Old Salopian Arts and Activities

Set up following the excellent and varied Old Salopian Art Exhibition held at the Art School in 2010, and taking into account the considerable interest in the significant place that Music and Art holds in Shrewsbury School and the country, all Old Salopians are welcome to become members of the Old Salopian Arts and Activities Club.

The Club pincipally promotes events involving Old Salopians or other Salopians (pupils, parents and former members of staff). Notably, these have included theatre and concert trips and a very well-attended private viewing at the Queen's Galleries, Buckingham Palace in 2013.   Since then Old Salopians have been involved in and/or attended a number of Salopian-related concerts and plays and art exhibitions. 

 Promote your event
Current  Chairman, Peter Fanning,  asks all Old Salopians who are involved in the Arts to send to the office anything they would like to post on this website and on our social media (Facebook and Twitter) sites:  exhibitions, perfomances, events, festivals - anything you would like us to know about and to to help Old Salopians to keep in touch with the considerable activity taking place. Please email: oldsalopian@shrewsbury.org.uk

Arts News and Events also appear on the Old Salopian News pages.

Details of School concerts and arts events are listed on the website under 'Beyond the Classroom'. The current programme is also available to download in pdf format: 60th Season of the Performing Arts at Shrewsbury School - brochure


Latest Arts and Activities News


Thursday 15 June 2017

  • Canaletto in the Queen's Gallery

    The Royal Collection contains the world's finest group of paintings, drawings and prints by Venice's most famous view-painter, Canaletto (1697-1768).  Acquired originally by Canaletto’s agent and dealer, Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice, they were later purchased by the young George III in 1762 along with the rest of Smith's huge collection.

    Old Salopians were given the privileged opportunity to inspect the Canaletto collection in a private viewing at the Queen’s Gallery with Desmond Shawe-Taylor (I 1968-73), Curator to the Royal Collection Trust on Wednesday 24 May 2017.  It proved to offer a wonderful and informative insight into this magical artist’s work, and transported the assembled group to the spectacular delights of eighteenth-century Venice, from the splendours of the Grand Canal and St Mark's Square to its festivals, theatre and masked carnival.  

    For those who were unable to join us, the exhibition now runs at the Queen’s Gallery until 12 November 2017.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

  • 'Sifaka' in concert - "a breath of fresh air in the Salopian landscape"
    Old Salopian, former Moserite and Music Scholar Sam Wilson returned to Shrewsbury last weekend with his six-piece band from Leeds 'Sifaka', who have been setting stages alight with their fusion of soul, rock and African blues. Review by John Moore.

    Arriving in the Maidment Building fresh from highly successful appearances at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Sifaka were a breath of fresh air in the Salopian landscape.

    Their music draws on many roots for its inspiration. The rhythms and sounds of contemporary African popular and traditional music, the rhythm and blues of the late 1960s in the UK, and even jazz inflections and harmonies make their way into the writing, which is always thoughtful, but powerful and immensely accessible at the same time. The musicians are all superb performers, whether on guitars, drums, keyboards or vocals, and in Sam's case on flugelhorn as well!

    Mared, their wonderfully versatile singer, leads the vocal line supported by Sam, who does a lot of the song-writing himself. Mared has a voice of quite extraordinary range and power, which is clearly one of Sifaka’s greatest assets. However, they are a band that is very much the sum of their individual talents, and that combination is a winning one, which will take them a long way we hope.

    Their latest single, Sun Down on Cape Town, is a superb piece of writing. Catchy, funky and with a great hook-line, one cannot help but love it. (Available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUaIKflb1u0)

    As a finale and to acknowledge the clear debt they owe as a band to the past, they finished with Joe Cocker's timeless version of the Beatles' With a Little Help from my Friends, which they played with complete conviction and authentic detail. The spirit of Cocker himself was almost visible in the room, so powerful was their rendition.

    The whole evening was started by a wonderful set from Cameron Bates (S UVI) on keyboard and vocals. Cameron is the real thing, blessed with a wonderful singing voice and genuine brilliance as a songwriter in his own right. The audience loved him, and it was terrific to see a current pupil so capable of supporting a professional act whilst still at school. He is a name to watch out for in the future.

