Welcome to the website of the Music Department at Portland Place School, London. We hope that you find all the information that you need, but please get in touch if you would like to know more.
Timetables for individual music lessons can be found here.
As a way of demonstrating just a few of the musical activities that Portland Place students get up to, have a look at our Week in the Life of a Portland Place Student
1st & 2nd April 2020 – PPS Production ‘High School Musical’
6th February 2020 – Lower School Chamber Concert
Yesterday afternoon saw our 3rd Lower School Chamber Concert in PPS Hall. In the first year, we had a handful of performers from Years 6-9, and this year we had 18 performers!! There was a great range of instruments offering pieces from Purcell, Haydn and Mozart, to Nirvana, Ed Sheeran and Ocean Colour Scene. Huge congratulations go to all the students, many of whom had never performed in public. As always, grateful thanks go to the parents for their ongoing support and the Visiting Music Staff and external music teachers who have helped prepare them.
11th December 2019 – PPS Christmas Concert – Regent Hall
Wednesday evening saw the culmination of musical activity for this term with our Christmas Concert at Regent Hall – a lovely venue with great acoustics and a real Christmas feel with decorated trees flanking the stage. The evening was a chance to see our fantastic Sixth Form and Year 11 lead from the front with brilliant performances from Augustus, Blake, Eliza and Ester in Year 13 and Freya, Sam and Vitan who balanced rehearsing and performing alongside taking their mock exams. At the other end of the school, but equally as confident, were debut performances from students who have only had a handful of lessons on their new instruments. With performances from Schumann to Paul Simon, from stage and screen, and two DJ sets from Jake Cossey and Louis Briottet before the concert and during the interval, PPS students showed enthusiasm and confidence in abundance – huge congratulations to you all! Thanks, of course, go to our Visiting Instrumental Staff and to all the parents, students and staff who came to support and encourage.
5th December 2019 – PPS Carol Service, All Souls Church
As PPS gets into the Christmas spirit, we held our now annual Carol Service at All Soul’s Church. Performances from the choir and chamber choir, as well as solos from Lana Tuite and Daya Uppell interspersed traditional carols and readings from students and staff across the school.
16th November 2019 – FutureDJ Incubator Workshop
On Saturday 16th November, Jake Cossey (Year 9) was invited to represent Portland Place School as part of the FutureDJs Incubator Programme. The programme takes students who are showing a passion, talent and career potential in their in-school DJ lessons, giving them the chance to develop their skills and provide them with real-life performance experience whilst working alongside professional DJ’s. Here is a video of his live DJ set.
14th November 2019 – Upper School Chamber Concert
Yesterday, we were very pleased to host our Upper School Chamber Concert, featuring our amazing musicians from Year 10, 11 and 13. This year, alongside our GCSE and A level students, it was fantastic to see so many other students performing even though they are not studying Music. The programme was varied and diverse from Ocean Colour Scene, to Satie, Miles Davis and music from Waitress by Barielles. Congratulations to everyone who performed and thanks to those students, staff and parents who came to support. We now look forward to our Carol Service on 5th December and the PPS Christmas Concert on 11th December. Hope to see you there!
17th October 2019 – Year 6 & 7 Creative Arts Haunted House
PPS became Darkwood Hall as Year 6 zombies guided parents around the candlelit, cobweb filled corridors to the Minimalist compositions of Year 7, into 3 performances of mysterious murderous tales. Great work on display from Drama, Design, Art and Music!
25th June 2019 – PPS Summer Concert – RADA Studios
Huge congratulations to everyone who took part in the Summer Concert at RADA Studio theatre on Tuesday 25th June. A truly eclectic mix of items from Telemann, Lil Nas X, jazz standards, Stevie Wonder and many more. A particular well done to all the Year 7 students who performed as the Symphonfree orchestra and Uber Brass Ensemble after only a years’ worth of lessons. We said a final formal concert farewell to our Leavers in Year 11 and Year 13: Issy Francis Baum, Laurie Ashcroft, Joe Ahrens and Simon Browning. A massive thanks to all of them for their support and contribution to Music at PPS for many years – they will be sorely missed! Here are a selection of pictures from the evening.
20th June 2019 – Opera Holland Park Workshop ‘Un ballo in maschera’ and visit to Opera Holland Park (27th June)
On Thursday morning, 25 Year 9, 10 and 12 students had a fantastic workshop with facilitators and musicians from Opera Holland Park. Games, songs, movement, directing, performances and discussion around the story and themes in the opera ‘Un ballo in maschera’ prepared the way for our visit to watch the opera next week.
