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Music@Ardingly 2014/15 Season


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Music@Ardingly 2015/16 Season

Welcome to the seventh season of Music@Ardingly. We are pleased to announce four top-class performances, including both new artists and return visits by old favourites.

Click here for the 2015 - 2016 brochure.

All the events are open to Ardingly pupils, parents, staff and the general public. Single concert tickets are available, or a substantial saving can be made by purchasing a season ticket.

This year we have introduced an online ticketing service. Please follow this link to purchase tickets.

Please contact or phone 01444 893230 for more details.

The Sixteen

The Choral Pilgrimage 2015: Flight of Angels

Ardingly College

Tuesday 30 June 2015, 7.30pm

Doors open at 7pm

Tickets: £20 / 25 (on sale from Monday 19th January 2015)

Photo: Arnaud Stephenson

In 2015 The Sixteen takes a trip back to 16th-century Spain and more specifically to one of the biggest, richest and most cosmopolitan cities on earth - Seville. It was during this Spanish 'golden age' when arts and culture flourished, that Francisco Guerrero and Alonso Lobo made their mark.

Between them these two composers capture an astonishing variety of moods within their music, from ecstasy and joy to despair, longing and devotional stillness.


The Sixteen

Eamonn Dougan : conductor

Concert programme

  • Guerrero Duo Seraphim
  • A. Lobo Kyrie from Missa Maria Magdalene
  • A. Lobo Libera me
  • Guerrero Gloria from Missa Surge propera
  • Guerrero Laudate Dominum
  • Guerrero Maria Magdalene


  • Guerrero Credo from Missa de la batalla escoutez
  • Guerrero Vexilla Regis
  • A. Lobo Ave Regina coelorum
  • A. Lobo Ave Maria
  • A. Lobo Versa est in luctum
  • Guerrero Agnus Dei I and II from Missa Congratulamini mihi

Social Media links

Twitter - @TheSixteen

Facebook -

Rose Wind Trio review

The Thorn sisters, Becky (clarinet), Suzie (oboe) and Tammy (bassoon) formed the Rose Trio in 2006 and have been making a name for themselves ever since, winning numerous prizes and performing at prestigious venues such as The Royal Albert Hall and the Wigmore Hall. They can now add Ardingly College to their portfolio of appearances after a delightful evening concert in the Under.

The concert opened with a very stylish account of the Allegro from Beethoven's Grand Trio in C, op. 87. As you'd expect, the three sisters have a great musical understanding of each other and produced a highly polished rendition. This was followed by Serenade by Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas, a piece originally for a larger ensemble but arranged – very successfully – for clarinet, oboe and bassoon by the Thorn sisters. This was a quirky work which showcased the capabilities of the instruments very effectively, not to mention the virtuosity of the trio. The last piece to feature just the trio was a piece called Stary Brucoun by Czech composer Julius Fucik. The title means 'The Old Grumbler' and the bassoon portrays a bear with a sore head – great fun for the audience, tricky for the bassoonist!

Two thirds of the trio were then joined by pianist Daniel King Smith for Poulenc's Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon. Poulenc had a great fondness for wind instruments and wrote sonatas for all the woodwind family, except the bassoon, but this piece more than makes up for it. The first movement is a sparkling presto, the second is a soft dream described by Poulenc himself as "sweet and melancholic", and the third a brisk rondo with more than a nod to a well-known Beethoven melody. Poulenc's rich and distinctive language was beautifully conveyed and King Smith's playing was authoritative and meticulous.

The second half of the programme featured hornist James Pillai who joined the others for Mozart's Quintet in E flat major, K. 452. Mozart completed this work in 1784 and shortly after wrote to his father revealing "I myself consider it to be the best thing I have written in my life". The work is in three movements and after the opening Largo in which each instrument has the opportunity to shine, each one is then allocated its own brief theme. Mozart's genius is obvious in the construction of the work and there is little surprise that he was pleased with it. The Larghetto is gentle and calm before the thematically rich concluding movement – a 'sonata-rondo' of the kind Mozart used as the finale for many of the piano concertos he was writing at the time – which is crowned by a long cadenza for all five instruments. This is quite simply a magnificent work, and the instrumentalists did a magnificent job in presenting this to a delighted audience.

