2014 Education projects

Brass coaching
Coaching for the side-by-side ensemble – © Julie Cuthbert


8 projects actively involving over 1,000 young people in total from 19 primary schools and 10 secondary schools.

Funded by our Education Programme Supporters Essex Music Education Hub, the Band Trust, the Essex Community Foundation, the Band Trust, the Friends of Roman River Music, Essex County Council, Terri Singleton and Councillor Julia Havis. Without the festival, the education programme would not be possible and we give huge thanks also to all our funders and supporters.

Rehearsing for the Soldier's Tale performance
Rehearsing for the Soldier’s Tale performance

Primary School Projects

i. The Soldier’s Tale. 17 schools, 600 participants

James Redwood (composer / animateur), Anthony Bailey (clarinet & animateur), Andrew Connington (trombone) and Martin Rockall (trumpet) introduced the music, instruments, animals and themes of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale to classes from 17 primary schools. All participants were then invited to a free full-scale live performance at the Mercury Theatre during school hours on Friday 26th September, given by Andrew and others of the top musicians appearing at the festival, and introduced and animated by James. Roman River Music organised and paid for coaches for all 17 schools to bring the pupils to the Theatre.

Charles Mutter violin / director   Scott Lumsdaine percussion
Anthony Bailey clarinet   Paul Boyes bassoon  
Martin Rockall trumpet   Andrew Connington trombone   Ben Griffiths double bass

Click here to see a printable PDF of the 2014 Teachers Resource Material (3 A4 pages). Click for excerpt from animated film of the storya full version with acting and dance, a short biography of Stravinsky, and footage of Stravinsky conducting.

Music hall performers rehearsing
Rehearsing Music Hall Songs © Julie Cuthbert

ii. Music Hall Songs. 3 schools, 70 participants

Pianist, presenter and composer Dominic Harlan and top singer Rob Gildon led a singing, composing and performance project in 4 primary schools. The all-day workshops echoed one of the strands of the festival programming; Music Hall songs from 1890 – 1914, including Lambeth Walk; She Died, She Did; Knees Up Mother Brown and After You’ve Gone. Groups performed their songs to an audience of 230 at Stoke by Nayland Church on Sunday 28th September, and listened to a full orchestra perform Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Elgar’s Cello Concerto at the same concert.

iii. Winterreise 2 schools, 60 participants

Opera and installation designer Ruth Paton worked with two primary schools to create 3D sculptures inspired by Schubert’s Winterreise, which was performed at 4pm on Saturday 20th September in liquid nightclub on Colchester High Street. The pupils’ classroom was turned into a gallery for an afternoon and the work was shared with the school community.

This is Roman River Music patron Mark Padmore performing Winterreise accompanied by Paul Lewis.

iv. CPD session for primary school teachers. 18 schools

This was a session dedicated to the teachers involved in the primary schools workshops, designed for them to get the most from the workshops and add value by teaching related subjects and following up subjects covered in the workshops. This was attended by 18 teachers; a good result considering the wide geographical spread of the schools, and was very well received.

Young Musician / Secondary School projects

Vive, who sang in four schools for Roman River Music

v. In-school recitals

Almost 30 top-class musicians gave interactive recitals in 9 schools to over 500 pupils in total, featuring a range of musical styles and genres. All schools have said they would like to participate again next year.

Vive Colchester Academy, The Gilberd School, the Colchester County High School for Girls and Thomas Lord Audley School

The Celan Quartet Philip Morant Academy

Tom Poster and Tom Blach Colchester 6th form College

Guy Johnston, Tom Poster and Mark Simpson Colchester Royal Grammar School

Mark Simpson 1 October
Mark Simpson, who played to pupils at CRGS


The Escher Quartet Colchester Institute

The Marian Consort Manningtree School

The Celan Quartet arrive at Philip Morant college, Roman River Music 2014
The Celan Quartet arrive at Philip Morant college, Roman River Music 2014








vi. Performance opportunities for young musicians

15-year-old Jessica Villiers sang to 100 people at the beginning of Ruby Hughes and Joseph Middleton’s recital at Layer Marney Tower, and 16-year-old George Pertwee performed to 130 people at Simon Crawford-Philips and Philip Moore’s recital in Liquid Nightclub.