21st May 2019 – Year 7 Creative Arts Showcase – RADA Studios
25th April 2019 – A Level Music Recital Evening
Huge congratulations to Joe Ahrens and Simon Browning as they complete the performance component of their A Level Music. A fantastic recital evening with trumpet music by Telemann, Bernstein, Nat ‘Cannonball’ Adderley and Elgar. Well done!
29th and 30th April 2019 – PPS Production ‘Bugsy Malone, JW3 Theatre
Another hugely successful PPS production – this time Bugsy Malone at the wonderful JW3 Theatre, Finchley Road. Lots of splurge and lots of fun!
27th March 2019 – FutureDJ’s Roadshow
We were so pleased to host another Roadshow by FutureDJs, our DJing lesson provider. A great time was had by all in PPS Hall during lunchtime on Wednesday with many of students getting the opportunity to have a go! If you are interested in DJ lessons, or any other music tuition, please contact Mr Hill, Director of Music (email@example.com) for an application form.
21st March 2019 – GCSE Music Final Performance Showcase
On Thursday 21st March, our Year 11 GCSE Music students showcased some of the assessment pieces that they had been preparing over the last two years to fulfill the performance component of the GCSE course. The formal assessed recordings took place earlier in the week, but this was a chance to celebrate the progress that they had made and dedication to practice that they had demonstrated.
Well done to Charles Ambler, playing Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie) on piano, Laurie Ashcroft performing Here Comes the Sun (Beatles), Carla Mora Ventura giving New Orleans Night Fall also on piano, and finishing with ‘All That Jazz’ from Chicago sung by Pauline Levy. Thanks to all the staff, parents and friends who came to support the students.
We now look forward to the A Level Recital Evening on Thursday 25th April, at 5:30pm in PPS Hall.
27th February 2019 – Lunchtime Jazz Concert + Jazz Harmony Workshop
We were delighted to welcome Nikki Yeoh to PPS on Thursday in her professional capacity (rather than as a parent) as a highly critically acclaimed jazz pianist and composer. We were treated to a fantastic lunchtime concert in PPS Hall where many students and staff attended to hear some of Nikki’s own composition, to hear her talk about them and also get involved in the performance ourselves.
Following this, our Year 11, 12 and 13 students had the benefit of Nikki’s wide knowledge as they played their instruments to get a better understanding of jazz harmony, extended chords, jazz voicings (it’s not just about the right notes, but the best place to put them!), altered chords, substitutions and improvisation. All of this will be massively useful as the students create and develop their compositions for GCSE and A Level courses.
A massive thank you to Nikki for coming in, telling her story, giving her insight, all with huge amounts of expertise but also enthusiasm and fun!!
7th February 2019 – Lower School Chamber Concert
On Thursday 7th February, students in the lower school took part in the second annual Lower School Chamber Concert. This was an opportunity for our younger and less experienced musicians to develop their performance skills in a more informal environment. As usual, there was an eclectic mix of repertoire with jazz standards with improvisational sections from Lana and Lucas on trumpet and trombone respectively. Lenny Kravitz, Blur and Guns n’ Roses were among the artists performed by our percussion students, supported by Mr Jesson, along with Ronan and Lucas playing the piano. We were very grateful to the parents, family, friends and staff who came to support the students and we look forward to hearing them perform again soon!
4th December 2018 – Christmas Concert at RADA Studios
Our annual Christmas Concert at RADA Studio Theatre was a fantastic evening. Established and long serving students performed alongside our youngest, many gaining their first experience of performing. With nearly 50% of the school taking part, it was great to see the first contributions of the newly formed Boys Choir singing a Queen Medley and California Dreamin’, and also our first live DJ set! Solos, duets and performances from the percussion, jazz and woodwind ensembles, the new Year 10 Rock Band, the Chamber Choir and PPS Choir joined by some staff made for day a wonderful start to the festive season at PPS. Thanks to everyone who was involved and supported in so many ways. Here are some pictures – some videos to follow.
1st November 2018 – Key Stage 2 Concert at Wigmore Hall ‘The King with Donkey Ears’
On Thursday 1st November, all of Year 6 went on a trip to Wigmore Hall to watch a KS2 concert, The King with Donkey Ears. We learned two songs and sang with the Castalian String Quartet. A man called Sam guided us through the concert telling us a traditional Somalian folk tale, accompanied by the string quartet (2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello) about a King who hid his ears as they looked like Donkey’s ears and his friend a barber.
