Let the playing commence!

Let the playing commence!

Scores of the School’s young musicians battle it out today in a competitive Pianoathon Challenge being held to raise money to buy pianos for the new Music School.

Each of the School’s Houses has been challenged to provide an hour of sound, with small teams of musicians and soloists playing for up to three minutes each: the result should be six hours of non-stop music in the Main School Hall.

The event has been arranged as one of the special events taking place to celebrate tomorrow’s Founder’s Day.

Director of Music Ruth Partington said: “This is part of our last big push to ensure that our brilliant new Music School is equipped to the highest standards when it opens in the autumn. Thanks to the generosity of the School’s Foundation Trustees, we have already secured the purchase of a superb grand piano for our new recital hall, but that still leaves seven new practice rooms all needing a high-quality piano – and that is what we are raising money for today.

“If you haven’t already donated, please give now, sponsoring your House, or your son’s House, via our dedicated eQE Pianoathon page. This is a real first for QE and promises to be a thrilling event: let the playing commence!”

Parents and friends can watch the musical action unfold live in a special YouTube broadcast (above), which can also be viewed on the eQE page and via the Music department’s YouTube page.

Each House has entered small teams comprising up to five musicians – including at least one pianist – to play music of their choice. There is a visiting guest adjudicator, Mr Huw Jones, Director of Music at The John Lyon School in Harrow, who will be helping to pick the winners in the various categories, which cover team and solo performances (both for each year group and overall), also including a prize for the Best House Overall. Houses that raise large amounts of money will also have the opportunity to have one of the new pianos named after them.

Today’s musical menu chosen by the boys includes a rich range of genres and styles, and features instruments ranging from violins to electric guitars, and from oboes to tablas. Here is a small selection of the repertoire to be heard, House by House:

  • Broughton: Canon in D, Pachelbel; Étude op 10 no. 12 ‘Revolutionary’, Chopin; Peppa Pig theme
  • Harrisons’: Es war einmal, Grieg; Downton Abbey theme, John Lunn; Samba Nights, Proudler
  • Leicester: Attack on Titan Opening Theme 1, Sawato; Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, arr. Sakamoto; I See Fire, Ed Sheeran
  • Pearce: Sonatina in C major, Kuhlau; Opening Night Jazz, Martha Mier; Sonata No. 3, Prokofiev
  • Stapylton: Romanze Op. 28, Schumann; Sonatina Movement 1, Dušek; Toccata in G minor
  • Underne: Pink Lady, Pam Wedgwood; Prelude in C-sharp minor, Rachmaninoff; Your Song, Elton John.

The £3.5m-plus Music School, which is currently in the final stages of construction, received the go-ahead in 2019 after the Department for Education accepted the School’s £2.2m bid, which consisted of a £1.2m grant and £1m loan.

Like all major improvements at the School over the past two decades, the project is relying on the generous financial support of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s and other benefactors. Pride of place in the building will go to the Yamaha CF6 grand piano in the recital hall, which was chosen by the Music Department after a week-long audition process. Valued at just under £75,000, it is being paid for by the School’s Foundation Trustees.

For those without an eQE account, donations can be made to each House’s total by clicking on the relevant name: Broughton; Harrisons’; Leicester; Pearce; Stapylton; and Underne.