London Concert Day-Trip

December 12th 2010

The term was brought to a close with a wonderful short tour to London to attend an afternoon orchestral concert at the Royal Festival Hall given by the Philharmonia Orchestra.  Nine students and three adult supervisors took part in this event, which was sponsored by the Jersey Arts Trust. 

Following a bleary-eyed 6am meet at Jersey Airport, the flight and train to London was over in no time at all, and by 9.30am we were in central London making our way to the Southbank Centre.  The route walking from Victoria Station also presented the opportunity to visit a few key landmarks, firstly Westminster Cathedral:

Wesminster Cathedral

The sunny walk also continued onwards past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben:

Big Ben

The short walk along the Thames led through the large Christmas Market on the south bank, and finally to the destination of the Southbank Centre.  Free time followed for a chance to explore this vast facility, housing three concert halls and numerous musical and artistic shops.  After a picnic lunch, and with a couple of hours to spare before the start of the concert, we walked further along the river to visit the Tate Modern, a chance to experience some highly unusual modern works of art:

Tate Modern

Upon returning to the Southbank Centre it was time to take our seats for the concert, and the programme of music performed was truly wonderful.  Following Prokofiev’s Suite from Lieutenant Kije, Benjamin Schmid took to the stage to perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, which was a performance characterised by a huge depth of tone and some moments of staggering virtuosity.  The second half presented excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, and the opportunity for the orchestra to display a wonderful variety of colours and textures, with some particularly impressive moments of sheer power from the brass and percussion sections, in which the entire hall seemed to vibrate from its foundations!

Royal Festival Hall

Following a short journey back to Gatwick Aiport and the flight home, we arrived back in the island feeling as if we had crammed a whole weekend’s worth of visits and activities into one fantastic day!  Our thanks go to the Jersey Arts Trust for sponsoring this event to ensure that many of the costs were covered.  We are looking forward to running similar ‘day-trip’ events in the future, as it is simply incredible just how much can be fitted into one day if you really try!

Jersey Eisteddfod

November 2010

Our congratulations go out to all the island’s young musicians who participated in this year’s Jersey Eisteddfod.  In addition to all the academy students who entered various solo classes, there were three chamber music ensembles participating in the Langley Trophy for unconducted instrumental ensemble.  All three groups had been rehearsing together during their group classes each week in the build up to this year’s festival, and the excitement was building during the final rehearsals before the class took place:

Advanced Department Ensemble

Upper Intermediate Department Ensemble A

Upper Intermediate Department Ensemble B

All three groups performed beautifully for the class, which took place in front of a good size audience at the Jersey Opera House.  The whole evening had a great fun and light-hearted atsmosphere, and indeed all of the groups performing in this class did themselves, their teachers, and their parents proud!  Congratulations go to the academy’s Advanced Ensemble for acheiving a Platinum certificate and winning the trophy! 

A special congratulations goes to Finlay Hare, the young cellist who won the Overall Junior Instrumental Solo award this year.  Bravo!

Adrian Brendel and Min-Yung Kim Masterclass

7th November 2010

Cellist Adrian Brendel and pianist Min-Yung Kim were visiting the island courtesy of the Sundeep Watts Memorial Fund, and were resident at the academy for their visit.  A group of students and staff from the academy attended their concert at the Jersey Arts Centre on Saturday 6th November, which presented four contrasting sonatas for cello and piano – Zemlinsky, Beethoven no.2, Debussy and Brahms no.1.  This event was very well attended and clearly this wonderful duo had the audience spellbound, leading to an encore of Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances.  The following morning the duo gave separate cello and piano masterclasses to a group of local young musicians who had enjoyed the previous evening’s concert. 

We would like to thank the Sundeep Watts Memorial Fund for offering the academy the opportunity to host these fantastic musicians, and for the inspiration they were able to pass on.

Michael Collins Concert and Masterclass

19th October 2010

As Patron of the 2011 Liberation International Music Festival, world-class clarinettist Michael Collins was visiting the island to see the various venues next year’s festival will be using, and to offer his artistic input into the musical programme which will be on offer for the exciting event, now a integral part of Jersey’s yearly cultural programme.  During his visits to various sites throughout the island he was kind enough to spend some time at the academy to give a short recital and to work with the island’s local young musicians.