Before the concert, Sam came around and gave the audience a fake haircut with massive scissors and comb. Thanks to Miss Boyle and Mr Hill for taking us and the Music department for paying for us all to go!
Here’s what some of us thought of the trip…
“My favourite bit was when the string quartet played a long exciting piece at the end” – Isaac
“I liked the whole concert!” – Emily
“I found it relaxing and I liked the instruments that they used” – Christopher
“I liked the different sounds the instruments made” – Egor
“I really loved the songs ‘Our King has Donkey Ears’ and ‘Timbalayo’ and the moral of the story which was that the people still loved the King even though he had donkey’s ears” – Ché
“I liked that the guy pretended to cut Sasha and Che’s hair” – Daniel
Review written by all Year 6 students, compiled by Mr Hill
3rd October 2018 – Key Stage 4 & 5 Chamber Concert
On Wednesday 3rd October we held the first Portland Place Upper School Chamber Concert. This showcased the talents of our Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students studying GCSE and A level Music. For many this was a first public performance or playing a new piece and every student excelled and performed with confidence. We look forward to seeing all the students develop over the course of the year and will hear them again in the summer.
As always, thanks so much to the parents, staff and students who attended to support those performing.
5th September 2018 – BREAKING NEWS!
Welcome back to another academic year – and some good news. Our Symphonfree Scheme is to be part of the curriculum for all Year 7 students. That means free tuition and instrumental loan to EVERY year 7 student in Portland Place. See our Symphonfree page for more information.
Also – school productions will now be taking place annually and this year will be the classic ‘Bugsy Malone’. More info to follow but auditions will be in November, rehearsals starting in January and performances in March/April. Get ready to visit Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy!!
2nd – 5th July 2018 – PPS Music Tour – Belgium
This year’s Music Tour took 16 students from the Portland Place Choir and Chamber Choir to Belgium. After a quick journey over to our hotel in Ypres, everyone settled in and had a quick rehearsal for Day 2.
Concert 1 was on the Kinderland stage at the Bobbejaanland theme park followed by some time in the sun and a few roller-coasters and slushies!
Day 3 was a trip to Bruges with some sightseeing on a canal cruise and exploration of the many chocolate, lace and souvenir shops. After lunch was concert number 2 at St Salvatore Cathedral – a great audience, amazing acoustics and a fantastic performance from everyone. In the evening, we went to the Menin Gate for the 31,091st Last Post Ceremony which has taken place every evening at 8pm since 1928 to remember those that fell in the battle of Ypres but who were never given a grave – an estimated 90,000 soldiers.
The final day gave us a trip back into Ypres centre with plenty more chocolate consuming and souvenir buying before the return coach trip.
An absolutely massive thanks to all the students who were fabulous and made the staff very proud with their hard-work, enthusiasm, commitment and good humour!!
26th June 2018 – Summer Concert – RADA Studios
Another fantastic concert from the PPS students, a range of solos, duets and ensemble items from across the ages. Hugely memorable for the students and audience and a special chance to say thanks to Emily Willis and Jacob Milanov in Year 13 in their last PPS concert after many years involvement.
15th June 2018 – Year 6 Production ‘Ali Baba and the Bongo Bandits
Photos to follow.
8th June 2018 – Year 7 Creative Arts Showcase
Congratulations to all of the Year 7s who participated in the Year 7 Showcase at RADA Studios. There were fantastic performances from the Year 7 Choir and Symphonfrietta, as well as lovely vocal and instrumental solos. It was also pleasing to see the creativity of the year group through a trestle mask routine, a set-text extract and a small selection of the Year 7 monologues.
10th May 2018 – Key Stage 2 and 3 Vocal Workshop
Today we were very pleased to welcome Gregory Batsleer (Chorus Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus) and Amanda Macleod (Education and Outreach Manager with The Sixteen) to Portland Place to lead a singing workshop with the whole of Key Stage 2, Year 7 and Year 8, and a group of Year 9 students. During the day, the students explored their voices through warm-ups, body percussion, creating soundscapes and a number of vocal games. In addition, the whole group learned the song ‘Africa’ by Toto in harmony, culminating in a recording of the whole group in PPS Hall. The final recording is just being mixed down and we’ll be able to share it with you on the website and @PPSMusicDept in due course. In the meantime, here’s some photos from the day. Massive thanks to Mr Bentley for linking with Greg and Amanda, to all the staff who supported during the day, but most of all the students who worked together to produce the final recording!