Max Kenworthy.

Allegri String Quartet

The Allegri String Quartet, Monday 17th November 2014

It was a great pleasure to welcome one of the foremost chamber groups in the country, the Allegri String Quartet, to Ardingly. Celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2013, the Allegri Quartet is the oldest chamber group in Britain.

Following a very informative and useful workshop with some Senior School musicians during the afternoon, the quartet treated a good-sized audience to three chamber works by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Dvořák in an evening concert in the Under.

The first half of the concert featured quartets by two titans of the genre – Beethoven and Shostakovich who wrote sixteen and fifteen quartets respectively. The quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven are highly acclaimed, and Nos. 1-6, Opus 18 are thought to demonstrate his total mastery of the classical string quartet as developed by Haydn and Mozart. No. 5 in A major is very definitely inspired by Beethoven's predecessors and displays many Mozartian characteristics: dancing rhythms, elaborate codas and delicate textures. The quartet play with an immaculate certainty and bring much to the performance with their physical gesticulations – there is a clear, almost telepathic understanding at all times. They are exciting to watch as well as to listen to.

Shostakovich's Quartet in F minor No. 11, Opus 122 has seven movements, played as a continuous whole. It is a much shorter piece than the Beethoven, no less adventurous, but packed full of menace and tragedy. F minor was used by baroque musicians for death and to express great sorrow – this piece is dedicated to the memory of Vasili Pyotrovich Shirinsky, a close friend of Shostakovich. Shostakovich himself was recovering from neurological treatment himself at the time of writing.

The Allegri foursome helpfully played main themes and other musical points of interest to lookout for before the performance. For the second half, the quartet were joined by Ardingly Head of Keyboard, Vicky Yannoula for a performance of Dvořák's Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Opus 81. Composed in 1887, it is generally regarded as one of the masterpieces of the form along with those of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Shostakovich. The work is something of a tour de force that includes some wonderful elements of Czech folk music as well as a dazzling array of intricate passage-work for all players.

The third movement, marked as a 'Furiant', is a fast Bohemian folk dance, and this was performed with real energy and verve – the fortissimo passages were surprisingly powerful and genuinely exciting. This was a thoroughly enjoyable concert and a very well chosen programme.

Max Kenworthy.

Dave Newton Trio with Heather Cairncross review – 25/6/14

Dave Newton is one of the finest jazz pianists in the business – he has been voted the best jazz pianist in the British Jazz Awards 11 times, and has recorded and toured extensively with numerous jazz greats, notably Stacey Kent and Alan Barnes.

As part of Ardingly College Arts Fest 2014, he teamed up with bassist Tom Farmer, drummer Matt Skelton and vocalist Heather Cairncross, whose uniquely versatile voice has allowed her to sing successfully at the highest level internationally in many musical genres. She is a former member of The Swingle Singers, has worked with Stephane Grappelli and Steve Reich, and has appeared at some of the world's top concert venues performing as a member of, and soloist for Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir.

A capacity audience in The Under were treated to a selection of songs primarily from the Great American Songbook, a term used to identify some of the most important and influential American popular songs of the 20th century, such as Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael), Embraceable you (George Gershwin) and Some other time (Leonard Bernstein). The odd standard was also thrown into the mix: a highlight for me was Don't get around much anymore which was played as a jazz waltz – an unusual but extremely successful interpretation.

Newton oozes sophistication at the keyboard and the resources at his disposal are seemingly limitless – ideas pour from his fingers effortlessly. His lightness of touch is so refreshing and even the most dazzling passagework is made to sound easy. However, it's his excellent judgement where often 'less is more' that makes him such a standout musician.

Cairncross' voice is so suitable for the genre: her sonorous tone is as clear as a bell and every syllable is so articulate. She achieves incredible control and has the capacity to adjust to any style – we had a delightfully eclectic mix of ballads, fast latin, rumba and swing numbers. Her warm interaction with the audience was perfectly pitched.

