Highgate community orchestra looking to expand after Nicola Benedetti performance

A community orchestra set up by a Highgate school is hoping to go from strength to strength after playing with a world-famous violinist.

Last month, Highgate Community Orchestra (HCO) performed at Highgate School, in North Road, with Scottish classical violinist Nicola Benedetti in just their second-ever concert.

The orchestra, started earlier this year by the school’s deputy director of music Jonathan Murphy, is made up of current Highgate School pupils, as well as former pupils, teachers and parents.

Mr Murphy said: “It grew out of an orchestra we started where we invited former pupils to come back and play. We’ve got ex-pupils, current pupils, parents and friends.

“The youngest member is a 12-year-old current pupil and the oldest member is a parent of a former pupil who is in his 60s. There are no auditions, we just say to people ‘come and play’.”


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HCO’s inaugural concert took place at Highgate School in September and last month they were joined by Ms Benedetti for a performance of the Korngold Violin Concerto.

Mr Murphy, who conducts the HCO, said: “She had come from Chicago after playing at the closing ceremony of the Ryder Cup.

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“The day after our concert she was named female artist of the year at the Classic Brit Awards.

“There aren’t many schools that will put on the Korngold Violin Concerto because it’s such a big piece. It gives our musicians a chance to play a repertoire that really challenges them.”

Last month’s performance also included pupils of Henrietta Barnett School, in Hampstead Garden Suburb, and Fortismere School, in Muswell Hill, as well as a teacher from a Marylebone school.

Following the success of the last two concerts, Mr Murphy is planning another in the new year and is urging any musicians interested in joining the orchestra to get involved.

He added: “The blend and diversity makes for a really vibrant orchestra because we’ve got people of different backgrounds and ages coming together to make music.”

To find out more about HCO, contact Jonathan Murphy by e-mailing jonathan.murphy@highgateschool.org.uk

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