YoungReporters at OCMF

The Oxford Chamber Music Festival was founded in 2000 by the Oxford born violinist Priya Mitchell and has gained the reputation of being one of the most exciting music festivals in Europe. The concerts are given in Holywell Music Room, the oldest pupose-built music room in Europe, and hence, Britain’s first music hall.


Peter and the Wolf

Sold out and highly appreciated: 'Peter and the Wolf' at Oxford Chamber Music Festival. The New College School 3rd-years (7 year old boys) drew their favourite characters from the piece together with their instruments.

Peter sThe Wolf mid1 sThe Wolf and Narrator mid sGrandpa 4 s

Read more: Peter and the Wolf

Meeting the same thoughts

by Lloyd Langley, 13

Meeting Marianna again, the wonderful pianist who had visited us a few says ago at our school, now giving a concert at the Holywell Music Room, was a delight. And this time I also had the treat of meeting pianist, Dirk Mommertz. Dirk loves playing chamber music especially with a group of friends, which he often gets the chance to do.

I was interested to find out whether he agreed with Marianna about being able to tell what a composer is like through his or her music. Unsurprisingly he did agree completely. He also agreed that it can be a challenge playing on a different piano to usual, as each one can be very different. when I was listening and watching these two brilliant pianists along with the other musicians they were playing with, it was very noticeable that when the speed or volume of the music changed, their whole body movement changed, especially in the violins and violas. I asked Dirk and Marianna about this and whether they do it to make the music more visual. As it turns out, it is not artificial at all, they get lost in the music and it takes them away. “The music is in control” as said by Marianna, they barely even notice they are doing it.

Feel the music

by Oliver Elly, 13

Marianna AbingdonThe first piece that Marianna Shirinyan plays is an Impromptu by Schubert. It has a very fast paced melody, yet is very smooth. It reminds me of a storm approaching, then it crescendos into a spikier melody that represents the storm overhead before going back to the more legato melody as the storm disappears.

The second piece is a contrast to the first, as it is very calm and relaxing. The piece makes me think of a serene spring day with snow on the ground and pink blossom of a cherry tree swirling in time to the flow of the music. The music makes me feel calm and peaceful. The piece is called "The man I love" and George Gershwin composed it.

The third piece is a traditional dance music, native to Marianna’s home country of Armenia. The music is the fastest paced of all of them and I am able to picture the dance going on. The notes are fast, like the sound of running feet and dramatic to show the great feats that would be performed in the dance. The dance involves men standing on each other’s shoulder in a circle.

For the final piece, which is "Für Elise", we all stand upon the stage with the piano. This makes me feel closer to the music and that I almost understand it better because I can see it being played better and feel the vibrations of it through the piano.

"I am very lucky"

by Thomas Hart, 13

It was night. Huge imposing edifices rose up from the ground around me, bathed in red and black light; like demons climbing from hell - applause erupted around the cold theatre - what an amazing performance of Gershwin’s ‘The Man I Love.’

It is so amazing how this compilation of dramatic chords and minor scales could conjure up such a picture in my mind, so vivid. The piece has such a moody feel; minor chords, arpeggios and scales creating the image in my head in such a delicate way.

The skill in which Marianna Shirinyan played, her fingers dancing around the piano, was truly special. As a musician myself, though nowhere near her quality, I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to get a piece to that level and I implore you to recognise her talent and tenacity by going along to The Oxford Playhouse to marvel at the incredible musicians that play there.

One of the questions we put to Marianna was: “Do you think of your performing and practicing as work, as it is your profession?” She replied: “If you truly love your work, then you have something very special - I am very lucky.”

Lovely to listen to

by Lloyd Langley, 13

Marianna Shirinyan is a very talented pianist from Armenia, she started playing when she was only six and has developed her skill to become a wonderful musician who is lovely to listen to.

When asked whether different pianos were different to play, she said yes they are. This surprised me. As I am not a pianist, I assumed that all pianos were the same in that they all have the same keys. As a trombonist, while I am playing, I don’t have to get used to the instrument, to me they all seem the same. However, the keys on a piano are sometimes slightly bigger and so it is easy to play a wrong note. Also they can react differently to being played softly and loudly. So before playing in a concert, Marianna takes a while to get used to the paino and figure out how it plays. She is that much more aware of how she is playing and the music she is making, and the same goes for the piece.

She even said that when playing a piece written by a male, she could tell the difference between one written by a female. Both of these statements show how much precaution Marianna takes while playing to notice the little differences like these and how attentive she is while playing as well.