1st May 2018 – Cuban Son Key Stage 4 & 5 Workshop with Sara McGuinness
On Tuesday 1st May, we welcomed Sara McGuinness lecturer at London College of Music and SOAS to lead an interactive workshop with our Year 10, 12 and 13 students on her specialism of Cuban music. With 2 set study pieces at A Level Music and fusion styles a key part of GCSE Music, this was a great introduction to the style, it’s background, development and most importantly how to play it. Sara arranged 3 pieces for the students to learn and perform, including the 2 A Level works and everyone had to be at their best to concentrate on the clave patterns. A fantastic morning and huge thanks to Sara. Videos and pictures are available on our Twitter page @PPSMusicDept
26th April 2018 – A Level Music Recital Evening
And this week, it has been the turn of the A Level students to record their performances. On Wednesday, Simon and Joe in Year 12 recorded their internal assessments whilst Jacob recorded his final submission. This evening, all three students showcased their pieces at the A Level Recital Evening. Many congratulations to Joe, Simon and Jacob and thank you to the family, friends, staff and students who attended and gave their support.
22nd March 2018 – GCSE Music Recital Evening
This week, Year 11 GCSE Music students have been recording their solo and ensemble performances for exam submission. This was showcased on Thursday 22nd March in the GCSE Recital Evening. Fantastic performances by all of our students and very well attended by parents, friends, family and staff.
Thanks to everyone for their support and particularly to the students for their hard work and practice.
6th-8th February 2018 – Portland Place School Production of Oliver!
An amazing effort from cast and crew and grateful thanks to JW3 Theatre, staff and all those in PPS who helped and supported us throughout the whole rehearsal and production process. It was a great show!
Here’s some photos.
25th January 2018 – Lower School Chamber Concert
A first for Portland Place is the new concert specifically to encourage our younger instrumentalists and singers, to develop their confidence in performing in front of an audience and to showcase their talents. Fantastic performances from students across Key Stage 3, in particular a self-composed song performed by Eli Anderson (Year 9).
Well done to everyone who performed and those who came to support. Even bigger and better next year!
12th December 2017 – Christmas Carol Service
On Tuesday 12th December, Portland Place School held their first Carol Service at All Souls Church, Langham Place. Great singing from the choir, staff choir, chamber choir and Year 5 & 6 and festive music from the string ensemble. A range of biblical and secular readings from students and staff made for a memorable as festive occasion. Hopefully the first of many carol services in the future!
5th December 2017 – Christmas Concert
On Tuesday 5th December, 80 students spent the day rehearsing and then performing in the Christmas Concert at RADA Studios. Fantastic performances by the school ensembles and also a number of individuals. Huge thanks go to the Music staff, school staff who supported during the day and in the evening and the sell-out audience of parents, friends and family for attending. But most of all, to the wonderful students for their hard-work, dedication and commitment to Music at Portland Place School. Here are just some of the highlights.
29th June 2017 – PPS Celebration Day
Celebration Day this year once again showcased the talented students of Portland Place School Music, Drama and English departments, providing interludes between the presentation of awards from each Faculty area. Following the Headmasters Welcome, PPS Chamber Choir gave a gentle and calming performance of ‘The Seal Lullaby’ by Eric Whitacre, which was contrasted by the PPS Staff Choir (who have been rehearsing after school every Friday) who sang a 3-part arrangement of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ as performed by Katrina and the Waves after the English and MFL prizes.
Next came the turn of some individual items, with Albie Marber (Year 10) reciting the poem ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley either side of the Science and Maths Faculty awards, and then Year 13 A-Level Music student Cora Hilliard, singing the comical solo song ‘The Girl in 14G’ by Tesori which tells of a girl who believes that she has found her perfect flat, until she discovers a wannabe opera singer living below, and an aspiring jazz singer living above!
After the prizes presented by Mr Jones for the Creative Arts Faculty, the PPS Choir performed ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ by Duke Ellington before the Drama department took to the stage with an extract from the Lower School play ‘Alice in Wonderland’ featuring Lucas Martin, Freya Francis-Baum and Felix Rivadeneira, all in Year 8. Next came an extensive and impressive list of achievements of teams and individuals from the Sports Faculty, matched by the impressive Year 6 students, showcasing two songs from the hugely successful ‘Pirates of the Curry Bean’ production. As the awards came to a conclusion, there was still time for Lucas Martin to recite his fantastic own version of ‘The Pied Piper’, expressively, confidently and with real presence.
