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Music is the beating heart of this remarkable school. Christ’s Hospital is perhaps the only school in the world where every student hears live music played or sung by their peers on six days a week.
We are very proud of our musical tradition, and are constantly looking to create new, inspiring learning opportunities for our students.
Students of every age, ability and experience are encouraged to begin or continue their musical studies at Christ’s Hospital, and over 600 lessons are taught each week by our superb staff.
The school subsidises instrumental lessons and can provide instruments and sheet music free of charge. We believe so strongly in the educational and social benefits of music that we do all we can to enable any student who wishes to do so to become involved, irrespective of previous experience or means.
This is a singing school. Congregational singing in Chapel is strong, and every member of the school takes part in the annual House Singing Competition. There are also many opportunities for specialised group singing.
The Chapel Choir, made up of over a tenth of the school, is the most high-profile vocal ensemble, singing at the weekly Sunday Chapel service.
The most senior and experienced singers are invited to audition for the Schola Cantorum, a chamber choir of around 25 students. We have a fantastic Gospel Choir, led by students, who perform regularly in Chapel and at various school events, such as the annual Jazz Night.
There are many other choirs, auditioned and open, for various year groups, including small ad hoc consorts for the weekly services of Compline and Evensong.
For those who wish to have singing lessons, we have five singing teachers, three classical specialists, a jazz and pop specialist, and one with expertise in both.
We are always proud when students continue to sing at university and college. In recent years, students have won choral scholarships at Oxford, Cambridge, London, and elsewhere.
Orchestral & Chamber Music
The most advanced musicians in the school are selected for the Symphony Orchestra, which gives two major performances in the year.
Every Lent Term, we welcome players from our Professional Orchestra-in-Partnership, the world-renowned English Chamber Orchestra (ECO). These experienced and inspiring musicians give one-to-one lessons and lead workshop sessions in preparation for the Angus Ross Gala Concert at the end of term. This concert includes concertos played by Grecians and a major choral work. In the concert, our students have the benefit of playing side-by-side with our ECO guests, giving them a taste of life as a pro musician.
We also run a Chamber Orchestra (strings) and an Intermediate Orchestra for Second Form, Third Form, and LE students (Years 7-9).
Smaller string, wind and brass groups run throughout the year. We feel working in chamber music groups is an incredibly important part of every instrumentalist’s training, and often these groups are student-led. There is an annual concert dedicated to chamber music.
Concert Band & Big Band
The Concert Band offers opportunities for our students to gain wider experience of ensemble playing in many different genres, as it features woodwind, brass, percussion, keyboards and, during our must adventurous undertakings, string instruments. Performances take place throughout the year, most notably a dedicated concert featuring the Concert Band and junior bands every February.
The CH Big Band performs an eclectic mix of music from the from 1930s to the present day. This includes compositions and repertoire from Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman as well as more modern charts from The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and pop music primarily for our vocalists.
Organs & Organists
We have an enthusiastic and relatively large cohort of student organists. Lessons are offered free of charge to interested students; a minimum of Grade 5 piano is expected. Students are prepared for ABRSM exams and university scholarships, and have many opportunities to practise, play in concerts, or participate in the round of weekly Chapel services. Several students have attended Oundle for Organists courses in recent years.
We are lucky to have five pipe organs on site, ranging from a single-manual instrument (Flight & Robson, 1826) to the mighty 5-manual (Rushworth & Dreaper, 1931, with a major rebuild by Manders in 2022-3) in Chapel, complete with the famous West End tubas. Lessons mostly take place upon one of our fine mechanical action instruments: a ‘Father’ Willis of 1878 in the Dining Hall, and an organ built by Saxon Aldred in 1981 in the Dominions Library.
Meet our students
Molly (LH-B / Gr-E, 2013-20) – French Horn, Voice, Piano
Mutsuki (Col-B / Gr-W, 2019-21) – Violin, Piano
Adrian (Mid-A / Gr-W, 2016-21) – Flute, Piccolo, Voice
Max (La-B / Gr-E, 2014-21) – Clarinet, Piano, Jazz Piano
Meet the teachers
James Bartlett MA (Cantab) – Director of Music
Ed Jones MA (Oxon) – Assistant Director of Music (Academic)
Verity Bramson MA, MA (Cantab) PGDip – Head of Singing
Tim Carter BMus LRSM AMusTCL – Band Director & Head of Woodwind and Percussion
Robert Thompson MM BMus – Assistant Director of Music (Performance) & Head of Keyboard
Emily Marsden BMus MA – Head of Strings
Steve Titchener BA MMus – Head of Brass
Jonathan Lee MA (cantab.) – School Organist
German Song Masterclass
Just before half term, we welcomed tenor Phillip Brown to give a masterclass in German song to some of our senior singers.
Museum Poetry Session
The museum hosted a successful poetry session for Second Form (Year 7) English recently. Their task was to write …
German Song Masterclass
On 9 February, we welcomed tenor Phillip Brown to give a masterclass in German song to some of our senior singers. An expe…
Chinese New Year
On Saturday 3 February we welcomed in the Chinese New Year with an excellent evening of celebrations, including performances of music, poetry, and dance by a well-known group,…