Berkhamsted Group | 14.12.2016

National Orchestra and Choir accolade for Berkhamsted trio

National Orchestra and Choir accolade for Berkhamsted trio


Berkhamsted School’s young musicians Freddie Carter and Madeleine Murray together with singer Olivia Conner have earned places at the National Children’s Orchestra and the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain. 


The trio will enjoy travelling the nation, and benefit from playing at the finest venues in the country throughout 2017.  Both the Choir and the Orchestra are described as having a ‘world class’ reputation with an intensely competitive application process.

9-year-old Madeline, an exceptionally talented cellist, is said to have reached the standard of grade 6 by learning through the Suzuki method – a philosophy that mirrors the learning of a native language through listening and repeating.

Olivia, in Year 7, has earned her place at the National Children’s Choir only months after joining Berkhamsted School on a Music Scholarship.

Freddie, also in Year 7 has been playing the cello since he was five years old and successfully passed several days of auditions in Hitchin and Luton. 

He said “Earning a place at the National Children’s Orchestra is one of my biggest achievements in life so far.  It was really quite daunting arriving at the audition with so much at stake, but the panel were really welcoming and made me feel right at home. 

“I try to practise every day for at least half an hour. I also play at home with my dad and accompany my mum and sister, who play violin. 

“I’m particularly looking forward to the week-long residential courses the programme offers. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people really well. I’ve already made some really good friends at a regional orchestra, so I’m hoping this will continue.” 

Freddie could follow the pathway of Year 11 (and fellow member of Bees House) Joe Beadle who has progressed to the National Youth Orchestra and received rave reviews in The Telegraph for his performances at the BBC Proms this year. 

Freddie added “I hope to progress with the orchestra, my ultimate aim is to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, that would be really amazing.” 

Fiona Gillett, a cello teacher at Berkhamsted School who has taught Freddie since he joined in 2014 said “Freddie has progress very well, he has a good natural ear for hearing and feeling the music and those qualities will help him as his technique develops further. 

“He plays the cello very intuitively, and he will experiment during the lessons until he works something out.  The demands of playing in an orchestra mean you have to be able to sight-read and produce music with no time to prepare, and Freddie is very competent when put under this pressure.  

“It’s a tremendous achievement for anybody to get in to the National Children’s Orchestra and National Children’s Choir, comparable to representing your country in an activity such as football or netball. 

“Freddie, Madeleine and Olivia have all worked very hard to get to this level. They will benefit from this national programme enormously and they will have the chance to network, learn from each other, and develop so many transferable skills, which will help them whether they pursue a career in music or not.”

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