Well done to all the students who took part in the items and contributed to a really enjoyable Celebration Day.
19th June 2017 – Summer Concert
On a very warm Monday evening, RADA Studios was packed out with parents and students for the annual PPS Summer Concert. A fantastic range and variety of items including Wagner, the Jackson 5, music from stage and screen, ensembles large and small, and some great solos. A huge thanks particularly to Miss Boyle, Mr Bentley, all of the Visiting Music Staff but also most importantly the students for their contributions and commitment to the music at Portland Place over the whole year.
27th April 2017 – A Level Recital Evening
On Thursday 27th April, our sixth form music students entertained and demonstrated their fantastic proficiency as part of the A Level Recital Evening.
Emily Willis and Jacob Milanov in Year 12 performed part of their final recital for next year with Emily singing ‘The Ships of Arcady’ and ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story, and Jacob vigorously playing ‘Tribute to Roberto Garcia Morillo’ on piano before moving to the other extreme to drum to ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day.
For her recital exam, Cora Hilliard demonstrated her versatility with an aria from Haydn’s Creation, followed by the early twentieth century song ‘Weep You No More’, and then moving to the West End with ‘Think of Me’ from Andrew Lloyd-Webbers’ Phantom of the Opera. In conclusion, Cora combined the musical theatre, opera and jazz styles in the comedy song ‘The Girl in 14G’, telling the story of a girl who moves into a seemingly quiet and relaxing new flat, but finds that her neighbours above and below are budding opera and jazz singers who rehearse late at night…..and very loudly!
After a short pause, Sholto Biscoe-Taylor began his recital with three songs starting with ‘Music for a While’ by Purcell, followed by Samuel Barber’s ‘Sure on this Shining Night’ and finishing with some early musical theatre, characterising the brash, aggressive but ultimately remorseful Billy Bigelow from Carousel in the song ‘If I Loved You’. Sholto then moved to the piano to perform the first movement of Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A flat major and concluded with the Nocturne in B flat minor by Chopin.
Huge thanks go to the parents, friends and staff that attended the recital and especially to the vocal and instrumental staff who prepared the students, and to Zrinka Bottrill for accompanying. Ultimately, huge congratulations to Cora, Sholto, Emily and Jacob who were amazing! Well done.
23rd March 2017 – Year 11 Recital Evening
This week, the Year 11 GCSE Music students have been recording their final versions of their solo and ensemble pieces. This culminated in them all performing at our Year 11 Recital Evening on Thursday 23rd March. The repertoire was diverse, from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Beethoven and Haydn, and the students rose to the challenge admirably, despite a lot of nerves! Huge thanks to the parents for their support and also to our visiting music staff for preparing them over the last two years. Also thanks to Zrinka for accompanying, Mr Bentley for technical support and performing, of course, Miss Boyle for working so closely with the students and supporting them in their curriculum lessons week on week.
7.12.16 – Christmas Concert
Tuesday’s concert was a fantastic way to end the musical term here at Portland Place School; students, parents and staff left Cecil Sharp House feeling very festive! This concert was one of the best yet and included some fantastic performances. All of the regularly rehearsing groups performed, including orchestra, big band, soul band, choir and chamber choir etc. in addition to solos from Sholto Nixon, Grace Gosling, Winston Lao and Daisy Tompkinson. Of course we were treated to some traditional Christmas tunes but we also heard a diverse range of other music from Bizet to Miles Davis and beyond. It was great to see more than 1 in 5 of PPS students present at the concert and staff choir is now bigger than ever! Well done to all involved.
2.12.16 – Tosca Trip
Last night our four music sixth form students travelled to the London Coliseum, home of English National Opera, to see a performance of Tosca. The students were bowled over by the intensity of the music and drama and became instant Puccini converts. What a treat it has been to hear both ENO and the LSO in one week!
25.11.16 – London Symphony Orchestra Trip
Yesterday, the sixth form music students visited the Barbican Centre to hear the London Symphony Orchestra perform works from the Romantic period. We heard the famous William Tell Overture, Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto and then Strauss’ magnificent Alpine Symphony. It was a real treat to hear a world-class orchestra, augmented to 125 players, perform such a awe-inspiring piece under one of the leading conductors in the world, Sir Antonio Pappano.
