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The new Tom Wheare Music School

Earlier this month we celebrated the official opening of the new Tom Wheare Music School with a weekend of music from current and former pupils.

Music has always been at the heart of life at Bryanston and the new music school provides pupils with the flexibility and opportunities to explore and experience a variety of musical genres. The quality of music produced by pupils is outstanding, and we now have a facility that meets the requirements of their talents and hard work.

There is now a range of performance spaces ranging from the Elder Concert Hall, which can accommodate a range of groups and performers, to the John Eliot Gardiner Recital Room for smaller, more intimate concerts, meaning a wider range of pupils will have opportunities to perform.

Former pupil and celebrated conductor, Sir Mark Elder (F ’66) (after whom the Elder Concert Hall is named) said ‘Music-making has always been central to the life of Bryanston – and my own experience of this played no small part in what I may have achieved in my subsequent professional life. Every child has a talent and Bryanston believes in discovering and fostering these talents. This wonderful new concert hall is a thrilling testament to these principles and will benefit many generations to come.’

We hope you will be able to join us soon for a concert in the Tom Wheare Music School and experience the wonderful music our pupils create. In the meantime, why not look at some photos from the opening celebration or read an extract from Tom Wheare’s speech below.

Extract from Tom Wheare's speech at the official opening of the Tom Wheare Music School

In verses memorably set to music by William Walton, the Poet Laureate John Masefield asked ‘Where does the uttered music go?’

I would answer into the soul of the place and the people. From the first notes that May Jeffreys played on her violin in the outer hall to the trumpet flourish of Vaughan Williams, the atmosphere of this school has been permeated by music.

...In this Music School there are many rooms. It will witness the fulfilment of many great talents, but it should also nurture lesser gifts, allowing music to emerge from every possible source.

My musical life was transformed by becoming a member of King’s College Choir. From time to time there was a vacancy for a ‘volunteer’ bass and one such was on offer when I came up. It was widely thought that it would go to the celebrated Bryanston musician John Eliot Gardiner, but, instead, he embarked on preparing his ground-breaking performance of the Monteverdi Vespers in King’s Chapel, and the way was therefore left open to me, for want of anyone better. A year later Robin Pegna took up the other volunteership, starting a friendship that has lasted fifty years.

...Robin and I were given our opportunity because of the open mindedness of an elite musical group. The Music School has been an oasis for all Bryanstonians and this magnificent building with its ‘many mansions’ can continue that tradition.