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Author Archives: alexknight

  1. Beautiful and poignant memorial plans approved

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    Today, plans were approved for a memorial to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing attack. The memorial, called The Glade of Light, will be located outside Chetham’s, in the area between our land and Manchester Cathedral.

    Chetham’s Joint Principals, Nicola Smith and Tom Redmond, said:

    “The Glade of Light is a beautiful, poignant memorial to the victims of 22 May 2017. We welcome the memorial’s approval today.

    “The Manchester Arena bombing, which took place just metres away from our busy boarding school, is something none of us in the Chetham’s community will ever forget. Once again, we are thinking of the victims and their families today.

    “Thank you to our partners and friends at Manchester City Council – with whom we have worked closely on the finer details of the planning scheme – for their collaborative approach to the memorial design, something which is so important to every one of us in the city.”

  2. Autumn-Winter Term Concert released on YouTube

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    A bit of social distancing isn’t enough to stop the music at Chetham’s!

    A concert featuring performances from our autumn-winter term has been released on the Chetham’s YouTube channel, to celebrate the end of a truly unique term.

    Featuring remarkable pieces from socially distanced musicians, ensembles and chamber groups across the school – specially recorded during one week of concerts in October’s Music Course – the concert is now being broadcast for the first time.


    Chetham's Autumn-Winter Term Concert, 2020

  3. The Stoller Hall and Chetham’s Library receive Culture Recovery Fund grants

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    The Stoller Hall and Chetham’s Library have been awarded £150,000 and £66,000 respectively, as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

    The Stoller Hall and Chetham’s Library are among 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

    The Stoller Hall – at Chetham’s School of Music – opened in 2017 and has been hailed by critics as the UK’s finest music venue acoustically for classical chamber music.

    The concert venue, which also hosts leading folk, jazz and contemporary music performers, has been closed to audiences since March. The £150,000 fund will enable the venue to plan a full Spring 2021 programme of live events, welcoming audiences back to the venue.

    The Stoller Hall is launching a programme of live stream online concerts from the venue this Autumn as part of a new Broadcast series. The Culture Recovery Fund will enable the venue to programme further live stream concerts for audiences, keeping the music alive for audiences and performers while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

    The funding also allows the venue to support the wider music industry by remaining open as a world-class recording and rehearsal space for artists.

    Fran Healey, General Manager of The Stoller Hall, said:

    “After months of uncertainty, we are overjoyed today. This funding will help protect our special venue, secure the jobs of the core team and help us to play our part in the culture sector’s long road to recovery. As a live music venue in the heart of one of the UK’s biggest cities, we’re a vital part of an ecosystem which includes musicians and concert audiences. We exist together, or not at all.

    “This funding will help us to programme socially distanced events and live stream concerts to keep the music alive in the short term, prepare for our full relaunch as soon as it is safe to do so, and solidify our future as one of the greatest classical chamber music concert halls in the UK.

    “Our financial struggle doesn’t end here. Until we resume full scale public events there is still a shortfall from ticket sales that we need to fill, but this funding is a major boost to our survival.”

    Chetham’s Library – located on the same Chetham’s site as The Stoller Hall – is Manchester’s oldest building, dating back to 1421, and a registered museum. Next year will mark the 600th anniversary of the medieval building’s construction. It is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.

    The lifeline £66,000 funding will allow the specialist team to continue to conserve Chetham’s Library’s priceless collections and medieval buildings for future generations, while planning a new public programme once tours are able to resume again.

    Fergus Wilde, Chetham’s Librarian, said:

    “This announcement comes as a huge relief – and also an important turning point. With no public tours or reading room access since March, this has been the longest period of public closure in Chetham’s Library’s history. But we can now begin to plan for the future. This funding will help us develop our new public programme as we plan to welcome back visitors, once it is safe to do so. We can also continue to provide vital, specialist care for our irreplaceable collection and our historic site, conserving our priceless heritage for future generations.”

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

    “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

    “These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

    Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

    “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

  4. Congratulations GCSE students!

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    Congratulations to Chetham’s GCSE students!

    This results day, 97.5% of grades were awarded A*-C, with 58.2% of grades at A*/A.

    The figures represent an outstanding collective result and some equally outstanding individual achievements with students taking a number of qualifications early.

    Alun Jones, Principal, said: “We offer all our public examination students every congratulations.

    “I also reiterate my strong belief that statistics, great as they are, tell only a fraction of the Chets story – our students have so much to celebrate and be proud of musically, academically and personally each and every day.

    “Well done everyone.”

    2020 GCSE results are based on ‘Centre Assessed Grades’ (CAGs), rather than Ofqual’s standardised grades using an algorithm.

