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It’s a Prom date with a difference for one John Lyon musician

The school prom is something students look forward to at the end of Summer Term, but for one John Lyon musician his summer Prom is on a much grander scale.

Sebastian Clifford-Varley will take to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 13th July to perform with the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble for the First Night of the 2018 Proms.

Year 11 trombonist Seb is one of just 30 talented musicians aged 16-25 selected for the ensemble for this concert, after he applied to be a part of the group which comes together in different forms to stage large performances each summer.

The Proms concert #1 is an all-British season launch, featuring two musical giants who composed responses to the First World War; Gostav Hoslt (The Planets) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (Toward the Unknown Region).

But the John Lyon musician’s big moment will come in a brand-new work, Five Telegrams, by Anna Meredith. Commissioned by the WWI Centenary Art Commission 14-18 NOW and created with 59 Productions, the producers of the stage show War Horse, the work draws on communications sent by young soldiers in 1918 and features specially produced digital projections, creating a unique spectacle.

First Night of the Proms can be seen on BBC2 from 8.30pm on Friday 13th July.
It is also broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as well as the BBC Proms website.


After his Prom concert, it’s shaping up to be a successful year for Seb, who has also tasted great success at the Royal College of Music (RCM), where he will soon join the Junior Department Symphony Orchestra and several senior instrumental ensembles. And as well as spotting his instrumental skills, the RCM has also offered the John Lyon musician a place in their Chamber Choir as well as their elite flagship singing group, the Parry Voices.

He has also been awarded a trombone seat in the Duet Philharmonic, an enormous symphony orchestra made up of the best-of-the-best from British schools which comes together every two years to perform large, complex works. At the concert in the Royal Festival Hall in 2019, Seb will join returning John Lyon musicians Lewis Johnston and Nicholas Berezovsky for a programme of Wagner, Stravinsky and Mahler.


John Lyon is an independent school, a member of HMCISC and is reviewed in the Good Schools Guide.

Pupils typically join John Lyon in Years 7, 9 and 12, largely from a North West London catchment area including Harrow, Wembley, Stanmore, Pinner, Watford, Rickmansworth, Northwood, Ruislip, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Southall, Ealing, Acton, Edgware, Brent Cross, Finchley, Barnet, Camden, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, as well as other parts of Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

See forthcoming open events, concerts and exhibitions on our What’s On page.