Sax quartet progresses to world final

Four pupils from Bolton School will be travelling to France to take part in the finals of a new international music competition

A saxophone quartet from Bolton School has made it through to the last eight of an international competition which will be held at this summer’s World Saxophone Congress at the Cité de la musique et de la danse in Strasbourg, France.

The school’s senior quartet comprises four students: year-13 pupils Matthew Hotham and Harriet Gribbin, year-11 pupil Zoe Stirzaker and 19-year-old former pupil Natasha Lomas. They call themselves the Namahazo Quartet.

Music teacher Miss Fiona Berry said: “To gain their place in the semi-final round of the competition the quartet had to submit a video which included a performance of two pieces. These pieces were chosen from a set repertoire list and would challenge any professional-level quartet. The group has had to learn many contemporary techniques and put in hours of practice to meet the demands of these pieces. Their achievement is all the more remarkable as musicians had to be under the age of 35 and entrants could apply from around the world.

“As you can imagine, they are elated at the news, and given that they were up against quartets of a much older age, this is a remarkable achievement. They now have to learn two further pieces from the set repertoire list, which they will perform in Strasbourg on 7 July.”

The new competition has been organised by SaxOpen and the Strasbourg Conservatoire and Académie Supérieure de Musique and the finals will take place from 7-9 July as part of the SaxOpen World Saxophone Congress and Festival. The 15 highest-scoring quartets are invited to the semi-final in Strasbourg on 7 July. The best six quartets then go on to compete in the final.

The sax quartet will fly out to France ahead of the school’s saxophone choir who are also due to attend the World Saxophone Congress. At the same time, the school’s jazz band has been invited to play at the Music for Youth National Festival.

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