    Chetham’s grades are in line with our school’s performance historically and are a terrific reflection of Chetham’s students’ “Excellent” independent study skills, as acknowledged by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (ISI) in our last inspection.


  5. Watch: Chetham’s students collaborate to celebrate 40 years of specialist music education

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    To mark the 40th anniversary of the government’s Music and Dance Scheme (MDS), young musicians from the UK’s five specialist music schools are set to release the results of an unprecedented collaboration, written and performed during lockdown.

    A new virtual orchestra brings together around 80 young musicians – aged 15 to 18 – who currently study at the UK’s five specialist music schools: Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, The Purcell School in Hertfordshire, Wells Cathedral Music School in Somerset and the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey.

    This is the first time that five separate orchestras, located hundreds of miles apart, have been able to collaborate so successfully, and on such a large scale. Lockdown has not stopped these exceptionally creative young performers from creating something special.

    The pupils recorded their own individual parts of a new piece, specially written for them by Gwilym Simcock, who has been critically acclaimed at home and abroad as one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers working in Europe today. He has toured extensively with the cream of British and international jazz artists; and he has performed with orchestras, choirs, big bands, dancers, and with musicians from diverse backgrounds including the classical, jazz, folk and rock traditions. His debut album “Perception” was nominated for Best Album in the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 and his 2011 album “Good Days At Schloss Elmau” was one of the twelve nominees for the Mercury Music Prize.

    Established in 1981, the UK government’s Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) allows talented young performers to fulfil their potential, regardless of their financial background, by funding world-class specialist training at one of the UK’s famous five specialist music schools. The scheme has provided a vital for many of the country‘s finest classical musicians, such as Martin Bartlett, Nicola Benedetti, Jacob Collier and Steven Osborne.

    Composer Gwilym Simcock is himself one of many acclaimed musical graduates from the MDS funded system, having studied at Chetham’s School of Music.

    His new piece of music, called Union Overture and Celebration, was specially composed for this joint project. The piece will be broadcast for the first time at 10am on Wednesday 19 August, simultaneously launching on the YouTube channels for all five of the specialist schools:



    Union Overture and Celebration, composed by Gwilym Simcock, performed by Chetham's students alongside young musicians from the UK's other leading music schools.


    For more information visit:


    Gwilym Simcock said:

    “Union Overture was an exciting project for me, that drew upon the unique set of skills that students learn at the specialist music schools in the UK. The piece was written in two weeks, and then the students had just two weeks to learn and record their parts, before I combined them together into the finished recording. The skills required for the musicians to do this are ones that they’ll need for the rest of their careers in music, and there really aren’t any better places in the world than these fantastic musical institutions here in the U.K. for them to learn their trade in such depth and to such a high standard. I really hope that audiences enjoy the piece, and the hard work all these students have put in to make it possible.”


    A spokesperson for the five MDS schools said:

    “The UK’s five specialist music schools all have celebrated youth orchestras, but never before have we collaborated together like this. Now is a special moment, as we join forces and begin to mark the 40th anniversary of the UK government’s MDS funding. This support has been vital to so many of our finest classical musicians. We must now do even more to widen this access and we hope new performances like this will start to raise broader awareness of the scheme.” 

  6. A Level Results: Well Done Chetham’s Students!

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    UPDATE: Monday 17 August

    Following the Government’s decision to award students their Centre Assessed Grades, we are delighted to confirm that Chetham’s wonderful A Level students have now achieved 82.5% A*-B, rather than the 73.4% A*-B reported last week. A special congratulations to all those students whose grades are affected.

    (Please note that no grades will be downgraded as a result of this change.)

    Thursday 13 August:

    Chetham’s A Level results are proof of an outstanding response – by students and teachers alike – to the unprecedented Covid-19 challenge this year, according to Principal Alun Jones.

    Chetham’s students were awarded a 100% A Level pass rate, with 73.4% of the grades at A*-B.

    Alun Jones, Principal, said:

    “Regardless of the monumental challenges we have faced together this year, our students have continued to flourish academically, as well as musically.

    “Every year, Chetham’s students’ impress us with their ability to juggle the demands of their world-class musical education alongside their academic studies – to achieve some of the best academic performance levels in the country. This year is no different.

    “We congratulate each and every one of them for their results.

    “Thank you also to our incredible team of staff, who work tirelessly in normal times, but since March have also delivered thousands of hours of bespoke remote learning for our students.

