12 year old Charlie from Brent has made excellent progress this year and is becoming a very accomplished violist. His teacher tells us he always plays with energy, enthusiasm and musicality. His knowledge of music theory is improving and his sight-reading is coming on very well; he is on track to take his Grade 5 exam at the end of term, which is most impressive at the age of 12. Charlie leads the violas confidently his school String Ensemble and is the youngest member of the school’s Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also recently taken up the saxophone! As his mentor told us, “Charlie is thriving in every aspect of his music-making.”
Charlie will be graduating next year and we are confident that he will go on to do great things with his music. We caught up with Charlie to see how his Scholarship has been going…
Charlie at our Gala performance at the Royal Academy of Music, July 2019
Why did you decide to play the viola?
I started to play the violin at school and was enjoying it a lot but then my violin teacher Ms Krisztina asked if I would like to switch to the viola. She was a violist herself. I started to play the viola and I really enjoyed it so I continued and have played ever since.
Has your music taken you to some cool places? If so, where?
I was invited to Wembley Stadium to sing the national anthem with the London Youth Choir on the pitch before the 2015 League Cup final began. I played at Wembley Arena with the Brent Junior Orchestra in the summer concert. I’ve sung at the Royal Albert Hall with LYC and have been invited to watch the Classical Brits with London Music Fund. I was in a TV and Radio ad for the Mayor of London cleaner air campaign. I have been to a recording studio to sing for Guy Chambers. I sung at the Barbican a few times and to record with LYC for Tom Chaplin’s Twelve Tales of Christmas album. I am going on tour in July to La Rochelle in France for five days to play with the Brent Youth Concert Pops Orchestra.
What music do you like playing the most?
I enjoy playing movie soundtrack themes such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Imperial March from Star Wars but I also enjoy playing a range of classical music such as Schubert and Bach.
If you could perform alongside someone famous who would it be? Or what musician do you look up to?
Tokio Myers. I saw him at the Classical Brits. I really enjoy his music and energy and really would like to perform with him.
Has the Scholarship enabled you to have new opportunities?
Yes. It has allowed me to accelerate along my music career and develop my understanding. I am working towards Grade 6 Piano, Grade 3 Saxophone and have just taken my Grade 5 Viola. I am a music scholar at my school and I am in two orchestras there as well.
What advice would you give Scholars who will be starting their Scholarship in September?
Join an orchestra, keep your mind fixed on whatever you want to achieve. Try different instruments and don’t give up.