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Felsted’s Musician of the Year secures an offer to study at top conservatoire

By May 14, 2024No Comments

17-year-old pianist Kaylea C has two reasons to celebrate – not only has the Upper Sixth pupil at Felsted School in north Essex secured a place to study music at her first-choice conservatoire, but she has also been named the school’s Musician of the Year thanks to a spellbinding performance of Liszt’s ‘Sposalizio’.  

82 students aged 13 to 18 entered the school’s Musician of the Year Competition with performances throughout the day on a variety of instruments. This year’s adjudicator was James Cairns, Director of Music at HRS and winner of the Homerton College Cambridge Music Prize in 2023. The winner of each instrumental category had the opportunity to perform again in the Finalists’ Concert to compete for the overall prize of ‘Felsted Musician of the Year’.  

“It was a truly enjoyable day of music,” said James, “and I was hugely impressed by the quality of the pupils’ musicianship and the performance skills on display. The standard of playing was exceptionally high and the breadth of styles, songs performed in different languages highlighted the diverse provision and rich programme of study Felsted offers its students”

Winner Kaylea has been playing the piano since the age of seven, and has received two offers to study for a BMus in Piano Performance when she leaves the school this summer, including a place at her first choice, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, on a partial scholarship.

“My goals for the future are to develop my skills in solo performance and to take part in international competitions,” said Kaylea. “I would also like to become a collaborative pianist and form my own chamber group. One of my interests is in musical theatre and I am currently part of National Youth Music Theatre as a musician and I also aim to work with pit bands/orchestras in the West End theatres and would like to pursue a career as a musical director.”   Her fellow Upper Sixth Former Tom W has also been offered a partial scholarship to Trinity Laban, which was his first choice, and has ambitions to be a performing musician in future, whether in an orchestra, chamber group, West End pit band or solo.
Both Kaylea and Tom have led busy, active musical careers during their time at Felsted. Kaylea is leader of the School Orchestra, sings in the Chapel Choir, is part of chamber groups at school and has been a musician in the pit bands for Felsted productions including ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Oliver!’, while Tom is a member of Felsted’s Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Band.  

Felsted’s Director of Music, William Warns commented; “I’m immensely proud of both Kaylea’s and Tom’s outstanding achievements,” he continued “Following their musical journeys during their time with us here at Felsted has been a joy. Kaylea is a thoroughly deserving winner of this year’s Felsted Musician of the Year Competition with her breathtaking performance. Their passion for music is infectious and their talent and dedication to musical excellence is a real source of inspiration for all.”

Two-thirds of pupils at Felsted learn at least one musical instrument and the school has formal and informal choirs for children of all ages. The school partners with London conservatoire Junior Guildhall to offer international standard tuition in percussion, which takes place in the school’s professional-standard on-campus music school.

A year-round calendar of concerts, recitals and musical productions provide opportunities for pupils to practise performing in front of a live audience. A highlight of the year is Felsted’s Swing Into Spring extravaganza, which involves all of the school’s young musicians from Years 5 to 13 in a lively evening of music and song. The recent edition featured music from film and television.  

Felsted offers its pupils an abundance of co-curricular opportunities to balance their academic careers; from Journalism, CCF and Duke of Edinburgh to Cookery, Debating and Creative Writing and many more besides. Felsted pupils are encouraged to develop as well-rounded individuals with wide interests and passions to take forward into their adult lives and make a positive difference in the world. “You won’t find many schools with a longer list of extracurricular options,” commented The Good Schools Guide. “There’s a great mix of opportunities in things such as music and sport – children have time to develop interests that they can take on with them later”.