Jessica Villier’s head of music wrote ‘Just to say many thanks for giving Jess the opportunity to perform at the Layer Marney Tower Concert last night and for organising it. It was a fabulous experience for her and both the school and her parents were thrilled.  And what a terrific venue! She received many compliments from members of the audience at both the interval and at the end which I am sure will have found inspiring.’

© Julie Cuthbert
Cellos side by side © Julie Cuthbert

vii. Side-by-Side Ensemble

24 local young players were coached in individual sections and in an orchestral context during weekends throughout September by top quality professionals. They worked towards a performance where they were joined by 30 top professionals to perform two major works of the orchestral repertoire – Elgar Cello Concerto and Stravinsky 1919 Firebird Suite, with a top-class soloist (LSO principal cello Rebecca Gilliver) and conductor (Samuel Burstin).

It was a unique opportunity for young musicians to rehearse and perform alongside some of the top musicians appearing at the festival. The performance was of an extremely high standard, to an audience of 230 on Sunday 28th September in Stoke by Nayland Church.

Violins playing side by side
Violins playing side by side © Julie Cuthbert

The coaches were:

Lois Au & Jonathan Davies bassoon Samuel Burstin viola & conductor
Alison Hayhurst flute Rebecca Scott & John Smart violin 
Orlando Jopling cello & conductor Virginia Slater viola

viii. Set works concert. 

Over 100 pupils studying GCSE and A Level music from 4 schools listened to a live performance-lecture, on Friday 3rd October, of works from their syllabus, introduced and analysed by Orlando Jopling. The performers were:

Oliver Pashley clarinet Connie Tanner bassoon
Philippa Mo violin Martin Rockall trumpet
Eleanor Stanford violin Martin Lawrence horn & natural horn
Martin Wray viola Andrew Connington trombone
Thomas Maternik cello Ben Griffiths double bass Fiona Dalzell piano 

The repertoire was

Corelli Trio Sonata in D, Op. 3 No. 2: 4th mvt
Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb and the ‘Joke’ String Quartet 4th mvt
Mozart Piano sonata K 333 mvt 1 Beethoven Horn Sonata (1st mvt) and Septet in E flat, Op. 20
Schumann Kinderscenen nos 1, 3 & 11 Poulenc Sonata for Horn, Trumpet & Trombone mvt 1
Luciano Berio PSY Piazzola Libertango

Rehearsal break
Rehearsal break

List of participating schools

Primary schools
Bishop William Ward CofE
Brinkley Grove
All Saints CofE
Home Farm
Langenhoe Community
Mersea Island
Old Heath Community
St John’s CofE
St Lawrence
St Luke’s Church
St Peter’s CofE
Willow Brook Primary Schools
Prettygate Junior School

Secondary schools
Colchester Academy (new for 2014)
Colchester Sixth Form College (new for 2014)
Colchester County High School for Girls
The Colchester Institute (new for 2014)
Colchester Royal Grammar School
The Gilberd School (new for 2014)
Manningtree High School (new for 2014)
Philip Morant School & College
St Mary’s School
Thomas Lord Audley (new for 2014)

For families

We also produced two unique shows for families with primary aged children, as part of the 2014 festival.


The Weaver’s Tale
The sensuous gut strings of a period cello transported us back to the 16th century as we stepped into the wood-panelled drawing room of the beautiful Peake’s House in Colchester, and heard the magical tale of a young weaver and his talented bird. The story took us on a journey from a weaver’s hut in the middle of the forest, to Piccadilly Circus, St Peter’s in Rome, and the Berlin Zoo. Narrated by charismatic young storytellers Ruth Paton (Royal Opera House, National Theatre) and Rebecca Truscott (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment). Click here for more information

Supported by the Worshipful Company of Weavers

The Packing Shed on Shell Island

The Oyster Boy
West Mersea Packing Shed

We caught the ferry from West Mersea to the Shell Island Packing Shed to hear tales of the sea told with ‘cello and voice, and made a sugar pearl to take home in an oyster shell. Click here for more information

SBS rehearsal Stoke
Final rehearsal © Julie Cuthbert

Rehearsal passes, choir and subsidised tickets

We also offered the opportunity to join the 2015 festival choir free of charge for anyone under the age of 26, free tickets to general rehearsals, tickets for festival concerts from £2.50 – £7.50 for everyone under 26, and two unique shows during the festival specially created for families with primary-school age children.

Please contact us if you would like your school to be involved in 2015.

Julie Cuthbert Youth programme and secondary education projects co-ordinator
Kate Williams Primary schools projects co-ordinator