His performance was given to a lucky audience of students with family members and friends, and moved through Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces to an incredibly virtuosic rendition of the Carnival of Venice.  A short Q and A session followed, in which Michael was able to illuminate many interesting facts about the clarinet and the pieces performed.  Following this performance Michael spent an intensive session working on Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances with student Finlay Hare. 

The 2011 Liberation International Music Festival, presented by Music In Action in association with the Jersey Academy of Music, will take place from May 6th-9th next year.  Further information on all events can be found at

JAM Residency: Rococo String Quartet

29th September – 3rd October 2010

Music In Action’s outstanding ‘Concert for the Coastline’ with the Jersey Chamber Orchestra took place on Saturday 2nd October, and as part of the event the wonderful Rococo String Quartet were brought over to the island for a residency at the academy.

During their stay here, the quartet performed an after-school concert which was very well attended by young musicians and their families. The quartet performed Frank Bridge’s Three Idylls for String Quartet, which was a performance marked by some truly impressive and almost ‘orchestral’ textures. This was followed by Mozart’s lively Divertimento in D, in which the group shared some moments of great fun and levity. An interesting Q and A session followed, giving everyone a chance to find out more about the quartet and the music they had performed.

Following this, the quartet were joined by some of the academy’s higher level string students to rehearse and play together Mozart’s Divertimento in D. The opportunity to play in the heart of a professional quartet such as this was a wonderful experience for all involved.

We would like to thank the Rococo String Quartet and Music In Action for this residency, which we hope to repeat in the future.

Musique et Aventure 2010

25th July – 1st August 2010

The fourth Musique et Aventure summer music course joined together around 40 local youn g musicians with visiting children from France and the UK. The mornings were spent combining daily one-to-one instrumental lessons alongside chamber music coaching, private practice, and this year also included orchestral groups. Two chamber orchestras were gathered together, the first involved most of the students on the course to rehearse and perform Jason and the Golden Fleece, and the second smaller orchestra performed a small jazz suite. The concert at St Helier Methodist Centre at the end of the course was outstanding, and a real credit to all the hard work that all the students had put in during the week, and in particular the performance of Jason and the Golden Fleece (complete with narration, actors and costumes!) was great fun and superbly performed.

The teaching faculty also had the opportunity to perform for all the students, parents, and holidaymakers at Mont Orgueil Castle mid-way through the course. One of the highlights of this concert was violin teacher Eric Wang’s breathtaking performance of Weiniawski’s Morceau de Concert. The Friday evening concert also brought a new dimension to the course, involving Jersey students who are currently studying music at higher education level, including Sam Bisson, piano, Jennah Smart, flute, Georgia Bishop, voice, and Maria Le Brun, piano. In front of a packed concert hall, this concert was a real inspiration for the younger students watching in particular. The afternoon activities this year involved surfing at St Ouen’s Bay and Banana and Donut Rides at St. Brelade’s Bay. We were extremely lucky with the weather this year, as both these beach activities were enjoyed in glorious sunshine.

Our thanks go out to all those who helped with the running of this course, and also to the Jersey Arts Trust for their ongoing sponsorship

Tessitori Duo Residency

17th-19th July 2010

The outstanding Tessitori Duo of Isobel Leirera, viola, and Jaoa, classical guitar, visited the island through the support of the Jersey Arts Trust. During their visit they performed for Key Stage 2 children at Springfield School, exploring each of the different Spanish characters in Manuella De Falla’s entertaining Spanish Dances.

Tessitori Duo at Springfield School

They completed their tour with a concert at the academy, in which, amongst other works, they performed Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata, originally for viola and piano but equally musicially convincing in this arrangement for viola and guitar.

Lakeside Trio 2nd Residency

19th-24th July 2010

For their second residency at the academy, the Lakeside Trio were once again an inspirational presence. A masterclass involving several of the island’s young pianists took place on one evening, and the following evening they preceded their concert at the academy with a pre-concert presentation of Schoenberg’s Verklacht Nacht. This gave a fascinating insight into the poetry which underpins Schoenberg’s music, and in particular the way that each musical motive heard is ‘transformed’ towards the end of the piece to give a beautiful sense warmth and expression to the work.

