Meet the recorder soloist set to make history

One of our incredible sixth-form students, Anna, will become the first ever recorder soloist to perform with the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra at The Bridgewater Hall on 6 July.  A panel of professional musicians selected Anna to perform at the prestigious annual event where she will play Concerto Incantato, written by Richard Harvey in 2009. Harvey has composed music for TV and film including the Lion King 2019.

Anna is one of the UK’s up and coming ambassadors for an instrument that has fallen out of favour with musicians. We’ve seen an 80% drop in young people taking up the recorder at Chetham’s in the last ten years, despite its versatility and accessibility.

Chris Orton, Recorder Tutor and European Recorder Teachers Association Chair, is leading the way to initiate projects that he hopes might save the recorder from extinction. He says that Anna offers a glimmer of hope for the instrument: “The recorder is increasingly overlooked by students, and yet it has a rich history and incredible versatility.   As well as making beautiful sounds, it’s an accessible instrument in that it is low-cost, in comparison to other woodwind instruments, and it’s light and easy to carry.

“The recorder first became popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Famous composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for the instrument. Not confined to the classical genre, bands like Led Zeppelin and The Beatles have used the recorder in their songs. More recently, talented musicians like Tali Rubinstein are championing it and the National Youth Recorder Orchestra is an excellent ensemble of young recorder players.

“I’m immensely proud of Anna for being selected to perform with the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra. This is a first-time feat for a young musician, and I hope she will inspire new generations of recorder players and help to save this instrument from extinction.”

Anna began her musical journey as a chorister at Chetham’s aged eight and continued it by taking up the recorder a couple of years later.  She said: “I can’t wait to perform with the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra this summer and show people why I love the recorder. I’m performing a piece that was written in 2009 and it’s encouraging that although the number of professional recorder players is dropping, new works are still being commissioned by celebrated contemporary composers.”

Tom Redmond, Joint Principal at Chetham’s School of Music, passionately believes that every child should be introduced to music at an early age: “The true wonder of music is that it can have a profound effect on quality of life. It should therefore be an important part of the school curriculum and the recorder is a fantastic place to start, but primary schools need more financial support so that all children can unlock the huge benefits of music.”

Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra at The Bridgewater Hall will include performances by several Chetham’s School of Music students and, for many of them, it marks the end of their current musical education before heading off to conservatoires and universities around the world. Conducted by Grant Llewellyn (Chetham’s Alumni 1971-1978), Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra take to The Bridgewater Hall stage on 6 July. Tickets are on sale now:


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