Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra combines the talents of over fifty instrumental players who work intensely each week with a carefully structured programme of sectional and full rehearsals. It gives regular performances in the Memorial Hall to very large audiences and also uses the Ellis Theatre for more intimate events. Some of the best players and vocalists are invited to perform as soloists with the orchestra in the Lent or Summer Terms.

The orchestra's busy schedule has included high profile charity concerts, outreach events for local primary schools and the exciting new side-by-side project with Marlborough's professional orchestra in partnership, Southbank Sinfonia.

Chamber Orchestra

The Chamber Orchestra prides itself on a dynamic and vigorous style, frequently performing without a conductor and being directed from the leader's chair. Its constitution is drawn from the most advanced string players and is mainly scholar based. In recent years, it has received high acclaim for the diversity of its repertoire and exciting performances of Holst, Benjamin Britten and Carl Davis and for performing with celebrity narrators such as Robert Hardy in its 'themed' concerts.

Chamber Music

Regular weekly sessions are organised for groups at all levels to rehearse chamber music and the more successful ensembles perform in College concerts, music festivals and, occasionally, other special events at outside venues. Cross-curricular repertoire is also included, such as the combination of strings and voice.


Brasser is a full wind band of seventy and is the flagship of the wind department, performing at concerts regularly throughout the year. The repertoire is varied, from contemporary works to the more traditional repertoire and, each year, the band is featured in the wind department's own popular Christmas Concert.

Both the Wind Band and the Big Band have reached the finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth on two occasions, placing them amongst the top ensembles of their kind in the country. Brasser and Big Band recently toured South Africa.

Big Band

The Big Band rehearses weekly and performs regularly during school concerts. The full-size line up of trumpets, trombones, saxophones and rhythm section plays a variety of swing and rock as well as traditional folk music. The ensemble provides as many opportunities for whole band improvisation and playing by ear as possible. This group is a real bridge between formal, teacher-led activity and more informal music.

Junior Strings

Junior Strings is an inclusive group open to all string players from the Shell and Remove year groups (Years 9 & 10). Repertoire is frequently tailored to the specific instrumentation of the group and utilises the full range of world music. Special arrangements are commissioned where appropriate and the group has successfully affiliated with the Junior Singers for specific performances at the end of the year.

Concert Band

Concert Band is for the less experienced instrumentalist and, in this context, process becomes more important than product. Over the year, each pupil is expected to perform with an accompanist in front of the rest of the group, in an informal master class situation. Advice is given on stagecraft and presentation skills as well as the essential elements of solo playing.

Group improvisation is explored along with playing by ear, non-verbal communication, conducting, composition and sight reading. There is also an introduction to the ABRSM theory requirements. DVDs are shown and discussions held about major performing groups from around the globe.