Chetham’s Woodwind Department is a dynamic and thriving place for talented young players, with around fifty students following a comprehensive and challenging programme of study. They are taught by some of the country’s finest woodwind players, including members of Manchester’s three orchestras, and receive intensive preparation for higher education and the music industry beyond.
Students enjoy weekly instrumental lessons alongside technique and performance classes where they consider stagecraft and musical interpretation. Double-reed students also attend reed making classes, and many students participate in baroque ensembles who perform regularly using period instruments in the School’s 600-year old Baronial Hall and at Greenwich Early Music Festival in London.
“The woodwind department is so caring, friendly and supportive. I’ve had so many exciting performing opportunities and I’m really pleased how much my playing has improved in just three years” – Jessica, oboe, Year 8
Chamber music is central to the woodwind curriculum at Chetham’s, and students perform in ensembles ranging from trios to saxophone choirs, and collaborate frequently with players from other departments. Students perform regularly as soloists in daily Lunchtime Concerts and performances outside school, and every student is assigned an individual accompanist with whom to build their solo performance skills. They also play a vital part in performances by the School’s two orchestras and Big Bands.
The inaugural BBC Young Jazz Musician competition was won in 2014 by Chetham’s saxophonist Alexander Bone, whilst other alumni include Adam Walker, principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, and performers in orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Most recently, Chetham’s flautist Sofía Patterson-Gutiérrez reached the Grand Final of BBC Young Musician 2022.
Regular masterclasses and recitals by leading artists visiting the School encourage students to challenge their own playing, explore new performance styles and to aim consistently for creativity, communication and overall excellence.