    So, a wonderful evening of great contemporary popular music, with Sam Wilson leading the band so very well. We hope next year to bring other similar Old Salopian talent back to the School, and I'm sure that there will be even more to celebrate in future years.

Friday 5 May 2017

  • Standing ovation for pianist Galin Ganchev (OS)
    Galin Ganchev (M 2010-15), one of the most excitingly talented tyro concert pianists to emerge from Shrewsbury School's Music Department, made a triumphant return to the Alington Hall on Friday 28th April. Review by James Fraser-Andrews.

    Galin Ganchev (M 2010-15), one of the most excitingly talented tyro concert pianists to emerge from Bradley-Fulgoni’s bustling stable in the Maidment, made a triumphant return to Shrewsbury School on Friday 28th April.

    More mature in tone and balance, and with a technique even more lustrous after hard-won hours of polishing at the Royal Academy, this young Bulgarian artist stunned a packed Alington Hall audience. How satisfying it was to see so many pupils, staff and regular crowd, used to gorge on fare from the piano world’s biggest stars, marvel at a performance of such style and presence that took its precocious place alongside this roll-call of famous names with such assurance.

    Galin brought back to the banks of the Severn a programme that gleamed with the bright-lit energy of the metropolis. To begin, pianist-composer Schumann’s Humoreske in B-flat maintained a fine line in wit, whimsy and the tenderest of song lines, and, albeit with occasional glimpses of nervousness, strong powers of conception wove a clear thread through this music of such episodic, capricious nature. It was a bold statement of imaginative intent from an artist clearly immersed in his art.

    Written for the young Tatyana Nikolayeva, Shostokovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, gnomic yet feisty chamber pieces for two hands, brought the first half to a finely spun and ultimately declarative close in these other young hands gifted with steel-and-feathery touch. They allowed intimate voicings to be held in tension with a relish for some fearsome counterpoint.

    The Chopin Mazurkas which ushered in the second half – in A minor, A-flat and F-sharp minor – gave Galin ample opportunity to conduct a more stately dance with a cultured left hand that has clearly profited from expert tuition of Ian Fountain at the Academy. But the pièce-de-résistance was Prokoviev’s first ‘war sonata’, No.6, where convulsive, jagged batteries of sound were balanced with icily irridescent colours conjuring all the threat, uncertainty and joyous momentaneity of the USSR in 1940, the year of its composition. Blistering technique in the salvoes of its conclusion commanded the appreciative audience to its feet, including maestro Peter Bradley-Fulgoni, whose nurturing of Galin’s precocious talent was justly acknowledged during the interval by Shrewsbury School’s Director of Music, John Moore.

    By way of encore, Galin treated us to one of his own compositions, a soulful nocturne that managed to bridge all the harmonic intensities of the evening and yet becalm the audience back into the spring night, the whiff of pianistic gelignite hanging indelibly in the air. From one great pianist-composer at the start to another manifestly on his way. Galin Ganchev. You heard him here first.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

  • "Shrewsbury School music at its very best"
    A review by Mr Middleton of last Sunday's stunning concert in the Cadogan Hall, London, performed by the School's Wind and Symphony Orchestras and combining current and Old Salopian musicians.

    Any review of a Shrewsbury School concert runs the risk of very quickly exhausting available superlatives.  Forgive me, therefore, if I begin by proclaiming that the quality of musicianship at Sunday evening’s concert in London’s Cadogan Hall and the electric energy of the programme really had to be heard to be believed.  This was Shrewsbury music at its very best.

    After a Friday evening concert in the Alington Hall for pupils and the local community, two coachloads of musicians travelled down to London early on Sunday morning for a few snatched hours of rehearsal ahead of an evening performance in the grand venue of Cadogan Hall. 

