Music at John Lyon has long held a strong reputation, thanks to its pursuit of excellence alongside a culture of participation and enjoyment.
Our Music School houses a 120-seater recital hall equipped with two Steinway concert grand pianos, a state-of-the-art recording studio and eight individual practice studios. Concerts also take place in the larger Boyd Campbell Hall.
There are no fewer than 17 groups and ensembles at John Lyon, including String Ensemble, Flute Choir, Rock Band and The Pride of Lyon’s Chamber Choir. These groups, as well as soloists, get to perform at numerous concerts each term, and these performance skills translate into examination achievement, with many of our musicians gaining their Grade 8 at an early age.
The Music Department maintains strong links with the Royal Academy of Music and the London Chamber Orchestra, the latter of which allows our pupils to act as mentors to young schoolchildren from around London.
The John Lyon Musician of the year for 2021 is guitarist Kassem Azzawi, who wowed guest judge Jess Gillam with his technical playing to beat a host of other fantastic instrumental and vocal performances.
Seven John Lyon singers took to the professional stage to perform in one of the UK’s leading orchestra’s centenary season concerts. The Pride of Lyon’s chamber choir, made up of John Lyon singers in all years, was invited to sing two pieces for the interval of the London Chamber Orchestra’s November concert, part of the LCO 100 centenary concert season.
The pre-recorded part songs, Liebe and Zum Rundetanz (D.983A/B) both by Franz Schubert, were filmed in the School’s Boyd Campbell Hall and then played out in the interval of the concert which featured American violinist Benjamin Beilman and Principals from the LCO, who played a programme of Bach, Schubert and Farrenc. The concert, and the John Lyon performance, were introduced by virtuoso saxophonist Jess Gillam.
The latest Solos Concert saw some wonderful performances, including Harsh Hingorani singing Trade Winds by Francis Keel, based on the salt-water Ballads by the poet John Masefield.
Students also regularly come together with staff to perform, seen in this rendition of Toto’s Hold the Line.
The National Youth Boys’ Choir has a John Lyon singer in its ranks, with Richard Garcia-Kelleher (10JEB) having been accepted as a member. Richard, who has been a chorister at St Mary’s Church on the Hill, was put forward by the School’s Visiting Singing Teacher, Mr Rhys Bowden. As a member of the choir, Richard will receive the best choral training possible,
including unbeatable opportunities to develop skills in music, performance, recording, leadership and teamwork.
As well as performance, composition is also encouraged through an annual School competition. GCSE pupil Patrick Colson recently scored a set of four mini film style pieces titled Coronavirus in Britain, which impressed judges, who commented: “A vivid build-up and pleasing use of ostinato in the first section. The build into B flat minor is particularly successful.
Patrick is a gifted musician, who regularly performs on piano, accordion, drums and clarinet.
Our musical history
Orchestras, choirs and other groups have a long history at John Lyon and a number of pupils have gone on to have musical success. These include Andrew Carwood, director of music at St Paul’s Cathedral and Michael McCarthy, musical director at Washington National Cathedral.