There is a clear understanding between Newton and Cairncross and they complement each other perfectly – the empathy between the pair is so natural and makes for a very cohesive musical union. Having the bass and drums was an added luxury and both Tom Farmer and Matt Skelton supported brilliantly.

This was a world class jazz performance and I can't wait to hear them again.

Max Kenworthy

Stephen Hough Review – 29th April 2014

Stephen Hough is without doubt an A-list celebrity of the musical world – he is one of the world's leading concert pianists and also excels as a writer, painter and composer. It was therefore a very exciting prospect and a huge privilege to welcome him to Ardingly College to give a concert as part of his very busy international schedule.

His programme was predominantly a Romantic selection – including works by Brahms, Debussy and Schumann – but also featured his own Piano Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso). Mr. Hough's cool, composed entrance was greeted by rapturous applause from a capacity audience, and his playing from the outset was as crisp and clean cut as his appearance (an all black tunic evoking an image not unlike a Bond villain).

The first half of the concert included Brahms' Seven Fantasias Op. 116, which features energetic Capriccios and reflective Intermezzos, each of which is in a three-part form; followed by Debussy's Estampes (meaning "engravings" or "prints"), a set of three brief pieces: Pagodes (Pagodas), La soirée dans Grenade (Soirée in Grenada) and Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the rain). Mr. Hough is a musical architect and such an intellectual performer that one can hear every musical line and nuance very clearly.

The second half opened with his Piano Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso) – an extraordinary piece that was quite mesmerising. The piece is through-composed and in ABA form, featuring three musical ideas: one based on sharps (brightness), one based on flats (darkness), and one based on naturals (a kind of blank irrationality). His own programme notes were useful in interpreting the work, but there were definite hints of Messiaen, Brahms and even some jazz harmony here – Hough's imaginative and cerebral creativity, together with his clever use of the soft pedal (even in forte passages), made for a very thought-provoking and unique sound world. Schumann's Carnaval followed – a series of 21 tableaux, a masked ball in which one character after another takes centre-stage. This was a masterful demonstration of how to showcase not only his own incredible skill and virtuosity, but also the qualities and subtleties of the instrument. Hough can play with humour, with aggression and bravado, but it is his wonderful ability to play so softly and so sensitively that particularly tickled my aural senses.

After a torrent of applause and two brief encores, the great man slipped away as stealthily as he came. A sensational concert!

Max Kenworthy

 Britten Centenary Concert, Thursday 21st November


"A fantastic concert, wonderfully well performed" Lord Michael Berkeley


On the eve of his 100th birthday, 140 Ardingly students, VOCES8 and the LPO's Foyle Future Firsts musicians joined forces for a wonderful celebration of Benjamin Britten's life and music. Britten is one of England's greatest composers and a central figure of twentieth century music, and it was particularly appropriate that the concert was introduced by Lord Michael Berkeley, the renowned composer and broadcaster and Britten's godson. The programme was carefully designed to give a cross section of Britten's output, including his official 'opus 1', the Sinfonietta, and his choral masterpiece Rejoice in the Lamb.


Michael Berkeley's own compositions, Seven and  Listen, Listen O My Child,  written for the recent Enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, were also performed and the composer said he loved hearing the choir performing the anthem again in the beautiful setting of Ardingly Chapel.


Lord Berkeley went on to say: "It was wonderful to see these young people perform tonight's music, even the difficult parts, with such spirit and joy."



Music@Ardingly Concert Series Review

Mark Stone and Sholto Kynoch

Baritone Mark Stone and his accompanist Sholto Kynoch presented a delicious programme of English songs featuring cycles by three of the finest composers of the idiom: George Butterworth, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gerald Finzi.

The recital opened with six songs from 'A Shropshire Lad' (taken from eleven settings that Butterworth put to music from a total of sixty-three poems by A. E. Housman). Whilst not directly based on particular folk songs, the music is heavily folk-influenced and Mark Stone captured the style beautifully with his sonorous tones.

