Music

Music is hugely important here and girls have many opportunities from the moment they arrive at KEHS. The quality of music-making is often breathtaking.

There is a vast array of orchestras, choirs and ensembles, with weekly rehearsals for regular concerts in the Ruddock Hall and Symphony Hall. Our three tiers of solo recital opportunities include Instrumental Evenings, Lunchtime Recitals and Performers’ Platforms, showcasing our talented musicians. These are staged throughout the year, usually with the boys of KES. One highlight is the annual residential weekend at Cleobury Mortimer, where our Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra prepare for their two major concerts in March. Recent performances have included Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite.

Many of our top musicians perform in local and national orchestras and choirs, some winning prestigious awards including on the international stage.

We take a selection of our dedicated performers on a biennial foreign tour, most recently to the Veneto Province of Italy in July 2016. Around 50 girls and 6 members of staff performed in glorious venues around Venice and Verona in our Chamber Choir or String Orchestra.

Ensembles

Concert Band is a senior ensemble playing a mixture of original symphonic wind orchestra works and some arrangements of popular/light music.

Wind Band is its junior equivalent, mainly tackling arrangements suitable for intermediate players. Up to 100 players from the two bands combine regularly in major performances to play more challenging music or provide an exciting finale to concerts.

The Senior and Junior Swing Bands play arrangements of ‘jazz standards’ and some original big band works – Glenn Miller numbers for example. They are a big hit, performing at local primary schools and in the enormously popular Jazz Evening held every summer. In the run-up to this, students hone their technique at workshops run by renowned jazz musicians such as Joe Thompson.

30 of our top string players take part in the all girl KEHS Chamber Orchestra, performing music from intermediate to advanced level. They relish the chance to play in lunchtime concerts, our termly concerts, and on the foreign tour.

Training String Orchestra develops our string players’ technique; most graduate to Concert Orchestra, which usually plays arrangements of orchestral classics and features in all our major concerts.

The most talented musicians progress to the 80 strong Joint Symphony Orchestra, with King Edward’s School, which plays standard orchestral repertoire to a stunning standard.

There are 2 KEHS choirs: Chamber Choir, an ensemble of around 30 girls from Year 10 upwards which explores the exciting repertoire for female voices in three and four parts, and Lower School Choir, which involves around 60 Year 7-9 girls. Both choirs sing in all our major concerts and at the atmospheric Carol Services in Edgbaston Old Church.

Choral Society is a 100 strong four-part choir drawn from pupils and staff of both schools. This year the society is performing Fauré's Requiem.

There are also guitar groups for players of varying abilities and numerous chamber ensembles, all of which perform regularly.

Music Lessons

We offer individual tuition on most instruments. For Years 7 and 9 (Thirds to Upper Fourths) instrumental lessons are scheduled to ensure that girls never miss the same lesson more than once every 5 weeks. Older pupils have lessons outside academic hours. We have a dedicated team of 25 instrumental teachers at KEHS.

Associated Board Examinations are held during term time and girls can take examinations in school whether or not they have lessons here.