16.11.16 – African Music Fusion Workshop
This afternoon the Year 10 music students from Portland Place and Wetherby Senior were very fortunate to receive a visit from Jally (http://jallykebbasusso.com), a Gambian kora player. Jally gave a performance and spoke about the West African Griot tradition. Mr Bentley then worked with Jally and the Year 10s to create a piece of fusion music, fusing together the traditional kora playing with a house beat and rhythmic contributions from the students. The Year 10s will soon be sequencing their own pieces of World/Dance fusion so this was a fantastic introduction!
01.11.16 – Afro Celt Sound System
On Sunday the Year 10 music students visited the Barbican Centre for a concert by Afro Celt Sound System, a fusion collective who combine elements of various music traditions from around the world with electronic music. It was fascinating for the students to see so many different instruments being played, many of which they had never seen before! Afro Celt Sound System are one of our eight set artists for the new music GCSE, so this was a unique opportunity to hear the music live and up close!
09.07.16 – Music Tour
We have just returned from the Black Forest in Germany and had a fantastic time! We performed three hour-long concerts with a Musical Theatre theme: one in Freudenstadt, the next in Titisee and the final one in Strasbourg. We had a great reaction from those who came to see us; one audience demanded an encore! We stayed in a lovely village called Oberharmersbach but ventured out into the city of Strasbourg and one of the world’s best theme parks, Europa Park. Here are some pictures – more can be seen on the Music Tour page of this site.
01.07.16 – Celebration Day
Music took a big part once again in the end of year prize-giving. There were various performances from all members of this year’s music tour, as well as a long-awaited appearance for the staff choir! Well done to Anton Solodchenko for picking up this year’s Benjamin Britten Award for achievement in music.
29.06.16 – Summer Concert
Yesterday’s summer concert was a great success – well done to all that were involved! We heard a range of music from students in all year groups. Particular highlights were The Orchestra’s performance of the ET: Flying Theme, Chamber Choir’s rendition of The Rhythm of Life and Anton Solodchenko’s own composition. There was a big finale from the choir who sang a medley of the hits from Mamma Mia – they’ll be singing this a few more times on tour in Germany and France next week!
15.06.16 – End of Term Performances
We have a very busy few weeks ahead which includes the Year 6 pantoperas on Friday 17th June, Summer Concert on 28th June, Celebration Day on 1st July and the Music Tour to Germany from 4th to 8th July. Here are the organisational details for these events so please have a look:
20.05.16 – Year 7 Concert
Many congratulations to the whole of Year 7 for their performances in last night’s concert at RADA Studios! The year group sang a variety of “Songs from Around the World” including La Bamba, Danny Boy, Siyahamba and Three Little Birds, and Symphonfrietta, the Year 7 orchestra, performed to the public for the very first time. We also heard some fantastic solos from many singers and instrumentalists; there is clearly a lot of talent in the year group so the future looks bright! Well done to all and to Miss Boyle for putting it all together.
29.04.16 – A Level Recital
We would like to congratulate our A Level musicians on their recital programmes which they performed yesterday. We heard from six students: Naz Simsek and Preston Nyman in Year 13, Cora Hilliard, Max Brivati and Sholto Nixon in Year 12 and Anton Solodchenko, taking AS music a year early, in Year 11. All of the performances were great but particular mention must go to our leavers; Preston’s If I Didn’t Believe in You (from The Last Five Years) and Naz’s Send in the Clowns (from A Little Night Music) were sung with great attention to detail and a real understanding of character. Well done all!
19.04.16 – Piano Masterclass
This week we have been very lucky to receive a visit from Vidas Vaitkevicius, a piano student at the Royal Academy of Music just up the road from us! He ran a mini masterclass for our piano students and heard four of our pupils perform: Carla Mora (8), Faisal Alyami (8), Will Cort (9) and Sholto Nixon (12). The students received some useful advice from Vidas before he himself took to the piano with some inspiring Mozart and Scriabin, finishing with a little-known but exciting showpiece from his home country of Lithuania! We hope the event inspires all of our musicians to continue practising and striving for excellence in their music-making.
12.04.16 – Summer Term
As the summer term approaches, we thought it would be a good idea to let you know about our upcoming events – you can find more details about these on the events and concerts pages.
- 19th April – Vidas, a student from RAM, will be visiting us to give a masterclass and performance to some of our students.
- 28th April 5.30-6.30pm in PPS Hall – we will be holding our annual A Level Recital and all are welcome.
- 19th May 6.30-7.30pm at RADA Studios – the Year 7 concert is back, this time with an around the world theme! Free tickets must be pre-booked; details to follow.