The second set of songs comes from the Grandfather of English song, Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was close friends with Butterworth. Written between 1901 and 1904, the Songs of Travel represent Vaughan Williams' first major foray into song-writing and are based on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson of Treasure Island fame. Vaughan Williams was also heavily influenced by folk music and again this is evident in these songs. Mark Stone moved effortlessly between the varying moods of each song and maintained an excellent connection with his audience. The opening song of this cycle The Vagabond was performed by an Ardingly student at a masterclass taken by Stone the previous evening at the College.

After the interval we heard one of six song cycles by Gerald Finzi based on poems by Thomas Hardy: Earth, and air, and rain. Finzi was also friends with Vaughan Williams and this link proved to be an important influence on the next generation of song composers. Finzi's outlook on life was quite bleak and this is evident in his much of his music. However, his musical language is quite different to Butterworth and Vaughan Williams making use of jazzier and more adventurous harmonies. A highlight of this cycle was Rollicum-Rorum which demonstrated the intricate interplay between singer and accompanist perfectly. Mark Stone's interesting and good-humoured introductions were a very useful addition to the song texts in the programme.

Two Tom Lehrer songs as encores concluded a delightful concert in a suitably light-hearted fashion.

Max Kenworthy.


Opening Concert:  VOCES8   Ardingly College Chapel, Tuesday 18th September

Ardingly’s Musicians in Residence, VOCES8, once again launched the Music@Ardingly series. The ever-popular a cappella group continue their increasingly successful association with Ardingly and a large audience enjoyed a very varied programme.

The programme was a delightful mix of anthems and motets from the Renaissance (Byrd’s wonderful Sing Joyfully opened the concert) to the twentieth century (Bairstow’s sublime Let all mortal flesh keep silence and Holst’s Nunc Dimittis) and arrangements of popular songs ranging from a traditional spiritual, Tippett’s Go Down Moses, to Queen’s Crazy little thing called love.

A highlight for me was the stunningly simple The Lambby contemporary British composer John Tavener. Here VOCES8 scaled down to VOCES6, and the balance between the parts was perfect. This is a very difficult piece to execute well, but the intonation was spot on and the ensemble perfect.

For the first time in concert, the Senior School Chapel Choir joined VOCES8; a performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, with the support of the organ, added a lovely dimension to the overall programme.

As an encore, VOCES8 performed an arrangement by Jim Clements of Fever, taken from their new Songbook. It was a typically stylish rendition which featured challenging but wonderful harmonies that the octet mastered beautifully.

This wrapped up another thoroughly enjoyable evening of entertainment and we look forward to VOCES8’s return to the Concert Series next year in our Ardingly Arts Festival.


British Isles Music Festival 2014'

Ardingly College Summer School is delighted to be hosting The British Isles Music Festival  again this summer, one of the most enterprising and ambitious master class and chamber music courses in Europe.



Since its inception in 2008, the Music@Ardingly concert series has offered an exciting and ambitious range of concerts featuring artists of the highest calibre in the unique setting of the Ardingly College Chapel.

2008/09 Season

The Gould Piano Trio

The Royal String Quartet


2009/10 Season


The London Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Ensemble

Organ Recital by James Lancelot

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra

2010/11 Season


The Queene’s Concert Baroque Ensemble

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Silent Movie Improvisation - David Briggs (Organ)

The Sixteen

2011/12 Season


The Schumann Letters: A story of love and music in the shadow of madness

The Chichester Cathedral Choir

Emma Johnson, Julian Lloyd Webber and John Lill

2012/13 Season


The Guildhall Jazz Band

English Song Recital – Mark Stone and Sholto Kynoch

The Sixteen

Arts Festival Concert with members of the LPO, VOCES8 and the Combined Choirs of Ardingly College

Click here for a review of Emma Johnson, Julian Lloyd Webber and  John Lill in Concert  at Ardingly College Chapel, as they closed the  Music@Ardingly 2011/12 season.

2013/14 Season


Britten Centenary Concert: LPO Foyle Future First Musicians, VOCES8 and Ardingly Choirs

LPO Chamber Concert

Stephen Hough Piano Recital

Dave Newton Trio and Heather Cairncross

Ardingly College, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 6SQ

Ardingly College is a Limited Company Registered in the UK, No. 3779971 and a Registered Charity No. 1076456 The College is also Member of the Woodard Corporation
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