Lakeside Trio performing at Jersey College for Girls

Their performance in the concert following this presentation was exemplary, in which the insights gained from the pre-concert event added a whole new dimension to the experience. The concert also included Schubert’s expansive Piano Trio in E flat, one of the fundamental works for piano trio, and Panufnik’s Piano Trio op.1, a modern but highly accessible work showcasing virtuosity from each off the instruments. The Lakeside Trio’s residency was once again sponsored by the Jersey Arts Trust.

Chetham’s School of Music Residency

24th-29th June 2010

For a week in June the academy hosted a wonderful group of young musicians from Chetham’s School of Music. The group comprised a string quartet and wind quintet, led by three members of the teaching faculty including Director of Music Stephen Threlfall.

The first event to take place was a Primary Schools Concert at the Jersey Arts Centre, coordinated by the Jersey Instrumental Music Service. Around 200 children attended this concert, which involved singing and dancing, and a memorable moment where children were invited onto the stage to sit and stand alongside the string quartet to follow their music through the performance of Shostakovich’s 6th String Quartet.

That evening, the group performed their full recital at the Jersey Arts Centre, which was well attended in particular by groups of local young musicians and their families. A wonderful variety of solo performances and ensemble works displayed the expressive and virtuosic qualities of all the different instruments on display.

The following day the group spent a full morning at Victoria College Preparatory School, firstly performing to the whole school, and then working alongside a group of children who had spent the term writing compositions to play alongside the Chethams students. That evening the Chetham’s students were joined by a large group of local young musicians to create a chamber orchestra, rehearsing Britten’s Soirees Musicales and Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12, with local soloist Georgina Sutton.

Chets and Jersey chamber orchestra

On the Saturday thee group met up at Durrell with all the VCP students to perform the ‘Concert in the Courtyard’. In the beautiful setting of Augres Manor’s courtyard, each of the VCP schoolchildren performed their own compositions alongside the visiting students, in front of an audience of families and holidaymakers. The evening was once again spent rehearsing the chamber orchestra.

Chets Al Fresco performance

On the final day of the tour, rehearsals in the daytime led up to the ‘Chethams and Friends’ concert at the academy, in which the chamber orchestra performed in front of a packed audience, alongside ensemble performances given by the visiting students.

The tour received the support of the Jersey Arts Trust, and by all accounts was a huge success and highly inspirational and motivating for all the local young musicians and schoolchildren involved. Plans are already in motion for next year!

Liberation International Music Festival 2010

7th-9th May 2010

Jersey hosted a wide range of star studded concerts from 7th – 9th May to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands after occupation during the Second World War. Music In Action’s second Liberation International Music Festival received support from the Jersey Arts Trust, UBS Wealth Management, Tourism Development Fund, Carey Olsen, Airtel-Vodafone and Jersey Harbours.

The festival featured some of the most exciting rising stars from Europe to the Far East playing beautiful and atmospheric music in some of island’s most iconic locations.

Performers included Elizabeth Watts (recently acclaimed for her performances at the Royal Opera House), to the multiple award winning Nicola Benedetti, and the composer and former member of Deep Purple Jon Lord. In total there are over 300 artists performing and working together from countries as diverse as Germany to China.

The Jersey International Music Festival is an important part of the cultural calendar of the British Isles featuring music in exciting and extraordinary locations.

Performer highlights:

· Violinist Nicola Benedetti the 2008 Classic FM artist of the year and 2009 Classical Brit award winner

· Elizabeth Watts – Soprano winner of the Lieder prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World

· German award winning cellist Leonard Elschenbroich

· Chinese pianist Wu Qian who since the age of fifteen has performed in many of the world’s greatest venues

· Jon Lord who has sold over 150 million albums as a rockstar and is Jersey’s composer in residence

· Israeli protégé of the great Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Cohen

Visit for a breakdown of each of the events which took place.