The newly commissioned Pamoja! (Swahili for ‘together’) was strikingly accompanied by three short videos produced by Year 12 filmmaker, Fin Moorhouse.
Both Fin and composer, Mark Boden, took part in the School’s trip to Kenya last year, and their experiences there inspired the collaboration.
Commenting on the evening, Rupert Drury, Director of Music at King Edward’s, said: “It’s been a tremendous night. For our pupils, there is really nothing that can raise aspirations, stretch technical ability and impart the skills needed to tackle such a repertoire more than rehearsing and performing with musicians at the top of their profession.”
Jason Thornton, Director of Music at Bath Philharmonia said: “I am very proud of our team at Bath Philharmonia and delighted to be working with all the committed young musicians from KES.”
Sharing the role of conductor for the evening, Mr Drury and Jason were joined by Bath Philharmonia’s Assistant Conductor, Fred Platt. A KES alumnus (2000-2007), Fred conducted Fauré’s Élégie.