Violin, viola, cello, double-bass, harp, guitar, lute
The String Department has enjoyed remarkable success at both national and international competition level over the last few years including Guy Johnston and Jennifer Pike winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year, Jiafeng Chen achieving second prize at the prestigious International Sibelius Competition and prize winners and finalists at the Menuhin Competition, the Louis Spohr and Kloster Schöental Competitions in Germany, the Wieniawski Young Violinist Competition in Poland, and the Suggia Gift for Cello and Muriel Taylor awards.
Above - Violin student Jiafeng Chen performs Sibelius' Violin Concerto with Chetham's Symphony Orchestra
Chetham's String players are highly regarded throughout the world and we have benefitted from forming strong links in China and more recently with the Barratt- Due Music Institute in Oslo, Norway. We are now also fostering links with the special music school in Prague.
There is a strong emphasis on developing students playing to the very highest possible technical level, whilst developing musical skills through performance opportunities, chamber music playing and orchestral repertoire.
All students receive an hour and a half of individual lessons every week and two hours per week for the first four terms of the 6th Form. There are remarkable opportunities for solo performance, and with the un-paralleled accompaniment provision which the school maintains, all string students are able to rehearse all their repertoire with piano as often as required and to give frequent performances. There are weekly performance classes, which are an ideal opportunity for students to give their first performances of new repertoire in front of their peers and the Head of Strings, who leads an informal class. Then students perform this repertoire in one of our lunchtime concerts (there are two each day). In addition to these opportunities, there are dozens of outside recitals every year that students may be selected for - these include music societies, festival and recital series in North West England and throughout the UK. There is also a regular series of masterclasses given by distinguished international guests.
The String Department has developed a comprehensive and highly regarded chamber music programme with all students being allocated to one main chamber music group which receives weekly teaching. The Chamber Music teachers are all highly experienced Chamber musicians and teachers, with international experience. Chamber ensembles have taken part in all the RNCM Chamber Music Festivals since its inception in 1999 and recent invitations have been to the Greenwich String Quartet Festival and a trip to Prague.
All bowed string students take part in various orchestral activities during the year including string ensembles for the very youngest students and Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra for more senior students. There are also various smaller orchestras, ensembles and string orchestras who take on a great variety of projects during the year including Baroque projects, contemporary music ensembles, and collaborations with visiting ensembles. All orchestral projects are planned in great detail and include sectionals from top orchestral exponents. The Symphony Orchestra performs with leading international conductors at the main UK venues.
Visiting Artists who have given Masterclasses recently have included:
Stefan Barratt-Due (Norway)
Mauricio Fuchs (USA)
Boghard Godhoff (France)
Thomas Haapanen (Finland)
Alf Richard Kraggerud (Norway)
Henning Kraggerud (Norway)
Mi Kyung Lee (Korea)
Zvi Zeitlin (USA)
Timothy Deighton (USA)
Ralph Fielding (USA)
Thomas Riebl (Austria)
Lars Anders-Tomter (Norway)
Steven Doane (USA)
Christopher Richter (Germany)
Edoardo Catemario (Italy)
Ricardo Iznaola (Cuba/USA)
Kathleen Bride (USA)
Elizabeth Binoche (France)