- 17th June 3.00pm in the Drama Studio – the Year 6 classes will be performing their Pantoperas – Man On and The Marriage of Wigaro.
- 28th June 6.30-8.30pm at RADA Studios – the summer concert will be taking place, featuring all of our groups and ensembles, together with some solo performances.
- 4th-8th July – we are taking 20 singers over to the Black Forest in Germany to sing three open-air concerts!
22.03.16 – Jazz Concert
Our upper school music students and school big band were incredibly lucky to receive a visit today from a professional jazz quintet: Freddie on trumpet, Chris on sax/clarinet, Rob on keys, Darren on bass and Sam at the drums. They played tunes ranging from Ellington to Parker and covered some of the set works we are studying this year including Miles Davis’ All Blues and Four. It was very inspirational and a pleasure to listen to such high-quality music making. Our very own Anton Solodchenko (Y11) also guested with the band on keys for a rendition of Beautiful Love – well done, Anton! Video up here.
18.03.16 – Recital Evening
Preston Nyman, Year 13 student and audience member says:
“On Thursday, students ranging from Year 5 to Year 11 performed solo pieces in a recital organised by the music department. This was a fantastic night, and it was wonderful to hear such impressive talent coming up from the lower years in the school. We heard pieces ranging from Mendelssohn to Menken and a variety of instruments; huge congratulations to all involved!”
26.02.16 – London Symphony Orchestra
Last night our sixth form students went to hear the LSO perform programmatic pieces by some of the great Romantic composers; the students were particularly inspired by Smetana’s realisation of Richard III and Tchaikovsky’s famous concert overture, Romeo and Juliet. It was fantastic to hear one of the best orchestras in the world playing such engaging repertoire. The soloist in Liszt’s 2nd Piano Concerto was the world-famous Simon Trpčeski, who once practised on our piano here at PPS!
20.01.16 – Show Rehearsal this Sunday
Only principals will be need for this Sunday, in room 1. Timings are as follows:
Emily – 10.00-10.45
Matthew – 10.00-11.30
Preston – 10.15-1.00
Naz – 10.15-3.00
Cora – 10.30-1.00
Daisy – 2.00-4.00
09.12.15 – Christmas Concert
Well done to everyone involved in this year’s Christmas Concert; it was great to see every year group represented once again. As usual we heard excellent performances from all of our weekly rehearsing groups; particular highlights included Computer from the Portland Place Big Band, Pirates of the Caribbean from the Portland Place Orchestra and some lovely part-singing from the Chamber Choir. Maia, Storm, Aislinn and Alfie all gave wonderful solo performances too. Have a look here for more pictures. Merry Christmas!
03.12.15 – The Force of Destiny
On the 2nd December the Y11, 12 and 13 music students visited the Coliseum on St. Martin’s Lane to hear English National Opera’s production of Verdi’s Force of Destiny (La Forza del Destino). The performance was stunning; the students were particularly enamoured by Verdi’s chorus writing and the fine playing of ENO’s orchestra. Tamara Wilson gave an exceptional performance as Leonora, especially in the moving final scene; she definitely inspired the singers in our group!
19.11.15 – Wigmore Hall Recital
Last night our sixth form music students went on a trip to Wigmore Hall to hear a song recital by the Dutch mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn. The evening was fantastic and included lieder by Schubert, Mahler and Berg; it was particularly interesting to hear the development in compositional style from the early 18th to the early 19th century. Mahler’s Urlicht, performed at the end of the evening, was especially transcendent and a favourite of the students.
11.11.15 – Christmas Concert
The 2015 Christmas Concert is coming up soon so clear your diaries on the evening of 8th December! We will be hearing from all ensembles and some soloists; rep will include some Basie from the Big Band, Pirates of the Caribbean from the Orchestra and some State Fair from Choir. The evening will run from 6.30-8.30 at RADA Studios; free tickets will be released through their box office (020 7307 5060) on 26th November (a week earlier for families of participating students) so do book early in order to avoid disappointment! Have a look at this letter for more info regarding students that are performing: Christmas Concert Letter.
16.10.15 – Year 7 Haunted House
Congratulations to all in year 7 for a fantastic Haunted House event last night! 56 Portland Place was transformed into the scary Darkwood Manor and the turn out from parents, friends, relatives and staff was great. Alongside drama performances and creations from art and DT, all of year 7 sang Michael Jackson’s Thriller (with dance moves!) in the Darkwood Manor Hall. Year 7 have been composing scary minimalist compositions in the style of Terry Riley during music lessons and some of these pieces were playing around the different rooms in the Manor! Well done to all.
