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Music at Radley

Music at Radley
Music at Radley

Apart from its place in the curriculum, music plays a significant part in the life of the school - both on a daily basis in Chapel, and in a wide range of public concerts, informal workshops, competitions and drama productions.

Almost half the boys at the school have singing or instrumental lessons. Please select the magazine below to read about how singing or music lessons are organised at Radley. The guide can be downloaded and includes information about lessons, practising, reporting and examinations.

Instrumental Music Lessons

Music Contract

College Recordings Available On CD! 

The latest recording of hymns sung by Radley boys is available to purchase. Recorded over a series of Friday Chapel services in the Lent and Summer terms, the CD features hymns sung by the whole College. Also available is the Chapel Choir Christmas CD. Featuring well-known carols, plus new arrangements, and selected from repertoire performed at Carol Services at the College. The CD was recorded in the stunning acoustic of Keble College with professional label Convivium Records. 

Copies of both CDs are available to buy online (click on the photos below) and in Shop. The Chapel Choir Christmas CD will also be released online (iTunes, Spotify) later in the Autumn.

The Music Department is staffed by four specialists and over thirty visiting instrumental and singing teachers. There is a purpose-built concert hall (the Silk Hall), a theatre, an extensive suite of teaching and practice rooms along with a Music Technology facility and recording studio. In addition there is a comprehensive library of recordings, scores, reading and reference books, which is available centrally from the School Library.

All boys in the Shells have one period of class music per academic cycle along with a Music Technology Option. Music is available at GCSE and at AS and A level. A number of boys go on to read music at university or music college, often as choral or organ scholars, and there are many distinguished Old Radleians in the music profession (e.g. John Lubbock, Harry Bicket, Andrew Gant, Michael Dussek).

Outside the classroom there is ample opportunity for a boy to involve himself in music-making at Radley. There is the Chapel Choir and the Choral Society, as well as smaller vocal groups specialising in either light or early music. For instrumentalists there is the Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Big Band and Electric Guitar Orchestra as well as specialist ensembles for strings, wind and brass, along with a variety of chamber music. There are also classical and electric guitar ensembles and rock bands, some coached by staff, but many others organised by boys.

There is a carefully structured set of varied performance opportunities for boys of all abilities and aspirations, ranging from small scale informal concerts, workshops and Performance Classes, to opportunities to perform in the Piano Extravaganza, play concertos with the orchestra, or conduct and play with a professional guest orchestra. There are also various annual instrumental and vocal competitions for which important school prizes are awarded.

In addition boys attend concerts and opera in London or Birmingham and are themselves also involved in performing away from Radley; concerts are staged in London and the Chapel Choir regularly sings Evensong in Cathedrals, Colleges in Oxford and beyond. Recently school ensembles and choirs have also toured to Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain and Estonia. Radley College has a professional Ensemble in Residence, who as well as giving concerts within the College, also works with pupils on composition and performance projects.

Sam Gladstone
Sam Gladstone
My love of sharing music with others really began during my time as organ scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge, where I discovered the thrill of live broadcasts, recordings, performances with professional ensembles and foreign tours, experiences that I now enjoy sharing anew with pupils. More than this, I was immersed in the daily experience of Chapel, making music at the heart of the College community. I became a teacher almost by accident, filling in for lessons during a year at Bradfield College as Organist in Residence. I loved it. A PGCE in London followed, after which I taught at Whitgift and Sevenoaks Schools. I was fortunate to be able to continue to perform and conduct alongside teaching, as Assistant Master of Music at the Chapel Royal in HM Tower of London. Before arriving at Radley as Precentor, I spent five happy years as Director of Music at The Portsmouth Grammar School, another school with a fine musical tradition. I have indulged my passion for new music, learning from pupils as they explore their own musical interests and working alongside them to commission and perform numerous world premieres of music by some of the world’s finest living composers, including music written by pupils themselves. It is a tremendous privilege to make music alongside young people and nothing in my experience has come close to being so rewarding. To be able to do this at Radley is particularly exciting, as part of a talented and committed team in the music department, with so many boys and dons actively involved in music, and in a place where everyone can fulfil their potential and develop musical independence, from the enthusiastic singer in chapel to the performer or composer who wishes to pursue music to the highest level.
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Head of Instrumental Music, Master I/C of Cross Country
I am currently Head of Instrumental Music at Radley and responsible for providing the instrumental and vocal teaching for Radley musicians and supporting their progress. I studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Reading University as a pianist and continue to perform and present masterclasses, lecture-recitals, and seminars on the art of teaching around the world as well as being a Moderator, Examiner and syllabus selector for ABRSM. I am also Master in Charge of X/C at Radley, in my youth (a long time ago) competing for Imperial College. Whilst my job is one big hobby, others include flying model aircraft, gardening and recently, paragliding.