Music has been central to life at Winchester ever since its foundation in 1382 when William of Wykeham made provision for 16 choirboys, Quiristers, who still provide the treble line for the Chapel Choir. Past organists and Masters of Music include such esteemed figures as Thomas Weelkes, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, and Sir George Dyson. The School currently has over sixty Music Scholars and Music Exhibitioners, and music is an important activity in the lives of most Wykehamists. Two thirds of the boys learn an instrument, while many learn two or three. There are over seven hundred individual instrumental lessons given each week by a visiting staff of over fifty specialist teachers as well as six highly experienced full-time staff.
There are two orchestras, a string orchestra, a Baroque ensemble, string quartets, a double reed ensemble, clarinet ensemble, jazz and blues groups, rock groups, a flute ensemble, four brass ensembles, five choirs, numerous smaller ensembles, and a regular programme of chamber music, as well as informal concerts that enable every boy to perform. The School is also active in commissioning and performing new music for their choirs and instrumental ensembles.
With the extension to the Music School completed in 2004, we now offer excellent facilities for music-making, with fifty teaching and practice rooms, a fully-equipped music technology classroom, recording studio, editing suite, percussion studio and rock room.
Another important aspect of music at Winchester is our work with the local community. This includes membership of the Hampshire Music Service Hub, concerts for primary schools, joint concerts with local choirs, chamber music workshops with sixth form colleges and members of Hampshire Music Service ensembles, and public access to all our concerts, the vast majority of which are free. The department also runs a local music and dementia programme.
Our aim is to enable every boy to experience the highest quality and the widest range of music-making, whether as a performer or listener. These web pages are designed to indicate this range and quality of music-making. If you have further enquiries, please contact the Master of Music, Mr DS Thomas .
A new cd recorded by Chapel Choir has just been released by Convivium Records. ‘Stanford Choral Music' (CR027) contains some of Stanford's best loved sacred choral pieces, and also some previously unrecorded works. It was recorded in July in the stunning setting of Merton College, Oxford, with its splendid new organ, and the cd is on sale in Cornflowers.
In 2004 the Friends of Winchester College produced a leaflet on the
new Music School