3.9.15 – Music Groups and Ensembles
All rehearsals and music clubs start up again from Monday 7th September; do come and join in! Some of the timings have changed, so please have a look at the following timetable:
10.7.15 – Chamber Choir Mini-Tour
This week, the Chamber Choir performed brilliantly in some prestigious venues in London and a care home in Bournemouth. Repertoire included difficult polyphonic works by Tallis, Morley and Weelkes! The students had great fun through the week, relaxing on the beach, playing laser tag and some Gamelan. Have a look here for more.
02.7.15 – Chamber Choir Concerts Next Week
The Chamber Choir will be performing two concerts next week in prestigious London churches – please have a look at the posters below for all the details and come along!
01.7.15 – Summer Concert
The annual Summer Concert featured all of our regularly rehearsing ensembles, and the highlights included Orchestra playing Vaughan-Williams, the Chamber Choir singing a cappella madrigals and the Soul Band playing Jungle Boogie! We heard solos from a few students, some of whom will sadly be leaving us next week: Milo Stilitz, Max Vernon-Powell and Joy Crookes. We also heard Alfie Heaney-McKinnell play part of a Bach Partita on the Violin. Well done to all!
26.6.15 – Y6 Pantoperas
29.5.15 – Y7 Concert
Have a look here for the report and pictures on the recent Year 7 concert!
13.5.15 – Summer Concert Rehearsals
You can now download the Summer Concert Rehearsal Schedule. Please ensure that students are present for these important sessions.
1.5.15 – A Level Recital
The A Level Recital Evening was a great success. We heard both traditional and musical theatre repertoire from our three vocalists, Preston, Naz and Milo (including three Sondheim songs!) and part of Cimarosa’s Oboe Concerto, performed by Miki Burnett. All of the performances were very expressive and musical, and the students are likely to receive very pleasing marks for them. The evening ended with an incredibly characterful interpretation of If I Were a Rich Man by Milo!
25.3.15 – Wigmore Hall Trip
Some of our A Level music students visited the Wigmore Hall to hear three contrasting examples of Classical and Romantic chamber works for string ensemble – Haydn’s Op 33 Quartet in Eb “The Joke” (an A Level set work), Beethoven’s 1st String Quartet Op. 18 in F and the Octet in Eb Op. 20 by Mendelssohn (once resident in our school building!), composed when he was only 16. A few days before we were visited at school by Roy Stratford, who gave a lecture to the sixth form students about the works they were going to hear. The concert, which was broadcast live on Radio 3, was fantastic!
20.3.15 – Music Recital Evening
The concert went really well, and showcased students from years 6-12 performing music from a variety of genres. For more details, have a look here.
6.3.15 – Music Recital Evening
On March 19th, from 5.30-6.30, around 20 students from Years 7 up to sixth form will be performing solo pieces in the school hall at 56-58 Portland Place. The evening will include both vocal and instrumental performances – many different instruments will be featured, including the Shamisen! There will be complimentary wine and refreshments served and all family and friends are welcome.
4.3.15 – GCSE Compositions
The GCSE compositions from 2014 have now been uploaded and you can listen to them here. Stay tuned for the 2015 compositions!
26.2.15 – Trip to Royal Festival Hall
The London Philharmonic Orchestra gave a morning concert on Monday to our GCSE music students which drew links between various pieces of Classical and Romantic music through identification of the ancient Dies Irae melody. Particular highlights were the witches’ dance from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre. Mozart’s 40th Symphony, one of the GCSE set works, was also played and analysed.
19.2.15 – Music Timetables
Music lesson timetables for the coming term and now on the website here.
17.2.15 – The Pajama Game
Last week’s show was a roaring success, with some incredible performances from the students! Audio/Video/Pics to follow.
17.2.15 – Lister Community Orchestra
Mr Brightwell and Miss Valentine, together with Amy Haynes from Lister Community School, set up their own orchestra for adults at the end of 2014, and you can see some footage and interviews from our workshop day on Mahler’s 9th Symphony here. Our next workshop is on Mahler’s 6th, and is on May 17th – contact us if you want to get involved!
16.2.15 – Music Lesson Timetables for Feb/March
These will be on the website by the end of half-term.
13.1.15 – Website
The Portland Place Music Department web site is now live! Do have a look around at all the different sections, and click the button on the right to follow us on twitter! You can see timetables for all music lessons this term here.
You can see the official Portland Place School website here.