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Sir Mark Elder, CH CBE: an extraordinary day

Sir Mark Elder’s visit in June 2019 will live long in the memory of all those who were fortunate enough to be there. 

Undoubtedly one of Bryanston’s most distinguished former pupils, Sir Mark has forged an international reputation as one of the world’s great conductors. He is also a passionate advocate for the provision of a musical education for every child, whatever their background or circumstances.

As he shared his Desert Island Discs and life story during the evening (in the packed Sir Mark Elder Concert Hall), we became aware of his great eloquence, enthusiasm, humour and leadership skills. The audience were greatly entertained to hear about his early days at school and moved to hear about the renewal of his Hallé Orchestra in Manchester and the special relationship they have formed with the music of Elgar.

Earlier in the day, Sir Mark spent time with Bryanston’s music scholars, talking with them about their career aspirations and offering wise and generous advice.

Later on we were joined by pupils from schools across the South West for instrumental masterclasses and a compelling Q&A session. Sir Mark talked of determination, commitment, imagination and emotional intelligence as defining factors in the life and career of a musician. Everyone, young or old, pupil or teacher, came away feeling uplifted and renewed.


We are extremely grateful to Sir Mark for giving so generously of his time. It truly was an extraordinary day.

You can see more photos from the Sir Mark's visit  here.

Bryanston’s inaugural Music Education Conference takes place on Thursday 3 October 2019 and will address the themes of increasing pupils’ engagement and stemming the decline in music education. Places are available for just £15. For more information, contact