Redmaids' High named one of the top independent schools in the region
On Tuesday 1 November, Redmaids' High School was very excited to welcome Isata Kanneh-Mason to the school. When she was a teenager, Isata performed in the Piano Finals of Young Musician of the Year and went on to win the Elton John scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Music; Elton John was so impressed with her playing that he paid her music college fees and also invited her to perform with him. Now in her twenties, Isata is a world-renowned concert pianist who has performed at countless concert halls around the world, winning a European Concert Halls Organisation (EHCO) "Rising Star Award" for 2021/22 and now being Artist in Residence with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for 2022/23.
Redmaids' High School was very excited to welcome Isata to deliver a masterclass and concert. Our many talented pianists auditioned for an opportunity to perform for Isata, with seven students in total taking part. All of our students worked hard to prepare a range of pieces, including those by Debussy, Poulenc, Shostakovich and Gershwin, in front of not only Isata, but also an audience of our own students and children from local primary schools. Isata was incredibly complimentary of our students' playing, giving them lots of encouraging feedback, as well as points to go away and think about. It was so heartening that such an experienced pianist and performer was so supportive and positive. Throughout the whole afternoon, Isata never stopped smiling (neither did our students!).
In the evening, we were incredibly excited to welcome New Bristol Sinfonia to the school to give an evening concert for our school community and the wider public, accompanying Isata in performing Dohnányi's "Variations on a Nursery Tune". Isata's performance was electric and truly magical. Her energy and passion for what she does shone through every note she played as her hands glided effortlessly across the keys. New Bristol Sinfonia also delivered a fantastic programme of music by Bernstein and Bizet, as well as less well-known works by Doreen Carwithen and Lili Boulanger. The sound they produced in our fantastic hall was just wonderful. A particular mention to Grace, a talented percussionist in Year 12, who was invited to join the percussion section of the orchestra for this high-profile occasion.
Mrs Harrison, Director of Music, said "it was such an honour to welcome Isata to the school. She had such a smiley and positive energy throughout the day, and her total passion and enthusiasm for what she does was evident for all to see. Our students have gained so much from the opportunity to be coached by her and hear her play. The concert in the evening was a really special night that we will never forget".
Music is an integral part of school life at Redmaids' High with numerous ensembles for students to get involved with and our Music Scholarship programme for exceptional musicians. Contact our Admissions team to find out more.