All pupils at MCS lead an active musical life:

  • Singing every day in Chapel
  • The hotly contested House Singing Competition
  • Junior School House Music Festival, Carol Services and Grand Concerts
  • Whole school Senior School performances (Click to watch Rutter’s Gloria at the Sheldonian Theatre)

Musicians regularly perform in Oxford’s wonderful venues:

  • The Sheldonian Theatre
  • SJE Arts
  • College Chapels
  • The University Church

The standard of music is astonishingly high, with recent repertoire including:

  • Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony
  • Dvorak’s ‘New World’ Symphony
  • Fauré’s Requiem
  • Parry’s I was Glad
  • Orff’s Carmina Burana
  • Elgar’s Serenade for Strings

The annual Oxford Festival of the Arts and our extensive Chamber Music programme offer our musicians wonderful opportunities to perform with professional ensembles including most recently:

  • London Mozart Players
  • Southbank Sinfonia
  • ORA
  • James Gilchrist masterclass

Sheldonian Concerts

The annual Sheldonian Concert is a school highlight each year with performances from the Symphony Orchestra, Choral Society and all boys in the 2nd Form. The Orchestra usually performs a major orchestral work, such as Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony; the 2nd Form sing an upper voice work (in parts) to give them the experience of performing in public; and the Choral Society usually perform a major work, accompanied by instrumentalists from the school, for example Fauré’s Requiem.

In addition, the whole school has learnt major works and in recent years have performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and John Rutter’s Requiem. 

Music at Magdalen

Music at Magdalen Concerts in November and March at SJE Arts on the Iffley Road showcase the huge variety of music that is on offer at the school from the various ensembles.

Jazz

May Bank Holiday is celebrated with An Evening of Jazz & Blues, a spectacular range of performances by the Jazz Bands, Close Harmony Groups and a whole host of pupil led groups.

The Parasol Jazz Evening sees the school collaborate with young people who are members of Parasol Project.

The Jazz Band regularly performs at the opening of the Oxford Festival of Arts and at the Dorchester Festival.

House Singing

Hotly contested each year, House Singing brings the whole school together in a wonderful celebration of the school’s music. Every member of the Senior School performs in their house song, and the Small Groups section of the competition provides an opportunity for the most talented singers to arrange, rehearse and direct an a capella performance.

Chamber Concerts

Chamber Concerts throughout the year allow the top musicians to perform in a formal concert, both as soloists and in chamber groups.

The Grove Auditorium Concert in February showcases the best chamber music in the school as well as giving pianists the opportunity to accompany singers. In preparation, professional musicians visit the school and undertake a series of performance workshops with each group.

Teatime Concerts

Weekly Friday afternoon Teatime Concerts are an informal chance for pupils of all ages and abilities to gain performance experience in a relaxed and informal setting.

Services

Music is integral to the Chapel Services on four days a week as the choir leads the hymn singing, while on Fridays, Music and Meditation features performances by Sixth Form musicians. The choir and whole school regularly sing sacred music as part of Choral Prayers.

The Choral Society and Magdalen Sixth Choir perform services throughout the year in venues across Oxford. These include Carol Services in Magdalen Chapel, the end of year Commemoration Service in the University Church and evensong in a variety of college chapels.

Our pupil school organists accompany all services and rehearsals and each year singers and organists achieve scholarships to university.

Tours

The Music Tour takes place every two years at the end of the Trinity Term, giving pupils the chance to perform in major venues around Europe. Recently these have been to Prague, Slovenia, Spain and most recently, San Marco in Italy.

Music in the Community

    • L6th Musicians give weekly concerts in Primary Schools and Nursing Homes as part of the Community Service Programme
    • Annual Jazz Concert with Parasol Project Charity
    • Each year, Primary School pupils join us for a singing workshop, working with L6th
    • Large-scale performances with primary school pupils from the local areas, joining with MCS senior musicians, such as the recent Multi-lingual Concert at the Sheldonian Theatre, involving 500 children singing in eight languages. You can watch a clip of it here.
  • Jazz Band perform bi-annually at the Dorchester Festival
  • MCS Chorus – a choir for parents, OWs, staff and friends of MCS
  • Links with musicians in the university
  • Community projects within the Oxford Festival of the Arts

Musicals

Yearly musical with the Drama department involves musicians singing as well as playing in the band. Recent shows have included Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, 42nd Street as well as some original works written by Head of Drama, Alex Thomas.