    Following a reception for Old Salopians, parents, guardians and other friends of Shrewsbury School, the concert opened with Sir Malcolm Arnold’s rousing Scottish Dances performed by the Wind Orchestra and conducted with typical verve by Maria McKenzie.  As a Scotsman recovering from the humiliation of the Calcutta Cup the day before, the ebullience of the four movements did wonders in restoring my deflated mood, the soaring flutes and earthy clarinets almost transporting me back to the heath and heather of homeland. Ah, ye bonny banks and braes…

    There was no time to become too misty-eyed and home-sick, however, for there soon came the first of the solo items: Steffan Williams (O) performing the first movement of Horovitz’s Euphonium Concerto. This was an extraordinarily complex piece played with aplomb by this highly talented musician, a final year student who is off to study Human Sciences at Oxford University next year and is no doubt destined for great things.

    Greatness was likewise evident in the extraordinary performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major by Nateewet Ruechuseth (Ch).  Played from memory and with an exhilarating energy combined with control and poise, the performance was a tour de force and an outstanding achievement from such a young musician.  Four hours of practice a day, I’m told, is what it takes to play to this kind of standard, and I don’t doubt it, such was the faultless quality of the performance. 

    Similar poise and effortless musicianship was evident in the third of the solo items, Upper Sixth Former Jemima Price taking the stage to perform Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra.  We were treated to yet another masterclass, with Jemima’s beautiful tone and timbre mellifluously rising and falling with the cadence of the piece. She fully deserved the rapturous applause that was bestowed upon her by an appreciative and highly impressed audience.

    As we moved towards the Interval, we were treated to the glorious Finlandia by Sibelius, a rousing hymn to the composer’s home nation underscored by a political tension resulting from the oppression of Russian rule under Tsar Nicholas II.   The context of the piece is fascinating, but as a piece of music it is sublime and a fitting way to end the first half of the concert.  Most wonderful of all was the fact that the piece was conducted by Old Salopian Henry Kennedy (I 2009-14, who is now studying clarinet and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. His energetic command of the orchestra on the conductor’s rostrum was enthused about over half-time glasses of wine by audience members drowning in superlatives.

    A shorter second half provided us with two final gems: Haydn’s ‘London’ Symphony in D Major and Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No 2.  The first is a firm favourite amongst Salopians and the Cadogan Hall was, of course, a fitting occasion to perform this work commissioned during the second of Haydn’s two London residencies in England.  First performed at the King’s Theatre on 4th May 1795 led by the composer himself, Haydn wrote in his diary that “the whole company was thoroughly pleased and so was I.  I made 4000 gulden on this evening: such a thing is possible only in England”.  The Shrewsbury School version was conducted by Director of Music John Moore who, whilst not earning 4000 gulden for his efforts, can nevertheless be equally pleased with the performance of the symphony and the skilled manner in which his musicians brought the piece alive.

    I hope I haven’t exhausted the superlatives entirely, for the final piece, certainly for me, was the most memorable performance of the evening.  With an orchestra composed of pupils, staff, music teachers and Old Salopians, we were soon given something quite strikingly different to Haydn with the hypnotic swish and sway of the Mexican composer Márquez.  In his own words, the Danzón is “a music full of sensuality and qualitative seriousness… which old Mexican people continue to dance with a touch of nostalgia and a jubilant escape toward their own emotional world.”  The six-strong percussion section were in their element on bongos, snare, timpani, bass drum, maracas and woodblock, and John Moore seemed to be less conducting and more dancing, such was the fun he seemed to be having with the music.  It was infectious and whilst the audience showed suitable English restraint and limited their outpouring of emotion to the odd tapping of toe or nodding of head, the finale was met with a standing ovation from members of the audience and even a whoop or two (possibly from the Headmaster). 

    John Moore once again created a mesmerising evening of music along with his team of staff and of course his wonderful musicians both Salopians present and past.  Bravo!

    A footnote from Director of Music, John Moore:

    I would like to express my deep gratitude to those Old Salopian Musicians who gave up their Sunday to come and take part in the concert: Chris Carver (viola), Patrick Craig (harp), Ollie Darrington (percussion), Sam Grainger (viola/recording engineer), Richard Hudson (trombone), Andrew Hughes (cello), Louise Hughes (Violin) (OS Elect), Henry Kennedy (clarinet/conductor), Laura Nightingale (cello) Henry Southern (percussion), David Theodore (oboe), Alastair Thomas (bassoon), Henry Thomas (trumpet).

