Four Felsted School musicians have received offers to study at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and Royal College of Music (RCM) in 2023. In addition to another 2022 Felsted Leaver, Charles Campbell-Peek (fehc15-22) - the total now makes 5 Felstedians within 12 months to receive offers to conservatoires - an exceptionally high success rate.
Conservatoires such as these deliver expert education in music including performance, composition, conducting, music theory and music history with performance-based courses that are industry-focused to help prepare their students to be career-ready musicians, performers, producers and entrepreneurs. Students will have the opportunity to develop their skills as musicians through specialist one-to-one tuition, ensemble study and creative projects.
18 year old Sana Abu Jabir (fmn08-22), one of Felsted’s top performing A Level students in 2022, has been awarded two scholarships and has accepted a place at RAM, Matthew Jones (hc17-22), also a 2022 leaver, has been offered a place at RNCM, Mariella, a current Year 13 student, has also been awarded two scholarships and has accepted a place at RCM and Sebastian, also a pupil in Year 13, has been awarded a scholarship for RAM.
The students will be in good company with the likes of Sir Elton John and Bill Bailey both among the names of RAM alumni. Benjamin Britten and Andrew Lloyd Webber are alumni of RCM and RNCM alumni include Don Airey and Stjepan Hauser, known professionally as HAUSER. They also follow in the musical footsteps of Old Felstedians such as, Jeremy Holland-Smith (d90-95) who composed the score for the 2022 version of ‘Scrooge: A Christmas Carol’ currently on Netflix, mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith (bn03-13), winner of First Prize at the 2022 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and Gus Nicholson (fcd06-12), who recently composed the music for a brand new performance of Anne of Green Gables by London Children’s Ballet at the Peacock Theatre in London’s West End.
All four students have led busy, active musical careers during their time at Felsted. Sana was Felsted’s Young Musician of the Year 2022, and performed with the Felsted Jazz Band and Orchestra. She recently performed at the BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra, for whom she is now a principal percussionist. Matthew was a member of the Felsted Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Mariella is involved with the Felsted Steel Bands, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Orchestra and Choir and is the principal percussionist at Junior Guildhall. Sebastian performs with the Felsted Choir and Guitar Group.
Before beginning her course at the Royal Academy of Music, Sana comments “I have really enjoyed my time at Felsted and feel it has provided me with the strong foundation on which to build my future musical career. So much so, that I felt I wanted to give something back and have decided to spend my gap year as a teaching assistant for biology and music back at Felsted School''. Looking to the future, Sana says “I’m excited for the next chapter of my life at RAM. After my course, I hope to work as a professional musician”.
Sebastian says “I’m very much looking forward to attending the Royal Academy of Music, I’m excited for the experiences and opportunities it will present, such as studying with internationally renowned teachers and using world-class facilities. In the future, I would like nothing more than to be an opera singer”.
William Warns, Director of Music at Felsted comments; “I was delighted to receive the news of all four students’ offers from top conservatoires in the country. During their time at Felsted it has been great to watch them each develop their musical skills, playing in various ensembles and regularly performing at school in concerts. These courses will provide them with the opportunity to develop their abilities with specialist tuition and exciting performance opportunities''. On the subject of Felsted’s conservatoire scholarship success rate, Mr Warns says “It is a celebration of the excellent music provision at Felsted to equip so many students with the skills to study music beyond school to such a high level.”