Sherborne School Strings' Festival

A masterclass-style Strings' Festival was organised by Head of Strings, Sarah Drury, for some members of the Strings' Department to spend a Sunday afternoon being coached by Abigail Dance – lead violinist of the London Chamber Academy Orchestra.

Individual performances from the recent Strings' Recital in Cheap Street Church were expertly and encouragingly coached by Abigail, who found strong musical content in all of them and was able further to shape and enhance them such that Matthew Cann (L6e–violin), Freddie Knott (L6m–cello), Jamie Hewitt (L6a–violin) and Finnbar Blakey (L6a–cello) felt that their own interpretation of the repertoire, and in some cases their technique, had been greatly enhanced in a hard-working yet relaxed atmosphere.

Especially interesting was the way in which Abigail Dance worked with the Piano Trio – Ally Collins (L6f–piano), Matthew Cann and Finnbar Blakey – in Arensky’s Piano Trio in D minor, Op 32.  Here was evidence of really well worked ensemble playing which benefited from a different insight into the repertoire, allowing the three pupils fully to think about the music that they were playing.  Similarly, the String Trio – Jacky Zheng (4e–violin), Alex Colville (4m–violin) and James Pyman (5e–cello) – was rehearsed in two movements of Purcell’s Golden Sonata until some new thought and direction had been given to the performance.

The afternoon was enjoyed by all participants who take forward their further study of solo and ensemble performances to end-of-term concerts and, in some cases, ABRSM grade examinations.

By James Henderson
Director of Music