    We are immensely proud of these wonderful musicians, and it was also so heartening to see many more OS musicans during the course of the day and in the audience at the concert in the evening. Following on from the highly successful Epiphany Evensong in St Mary-le-Bow Church in London in January, the Cadogan Hall concert further strengthens the links between the School and its wonderful extended Salopian community. We will hope to plan more events for the future, and what our pupils gain from this contact is immeasurable.

    Floreat Salopia.

Monday 6 February 2017

  • Service of Epiphany at St Mary-le-Bow

    If ever an advertisement was needed for the standard of the Arts both at Shrewsbury School and in the Old Salopian community, it was the service of Readings and Carols for Epiphany held on Wednesday 11th January at St Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside. Winter blues were blown away by a choir (assembled by Richard Eteson (G 89-93) and Patrick Craig ( Ch 82-87)) which resembled a Who’s Who of Salopian choristers across the decades and readers ranging from a former Lord Mayor of London to one of the first cohort of Old Salopian Ladies. The service was conducted by Gavin Williams, former Chaplain (93-02), and attended by over 80 Salopians and guests, many of whom repaired to the local hostelry afterwards where there was much talk of a repeat performance next year.

Forthcoming Arts Events

Wednesday 1 November 2017

  • 16:00
    A Guided Tour of the British Museum's Parthenon (Elgin) Sculptures

    Find out more about the Elgin Marbles with Nicholas Barber (SH 1954-58) a former British Museum Trustee

    If you have ever wanted to know the inside story of the controversy behind the so-called ‘Elgin Marbles’, or simply have never had the opportunity to see them in all their splendour, then please take advantage of Nicholas Barber’s expertise and join us for his special tour of the marbles at the British Museum on 1st November at 4.00pm. Nicholas will place the marbles in their historical context, explain their significance and symbolism (especially the famous frieze) and describe their fascinating story. He will also comment on their controversial acquisition by Lord Elgin, as well as more generally describe the method of their display and their split location between London and Athens.

    The tour commences at 4.00pm, so please meet promptly by the Information desk in the British Museum’s Great Court. Following the talk there will be a drinks reception to begin at about 5.15pm at The Plough (1st floor), 27 Museum Street, WC1A 1LH.

    Cost: £15.00/ticket – tour, 'whisper'-sound system and drinks/nibbles included. Please book tickets at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/401208, or contact khodge@shrewsbury.org.uk to secure places.  We are limited to a maximum of 50 places, and so are restricting tickets to two per booking. Tickets must be purchased by Friday 20th October and no refunds will be made after this date, unless there is particularly high demand and the Club is able fill the outstanding place (s).

    Location:  The British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG.

    Further Background Information:

    The Parthenon in Athens was built nearly 2,500 years ago as a temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena. The building was altered and the sculptures much damaged over the course of the centuries. Used as a gunpowder store in 1687, a huge explosion blew the roof off and destroyed a large portion of the remaining sculptures and the building has been a ruin ever since.

    By 1800 only about half of the original sculptural decoration remained. Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, acting with the full knowledge and permission of the British and Greek authorities, removed about half of the remaining sculptures from the fallen ruins; the other half remaining in Athens. Lord Elgin was passionate about ancient Greek art and transported the sculptures to Britain. Their arrival in London was to make a profound impression upon western ideas of art and taste. 

    Despite a programme of restoration of the Acropolis monuments, the Greek authorities have now removed all the architectural sculptures from the Parthenon. Archaeologists worldwide are agreed that the surviving sculptures could never be re-attached to the existing structure.

    The sculptures in London, sometimes known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’, have been on permanent public display in the British Museum since 1817. Here, this unparalleled collection is seen by a world audience and actively researched by international scholars. Since the early 1980s, Greek governments have argued for the permanent removal back to Athens of all the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum; it has also disputed the British Museum Trustees’ legal title to the sculptures and the debate continues.