Anna Townsend gets full marks for her A-level composition

Anna is a talented singer, pianist and violinist whose piece ‘Changing tides’ was inspired by works from the Romantic period, in particular, the String quartets of Elgar.

Her quartet was written in response to the ‘free’ composition A Level brief and was awarded full marks. This performance was recorded by The Cavendish String Quartet.

Anna is now studying Maths at Oriel College, Oxford and is a choral scholar at Queen’s College, Oxford.

Summer Serenade

This week we were treated to a wonderful evening of music by the students and staff of AGGS. There was something for everyone on the programme with the ‘Big Band’ sound of Duke Ellington, an incredible solo singing performance of Elgar’s ‘Sea Pictures’ by Y13’s Anna, expertly accompanied by the string orchestra. Between the larger groups were ensemble pieces and the evening rounded off with delightful performances by the junior choir, expertly led (for the last time) by Louise Dickinson who leaves us at the end of term. The students prepared a really touching musical tribute to Louise followed by an amazing ‘group hug’! We wish Louise all the best for her new musical adventures.

Written by Dr John Stephens CBE, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust

See below tweets from the performance including audios:





String Orchestra Music for Youth Birmingham July 2019

We had a wonderful day on 4th July in Birmingham with String Orchestra, who performed as part of the National string/chamber music final.

All 26 students from Y8 – 13  performed brilliantly. Despite there being a lack of chairs and music stands in the warm up room – see photo of chilled playing, cross legged on the floor!

It was wonderful for them to perform in such a prestigious venue. Birmingham Town Hall is beautiful and the concert stage and magnificent organ backdrop was a fitting platform for all the orchestras. Anna T sang the Elgar Sea Pictures as if a professional. One to watch in future! The Kodaly pieces were played with real passion and panache.

We performed alongside 6 other orchestras/string ensembles. Of these, we were the only orchestra from the north and there were just 3 schools (and 4 music hubs) represented nationally. Quite an achievement to be chosen from all the state schools/music services in the country.

This year, NFMY has embraced the celebration element of the festival. So no placings were given, as in the past. Instead, detailed feedback was given to each group, which was really good – wonderful to hear professional musicians give their independent comments and suggestions. And also completely fabulous to hear such repertoire from other orchestras played to such a high level. It was such a treat to just sit in the audience and enjoy 2 hours of performances. It was also lovely that we had such great parental support too in the hall.

We’d like to thank Janet Janes, who is inspirational as conductor of  string orchestra, sourcing amazing music (arranged by former parent Adrienne Spilsbury) and injecting such passion to rehearsals  – with such a high level of technical expertise too as violinist. She teaches many of the students individually and this really shows in their commitment to her and the orchestra, but also in the way they play.

Also to Cara Janes, who has coached the cello section and to Zoe Burke who has helped with the double bass part.

Bravo to all student string players!