Historical performance equips students with the skills to create informed interpretations of historical music. Through historical performance, students learn to make stylistic choices in their performances of repertoire from a broad range of genres, to develop a critical ear, and a sense of sophisticated artistry.
Pupils from across the school engage with historical performance through ensemble playing with our team of early-music specialists. They also have the opportunity to begin exploring period instruments through the Baroque Flute, Recorder, Harpsichord, Viola da Gamba, and through the use of Baroque Bows.
Recorder players at Chetham’s are fully integrated into the wider woodwind department, performing in woodwind classes and concerts, and taking part in chamber music across the departments for strings, keyboard, percussion, and vocal. Within the recorder department, players perform in a recorder consort, using our wonderful handmade set of Renaissance consort instruments made by master maker Tom Prescott. They also have access to Yamaha custom tenor, basset, great bass recorders at A=440, and baroque pitch instruments at A=415.
Students develop a sound technique by exploring repertoire from the 12th century to the 21st and working annually with composition students to generate new repertoire. There is also the possibility to learn how to play with live electronics and software such as max/MSP. Visiting masterclasses take place annually, and recent visitors include Dorothee Oberlinger, Anna Stegmann, Annabel Knight, Pamela Thorby, and Tabea Debus, to name a few.
Chetham’s Early Music Ensemble will perform at the London Early Music Festival on 11 November. The ensemble is formed of students and staff from Chetham’s and they have become regular performers at the London International Festival of Early Music in recent years. This year’s concert will include J.S. Bach’s astonishing Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 featuring Gabriella Jones as soloist, alongside other colourful works of chamber music for recorder, strings and harpsichord.