Following his recent success in achieving a distinction in his ABRSM Diploma, the music department have caught up with Iain to discuss his experience and preparation, musical life and the future!
What was the outline of the Diploma?
‘The Diploma focuses on a contrasting programme that lasts at least 30 minutes in length. Within this, I had to choose a variety of different styles and composers and settled on works by Mozart, Horovitz and Defaye. This was all performed as a recital to an examiner in one sitting and something which I worked for since the beginning of the Sixth Form.’
What were the challenges in performing this music?
‘I had never experienced performing a full programme with the contrasts between the different styles meaning a new musical mood had to be achieved. I also had to perform for 30 minutes without breaks and so, the level of concentration was quite intense. All three pieces presented different musical challenges with the intonation of the Horovitz, the complexity of the rhythm in Defaye (a composer I had never heard of before!) and the sustained high notes and tone in the Mozart.’
Were you surprised?
I am extremely humbled by the result but in all honesty, I was totally surprised with the result. I was expecting to pass as I believed I put in the ‘hard yards’ but to achieve 47/50 was amazing!’
What are your musical ambitions for your remaining time at the college?
‘I have a busy term ahead as I prepare for performance of Bruce Fraser’s Euphonium Fantasy which I am playing with the School Orchestra in March. There are other highlights like Cabaret which is always fun and Schola are doing a recording, which will be a new experience for me!’ Also, Mr Stafford has kindly allowed the choir to sing my favourite anthem, so look out for that later in term!’
What would you like to do in the future?
‘I hope to go to university to study Economics with a view to potentially working in business or finance. However, I fully intend to continue with my musical studies, playing in bands and singing in choirs at university. After all, music is something that never leaves us!’
What advice could you offer to younger, aspiring musicians?
‘Finding a balance is key – you have to enjoy the music you are doing but also be able to balance this with everyday life. Practice is key and so, finding regular time to do this will ensure that you can pursue your musical journey!’