Gifted recorder player crowned Perse Musician of the Year

Perse Musician of the Year champion Alice Shaw with adjudicator Alexis Ffrench

Recorder player Alice Shaw (Year 9) blew away tough competition to win the Perse Musician of the Year title.

She came out on top in the grand final, which was adjudicated by classical soul piano pioneer Alexis Ffrench just ahead of his stunning performance at King Charles III’s Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle.

Alice played The Actor with the Monkey by Isang Yun and Telemann’s Essercizii Musici: Sonata in D minor before demonstrating her dexterity by playing two recorders at once during a performance of Bedford’s Recorder Concerto Movement V.

Besides Alice, the final featured the extremely talented likes of violinist Sakura Fish, singer Andrew Girgis (both Upper Sixth), trumpeter Edward Taylor (Year 10), guitarist Oliver Massey (Year 11) and pianist Jack Fan (Lower Sixth).

They were whittled down from more than 470 submissions to the House Music Marathon competition and qualified for the grand final from individual instrumental/vocal finals during the Lent term.

Alice said: “I’m so pleased to have won. Especially as a recorder player, I think it’s quite an achievement because it’s an instrument that’s often under-rated.

“I’ve heard Sakura play many times before and I’ve been really inspired by her, but it was a real privilege to play with all of these people.”

Reflecting on her choice of programme, Alice said: “The Actor with the Monkey is a contemporary piece written for recorder, but which harks back to Renaissance times.

“The second piece was by Telemann, my favourite Baroque composer. I think his music is wondrous and fantasy-like and it’s very good to play with a pianist.

“With playing two recorders for the Bedford piece, it was only for around 10 bars. They were two melodies that crossed and I think for the composer it was more a clever way to swap over instruments!”

Highly commended were Oliver, with a rocking rendition of Guns ’n’ Roses’ heavy metal classic Nightrain followed by performances of three of his own songs – One Track Mind, Rockstar and Never Say Never, and Sakura, who played a traditional Japanese folk song bearing her name, Sicilienne by von Paradis and Brahms’ Sonatensatz in C minor.

Edward performed a varied programme of pieces by Haydn, Rafael Mendez and Harry James and Andrew showcased his powerful baritone with a range of works from John Dowland’s Flow My Tears to Some Enchanted Evening from Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, while Jack provided excellent recitals of works by Chopin and Liszt.

Perse Director of Music Ben Wingfield said: “Alexis was bowled over by the talent of the six musicians and commended both the musical personalities each performer brought to the music they chose, and also the clear evidence of ‘hours and hours’ of practice that had gone into honing their recitals.”


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