    “The pass rate statistics validate that brilliant effort, but they tell only part of the Chetham’s story. Our university candidates have chosen to read courses ranging from theatre production at Bristol Old Vic and Music Production at LIPA, to Forensics, Biosciences and Medicine at Peterhouse Cambridge. As ever we have a number of students heading off to read Academic Music at fabulous universitites, including Oxbridge, RHUL, KCL, and York. We are extremely proud of every student and we wish them the very best for the future!”

    As public examinations were cancelled this year due to the pandemic, our students’ results are based on ‘calculated grades’.

    ‘Centre assessed grades’ for each student’s subjects are based on evidence of performance, and departmental assembled evidence.

    The Examination Boards then standardised all grades using a statistical model developed with Ofqual which took account of previous national results in each subject, the prior attainment of our students this year compared to previous years and our school’s results in each specific subject in recent years.

  7. Lunchtime Concert Series Finale!

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    All summer, our amazing young musicians have been performing at home, creating music for so many to enjoy remotely during lockdown.

    Congratulations – and thank you – to every one of them.
    Thousands of people have watched the online concerts. Thank you to everyone who has tuned in. We hope you enjoyed them!
    The final lunchtime concert of this very special online series will premier on Chetham’s YouTube on Friday 7 August, from 1.30pm.
    Chetham’s life resumes in September. We can’t wait.
  8. New: Vocal Concert streaming on YouTube

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    Audiences will hear some of the best young choral voices in the UK, as part of Chetham’s final Vocal Concert of the school year.

    During lockdown, Chetham’s vocal and choral students have made a virtue of their isolation, by fine tuning their performances in unaccompanied song.

    The concert features a range of folk and a cappella songs, as well as accompanied pieces.

    Premiering on Chetham’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21 July, the concert will stay live for audiences to view over the summer.

    The free online concert is part of the Chetham’s evening ‘leavers’ concert series, streaming every Tuesday and Wednesday evening in July.

    Find out about vocal and choral studies at Chetham’s here. 

    Watch the concert:

    Chetham's Vocal Concert



    SCHUMANN – Er der Herrlichste von Allen

    Isobel – voice

    Martyn Parkes – piano


    HANDEL – He, who for Atlas

    Elizabeth – voice

    Gemma Webster – piano


    E. RUBBRA – Rune of Hospitality

    Lucy – voice


    L. BERNSTEIN – So Pretty

    Joseph – voice


    MOZART – Porgi, Amor

    Erin – voice

    Elena Nalimova – piano


    Emily HAZRATI – The Sick Rose

    Zachary – voice

    Madeleine – piano


    Stephen WILKINSON – What It Is

    Kristen – voice

    Traditional – Y Deryn Pur

    Erin – voice


    HANDEL – Hence, Iris, Hence Away

    Lucy – voice

    Martyn Parkes – piano

    Traditional – The Loom

    Elizabeth – voice


    Louis ENRIGHT – Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

    Zachary – voice


    G. FAURÉ – Les Berceaux

    Kristen – voice

    Nick Oliver – piano

    Traditional – The Oak and the Ash

    Isobel – voice


    Jonathan DOVE – O Swallow, Swallow

    Joseph – voice

    Madeleine – piano

  9. Lunchtime Concert: A Celebration of Benjamin Britten

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    This week, we celebrate the great British composer Benjamin Britten, by dedicating our Friday lunchtime concert to his incredible work: Six Metamorphoses after Ovid.

    Each week, our online lunchtime concerts showcase the work of our young Chetham’s musicians, who have been learning remotely throughout lockdown.

    This week, our students perform a piece of programme music for solo oboe, which was written by Britten in 1951. It was inspired by a poem by Latin poet Ovid, and each musical piece represents a character from Roman mythology.

    Watch live, this Friday at 1.30pm, on the Chetham’s YouTube channel.


  10. Evening Concert Series: online premieres

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    Join us this July, for a series of evening concerts – streaming online on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings – performed by our most talented young musicians.

    Chetham’s is the UK’s leading school for developing young musicians. Our students are the future of the music industry, and go on to join the best conservatoires and orchestras in the world. At the end of a remarkable final term of the school year, these leavers concerts celebrate the achievements of our graduating musicians.

    The series begins with a special concert from our pianists on Tuesday 14 July, followed by an evening of work by our own Chetham’s composers on Wednesday 15 July.

    In the following two weeks, concerts will showcase our first study vocal, brass, string and jazz students. Each concert has been performed and recorded remotely by our social distanced young musicians.

    The concerts will premiere on our Chetham’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm, every Tuesday and Wednesday, from 14 – 29 July.

    Watch via our YouTube Playlist:

    Chetham's Evening Leavers Concerts: YouTube Playlist