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Dulwich China Combined Orchestra Performs for Charity

November, 2009
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In late October the Dulwich China Combined Orchestra (DCCO) gathered and performed at Dulwich College Shanghai in support of the Tangi Si Migrant School.

Founded in 2007 by Head of Music Fritha Jameson, the annual DCCO experience provides an opportunity for musicians from the Dulwich community to rehearse and perform an orchestral repertoire under the baton of an internationally experienced conductor. DCCO 09, the third in a row, with the largest string section yet, saw the return of American conductor-cellist Sam Matthews, who directed the inaugural DCCO.

dcco-2This year the students from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Tang Si Migrant School also joined the DCCO, the four brave students from Tang Si Migrant School taking the stage as percussion soloists in “Taiko!”  by William Windham.

William Windham’s “Taiko!” was one of four works representing the 20th Century in the DCCO program. The concert opened with Danny Elfman’s cheeky Simpson’s TV show theme, played by the woodwind, brass and percussion sections. Peter Lawson’s The Nineteen Twenties provided the full orchestra with a true challenge as they navigated popular Western tunes from the 1920’s, with their tricky rhythms and jaunty themes which would have been well known in Shanghai all those years ago. The concert was brought to a fitting close with the triumphant Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.

Earlier in the program the DCCO strings offered contrast with an aria from Henry Purcell’s 17th Century tragic opera Dido and Aeneas, with Dulwich College Shanghai GCSE Music student Holly Brooke as soprano soloist. The strings then took the audience into the 18th-Century through the perfection of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

GCSE Music student Tan Yong Jun’s orchestral work Charon of Styx was completed in time for the DCCO to read it through, giving the young composer an invaluable experience in hearing a live orchestra realise his score. Many players were amazed and inspired by the fact they were playing music written by ‘one of their own’.

From the first rehearsal to an evening concert all orchestral members and soloists completed a marvellous journey which saw them striving for excellence, individually and collectively.


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