Concerts and Competitions
The Music Department is involved in a number of big concerts each year taking place at leading London venues, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John's Smith Square, Cadogan Hall and Southwark Cathedral.
The Chamber Orchestra have twice performed in the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall and were invited to perform as part of the Youth Makes Music event at the Festival Hall on the South Bank.
The various chamber music groups and ensembles also perform regularly in local festivals and in school concerts held at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, and at St John’s, Smith Square in central London.
The ever-popular Duet Concert, held each November, provides an opportunity for pianists to develop their ensemble skills by performing duets, trios and 8-hands repertoire on one or two pianos.
The main Summer Term event is the Piano Platform which takes place in the Great Hall. This concert, which is open to all boys throughout the school, offers the valuable experience of performing on the superb Bösendorfer concert grand piano.
Informal Open Concerts are held termly where boys may try out exam or solo pieces in front of a friendly audience.
The Bach Competition is a Music prize awarded annually for an outstanding performance from a boy of a piece of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. The Competition is the gift of Sir Brian Thwaites OA in memory of his Organ teacher W K Russell Taylor, who taught and inspired Sir Bryan when he was here as a boy at Dulwich College. This competition has been adjudicated in the past by such well-known musical figures as Dr Stephen Cleobury CBE, Organist and Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge; and Mr Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Director of Music at St John’s College, Cambridge; Mr Paul Brough, OA and Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers; Mr Dan Hyde, Organist and Director of Music at St Thomas’s Church Fifth Avenue, New York; Mr David Hill Principal Conductor of the BBC Singers, and this year, Mr Ralph Allwood MBE, Director of Music at Queen’s College, Cambridge.
The Piano Competition, held in the Lent term, usually attracts approximately 90 boys and classes are arranged in order of standard. 1st and 2nd Prizes are awarded for each class and, in addition, a Cup is presented to the winner of each of the two senior categories.
In the Michaelmas term the House Part-song competition encourages the development of part singing within the College. The annual Singing Competition, meanwhile, is adjudicated by visiting eminent singers and singing teachers.
There is an Annual String Competition is open to all age groups, and standards range from beginner to advanced level. The final section is a concerto class open to all boys who are able to play at that level.
The annual Woodwind Competition takes place in April. It is judged by an external adjudicator who is a specialist in this field. This year there were over 80 boys involved in 5 different classes.
The Brass Department this year moved away from the traditional form of music competition and held a long note competition (the winning time was 1 minute 6 seconds). This will now be an annual event with the winner walking away with the “Dulwich College Brass Ultimate Long Note Championship” tankard.
In 2019 Dulwich College was awarded Independent School of the Year for the Performing Arts, acknowledging the work and talent of the Drama and Music departments. The award was conferred by Independent School Parent magazine.