Benenden pupils were delighted to perform with world-renowned violinist Tasmin Little at a special concert held in joint celebration of two organisations which are committed to assisting talented young musicians.
Benenden School’s Symphony Orchestra performed at Drapers’ Hall, London, in a joint concert between the School and the English-Speaking Union (ESU), an international educational charity.
Tasmin Little, one of the ESU’s most widely known music scholars, performed as part of the ESU centenary celebrations to honour the founding of the charity in 1918. The Symphony Orchestra of Benenden School, one of the UK’s leading independent schools, appeared in celebration of the School’s 95th anniversary.
The concert featured a varied programme which included pieces by Vivaldi, Mozart, Haydn and Rossini, as well as a piece composed by former Benenden pupil Grace Young.
Benenden Headmistress Samantha Price said: “We are honoured that our Symphony Orchestra performed with Tasmin Little in such magnificent surroundings.
“Benenden and the English-Speaking Union both focus on advancing the aspirations of young people, and our collaboration for this concert was the ideal way to celebrate our respective anniversaries and combined success.
“Music is integral to all that we do at Benenden. We are committed to not just helping pupils to reach the very highest standards of performance but also to widening participation in music.”
ESU Director-General Jane Easton said: “I am delighted that ESU alumna, Tasmin Little, so generously donated her artistry for this concert with Benenden’s exceptional young musicians. Tasmin was the recipient of an English-Speaking Union music scholarship, a scholarship which she credits with altering the course of her life.
“At the ESU we work to narrow the gaps in opportunity and achievement for young people regardless of their background, allowing them to enter the ‘global conversation’ which was so much part of our founding vision.”
Multi award-winning Tasmin Little has firmly established herself as one of today’s leading international violinists. Her recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra garnered outstanding critical acclaim and was awarded the Critic’s Choice Award in the 2011 Classic BRIT Awards.
She remains one of the few violinists to perform Ligeti’s challenging Violin Concerto and has performed this work at the Berlin Philharmonie, New York Carnegie Hall, Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Philadelphia Kimmel Center.
In 2012, Tasmin was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours List, for Services to Music.
She said of last night’s special concert: “It’s a great pleasure to work with the young musicians of Benenden School and I really appreciated their attentiveness and intensity as well as their willingness to take on board musical ideas and incorporate them immediately into our performance.
“I’m excited to make music with them in celebration of the centenary of the ESU and to support music at Benenden School.”
Benenden Symphony Orchestra – formerly known as Hemsted Forest Youth Orchestra – comprises Benenden pupils as well as young people from schools in the surrounding area.