News Students Perform Brilliantly 14.01.2022

Five Collyer’s students have been successful in their applications to their chosen music conservatoire. The students are Gemma Cowieson, Archie Freeman, Luca Imperiale, Georgia Smith, and Nathaniel Taberner-Smith.

Collyer’s Director of Music, Ben Dowsett explained: “The musicians were required to audition on their chosen instrument, as well submitting a written application in which they have to demonstrate their technical and academic ability, and most of all their overall musicianship. There is significant competition for places at conservatoire, often from students who have studied in the independent sector or at junior conservatoires.

“The success for these students is largely down to their huge talents and the unique partnership between West Sussex Music and Collyer’s, allowing outstanding musical tuition, something that I hope will continue to grow.”

Gemma Cowieson said: “Receiving an offer from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Leeds Conservatoire was something I had originally thought would not have been possible, but thanks to the encouragement from friends, my A Level music classmates and teachers at Collyers, I was not only fully supported but inspired to pursue my studies as a pianist. I’m extremely grateful to my piano teacher Sue Chan, and Alison Sutton, who have provided me with invaluable advice and support throughout my time at college.”

Archie Freeman said: “I’m delighted and relieved to have secured a place at the Royal Northern College of Music to study violin.  It would not have been possible without the support of the college’s music department and particularly that of our fantastic pianist, Alison Sutton.”

Luca Imperiale said: “It is with great excitement that I have accepted my place at the Royal College of Music to study recorder in the Historical Performance department, with clarinet as my second study. To have been offered a place at RCM with a scholarship towards my tuition fees is a very exciting prospect indeed.

“I would like at this point to mention what a fabulous help and support Collyer’s have been during the application process, in particular Ben Dowsett for his invaluable support and advice, and Avril Lynskey for her help.”

Georgia Smith said: “Being offered a place at Trinity Laban (conservatoire) has been a big confidence boost for me and is a huge privilege.

“Studying the subject I love has been extremely challenging during the pandemic, but the encouragement I have received from my teachers, in particular Ben Dowsett, and my friends has ensured that I stayed on the right path.”

Jazz Saxophonist Nathaniel Taberner-Smith said: “I’m thrilled and excited to be offered a place at Leeds College of Music.”

The music experiences and opportunities offered by Collyer’s has played a major role in bringing the students to the standard required for applying to conservatoire. The students had to audition for some places in person and others by submitting online videos, and then having online interviews.

Ben Dowsett added: “To help the students prepare they have had multiple performance opportunities and Collyer’s has contributed heavily towards their instrumental lesson costs and for them to have accompaniment rehearsals with our accompanist Alison Sutton.”

The opportunities that Collyer’s provided, include: a bursary towards the cost of their individual instrumental lessons with tutors at Collyer’s (who are either West Sussex Music staff or Associate tutors), taking part in college ensembles such as the choir and orchestra and performing in Sinfonia, and a variety of performing opportunities such as the lunchtime concert recital series at Collyer’s.

In addition to their studies at Collyer’s, the students take part in West Sussex Music County ensembles, some of whom started as a result of meeting students in their studies at Collyer’s.

Ben said: “I am exceptionally proud of the students. The journey to music college takes many years of practice to develop the required skills, with a significant commitment level, both in individual practice and playing in ensembles. Maintaining that level of commitment during the pandemic has been exceptionally challenging for them, with little chance of performance or even face to face lessons for much of the last 2 years. During their time at Collyer’s, I am delighted we have enabled these students to hone their skills in preparation for their auditions.”

Collyer’s Principal Dan Lodge said: “Huge congratulations to Gemma, Archie, Luca, Georgia and Nathaniel, they are a credit to Collyer’s.”


Photo credit : Tilly Stone