The standard of the School's Instrumental Music is very high. More than four hundred instrumental and singing lessons are given each week and pupils have on offer just about every conceivable instrumental ensemble.
A large team of well-qualified, highly experienced visiting teachers guide the pupils in their instrumental studies.
Bursaries are available for those unable to pay for instrumental tuition. The School also offers a small number of Sixth Form Music Bursaries given to more advanced players on the basis of involvement in the School's music-making and the tutoring of younger pupils in their instrument.
Many junior ensembles cater for the needs of the younger boys, whilst a Concert Band and Senior String Ensemble offers the more advanced pupils the opportunity to discover the symphonic band and classical string repertoire. The First Orchestra tackles challenging works from across the orchestral repertoire. Recent concert items have included Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherezade, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Borodin's Second Symphony, Sibelius' Second and Fifth Symphonies, Brahms' Second Symphony, Schumann's First Symphony, Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, Mussorgsky's Night on a Bare Mountain, Schubert’s 'Unfinished' Symphony, Copland's Appalachian Spring, Säint-Säens' Danse Macbre, Eric Coates' London Suite and Dvorak's Eighth and Ninth Symphonies. Pupils have performed many concertos with the Orchestra, including Haydn and Hummel's Trumpet Concertos, Elgar's Cello Concerto, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto and the same composer's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. In April 2004, the Orchestra toured the Rhine Valley area of Germany and in March 2008 it performed in Vienna and Salzburg. Members of the Orchestra toured in Prague in April 2010, performing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and accompanying the choir in Mozart's Requiem. In July 2012 the Orchestra performed Grieg's Piano Concerto in Symphony Hall, Birmingham as part of the National Festival of Music for Youth.
The School is very fortunate to have strong links with a number of London's professional orchestras, in particular the English Chamber Orchestra, members of which have been involved in numerous projects with the pupils. The School has since 2008 been an education partner of Southbank Sinfonia, the UK's orchestra for young professional musicians. An annual period of residency sees the Southbank Sinfonia prepare a concert alongside the Vaughan's most advanced orchestral players.
You can hear an extract from a recent performance of Mendelssohn's First Piano Concerto (soloist, Dominic Doutney, 3rd Form).
The Big Band, is the School's busiest instrumental ensemble with a repertoire ranging from Glen Miller to Gordon Goodwin and beyond. The Band has performed at numerous functions in and around London, including at the Barbican Concert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and The Queen Elizabeth Hall and reached the final of the National Festival of Music for Youth on six occasions, most recently in 2012 where it was commended for its performance. The Band played as part of the School Proms in October 2010 at the Royal Albert Hall and in March 2011 gave a concert at the world famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. The Band has toured in Paris (1999), Barcelona (2001), Holland (2003), the USA (2006) and Hong Kong (2013). Regular performers at the famous Bull's Head, Barnes, London's oldest jazz venue, the Band has also performed at the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival, the Thames Festival and at all of London's major concert halls.
At the Vaughan's Gala Concert in October 2002 the Band accompanied internationally renowned jazz singer Salena Jones and has also worked with American jazz giant Bob Mintzer on a chart commissioned from him by the Band. In 2009 the Band was very fortunate to work with saxophonist Jason Yarde, performing with him at St John’s, Smith Square. In March 2013 the Band worked with jazz legend Arturo Sandoval when he visited the School for a workshop. The Band has recorded two CDs,The Heat's On and Moment's Notice. These recordings are available from the School Shop.
The School enters pupils for Practical and Theory Examinations using the ABRSM and Trinity examination boards. More than 300 exams were passed in the last academic year.
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