RPO to perform world premiere at Whitgift School

Whitgift School is to stage a musical world premiere next week, with former pupil Tarik O’Regan‘s Fragments from a Heart of Darkness being performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Composer Tarik O'Regan: returning to Whitgift School

Composer Tarik O’Regan: returning to Whitgift School

O’Regan wrote the piece for the South Croydon independent school’s chamber orchestra after his opera, Heart of Darkness, had its debut at the Linbury Studio Theatre in Covent Garden, in 2011.

Next week’s programme, being staged on from 7.30pm next Tuesday, March 26, will also include Mahler’s 4th Symphony and will begin with an introduction from Tarik O’Regan.

O’Regan has composed two works for the school based on this opera – the full orchestral piece and a suite for narrator and chamber ensemble, which the school performed last year.

Dividing his time working in New York and England since 2007, O’Regan has had 25 albums of his music released and has been showered with award nominations, including two Grammy nominations (including Best Classical Album), two British Composer Awards, and a South Bank Sky Arts Award nomination.

At present, he is working on a full-length orchestral work for the Hallé Orchestra and a ballet for the Dutch National Ballet.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me to have been commissioned to extract two orchestral suites from my opera, Heart of Darkness, for the student musicians of Whitgift, and for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,” O’Regan said.

“Far from my ‘writing down’ for the school musicians, they have, instead, risen up to the challenge of performing on a par with one the UK’s finest professional orchestras. It’s been a really exciting and artistically rewarding experience for me.”

The concert next week will be the fourth occasion when the school’s chamber orchestra will perform alongside members of the RPO. This link gives the pupils an unparalleled chance to work with, and learn from, the professional musicians of a world-class orchestra.

In addition to the concert, many Whitgift pupils are involved in an outreach programme in local primary schools, inspired by the piece.

Next Tuesday’s concert will help launch the Whitgift International Music Competition, which will receive applications from string musicians aged between 12 and 17.

Finalists in three age categories will be invited to the school to perform in front of a distinguished panel of judges, including Whitgift’s Director of Music Development, Rosanna Whitfield, and Director of Orchestral Music, Philip Winter; Royal Academy of Music Professor, Remus Azoitei; cellist and former winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year, Guy Johnston; novelist and journalist for the Independent newspaper, Jessica Duchen; and a further member, nominated by the RPO.

Three winners will be awarded a full scholarship to study at Whitgift, including their instrumental fees and boarding. Whitgift opens its boarding house next term, which accommodates up to 109 pupils from around the world.

The Grand Prize winners of the Whitgift International Music Competition will perform at a gala concert on July 3.

  • Tickets for next Tuesday’s concert are £10, concession £5 (children under 16, over-60s, Students 17-25 in full-time education).
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