Music is a crucial aspect of life at Falkner House. All girls have class music lessons and many choose to learn an individual instrument as well. Individual lessons are taught by a team of experienced instrumental specialists and are rotated within the curriculum.
Girls are prepared for the ABRSM exams and have the benefit of aural training classes.
All have the opportunity to play in formal and informal concerts with the emphasis being on enjoyment, the development of musicality, and self confidence through performance.
Full details of the individual music programme at Falkner House is available in the parent handbook.
Classes offered at Falkner House:
- Aural Training (preparation for ABRSM grades)
- Mini Strings (ensemble from starters to Grade 2)
- String ensemble (ensemble from Grade 2)
- Wind Band (ensemble from Grade 2)
Director of Music, Violin and Orchestra's
Florence Altenburger lived in Washington, DC for 12 years where she was a tenured member of the Baltimore Opera Orchestra and performed with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra (summers). She also taught the DC Youth Orchestra program.
In 1989 she was invited by the Canadian Government to attend the “Banff Center of the Arts” where she obtained an Artist Diploma. She performed as a soloist with the Calgary Symphony and also performed chamber music with Kim Kashkashian and Philip Naegele.
Following this, she obtained a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master’s Degree with Miriam Fried at Indiana University.
During her time with the London Symphony Ms Altenburger toured Germany, France and England and performed and recorded with many notable conductors e.g. Sir George Solti, Andrè Previn, Mtislav Rostropovich, Zubin Meta, Sir Colin Davis and Michael Tilson Thomas. While at Tanglewood she worked with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Osawa and Simon Rattle.
Florence also performed with the string sextet “Sextet de l’Artoi” which had 80 performances a year and a recording contract under the REM label. They recorded Tchaikovsky “Souvenir de Florence” and Rimsky Korsakov sextets as well as contemporary works by Mauricio Kagel, Luis de Pablo, Nicolas Bacri and Enrico Corregia. They premiered and recorded numerous other contemporary works from Ricardo Del Fra, N’Guyen Dao, Xavier Darasse, Michael Levinas, Elisabeth Sikora, Yoshihisa Taira. The sextet played in major chamber music halls and festivals such as the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Alicante Festival in Spain and Lyon’s Opera House.
Ms. Altenburger was also a member of the European Union Chamber Orchestra and played with the London Mozart Player as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra while living in London from 1996 to 1998.
Florence Altenburger also now teaches at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Clarinet, Wind Ensemble
Jill trained at the Royal College of Music and at London University; she has a Master's degree in performance and related studies. She is a freelance clarinettist, teacher and broadcaster and teaches pupils from the age of six to adult.
Jill plays clarinets of various sizes and periods - from nineteenth century classical instruments to modern clarinets and saxophones. She is interested in all kinds of music and plays in a piano trio, a klezmer group and in orchestras.
For Jill, music is a wonderful treasure house of sounds and experiences and she makes every endeavour to pass on her enthusiasm to all her pupils.
Trumpet, Wind Ensemble and Piano
Born in South Africa in 1985, Chris began his musical education on the trumpet, piano and violin at an early age. Chris moved to England with his family in 1990 where he continued his musical studies. At the age of thirteen Chris won a DfE scholarship to study at Wells Cathedral School, and was subsequently awarded a full scholarship to study with James Watson, Mark David, Bob Farley and Rod Franks at the Royal Academy of Music.
While at the Academy, Chris performed as Principal Trumpet with the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Orchestra and various other ensembles. He also had the opportunity to work side-by-side with the London Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with orchestras such as the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera, Welsh National Chamber Orchestra, The Orchestra of St Martin’s in the Fields, and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Chris was also honoured to be asked to play at the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales.
As a soloist Chris has performed the Haydn and Vivaldi Trumpet Concertos with various Orchestras around the country. Throughout his career Chris has been privileged to work with a number of prominent conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Trevor Pinnock and John Eliot Gardiner.
Chris is now a freelance trumpeter based in London.
Cello and Mini String
Harriet was a specialist music scholar at Wells Cathedral School and went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music where she received a distinction for performance and continued to do a chamber music fellowship. With her ensemble, the Burney Players, she has won several awards, made numerous recordings, live broadcasts and given recitals all over Europe.
Harriet was principal cellist with the Southbank Sinfonia with whom she also performed the Walton cello concerto (conducted by Edward Gardner). She currently freelances with many UK based period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
As a session musician, she has recently recorded with The Enemy, Sophie Ellis – Bexter, Paloma Faith and Florence and the Machine.
As well as Falkner House, Harriet teaches the cello at Godolphin and Latymer School and is the cello coach for the National Childrens Chamber Orchestra. She also writes reviews of cello music for Music Teacher magazine.
As a teacher, she aims to give each pupil a firm technical grounding on the cello and in fundamental musical skills - laying the foundations for successful development, increasing fluency and ease with pitch and rhythm. Harriet very much encourages ensemble playing and above all, an enjoyment of music making.
Violin and Viola
After graduating in Munich and playing in Kammerakademie Neuss, Margrit lived in Zurich for 20 years where she was a member of the Zurich Opera Orchestra, working with a number of very well known conductors (Georg Solti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, John Eliot Gardiner and many others). During these years she was also touring Europe, America and Canada accompaning Cecilia Bartoli with La Scintilla Orchestra.
Margrit was a member of the Chiron string quartet in Cologne and has then during her time in Zurich played many chamber music concerts in different formations and also recitals. As part of her work in the Zurich Opera she was coaching student chamber music groups and preparing viola players for orchestra auditions.
Margrit is now based in London, working as a freelance player and teacher, working with the Royal Opera House, The English National Opera, Britten Sinfonia and many others. She can also be heard in West End Shows.
Searching for a wider and more creative approach to playing music, Margrit took a sabbatical in order to study jazz, folk and improvisation with various musicians mainly in New York. These studies have had a great impact on her teaching and she aims to convey her passion for different music styles and improvising as well as instilling a solid classical technique.
Piano and String Ensemble
Edward Pick has taught a wide range of age groups in diverse environments.
He teaches piano and theory privately and has also taught classes of theory and composition for two years at City University, London, as well as workshops with large groups of children in Tower Hamlets schools.
His piano students range from age 5 years upwards. Edward demands a high level of commitment from all his students, and encourages progress through the Associated Board Exams.
Edward is a well-established performer, whose work includes Concerto engagements, solo recitals and chamber music. He has performed at Barbican Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, LSO St. Luke’s, and broadcast several times for BBC Radio 3.
Edward is also a composer, and his works have been broadcast on JCom Radio and French National Radio.
Lora Sansun studied music at Cambridge University and gained music teaching qualifications from the Royal Academy of Music and the Institute of Education, London University.
Lora believes 'you're never too late to start'. As a walking-talking example of this she discovered her passion for music at the ripe old age of nearly fifteen, when she began learning the piano and started singing. She has never looked back! Her career has encompassed the worlds of education (as a former Head of Music and singing teacher), broadcasting (for the BBC) and orchestral tour-managing (with some of the great names in classical music). Lora has helped singers in all sorts of ways - teaching some from first principles, helping others negotiating their career paths and also assisting other singing teachers to illuminate the world of opera and oratorio. She believes that music can be a whole education: everyone has music in them and music has a purpose in life beyond entertainment: it's uplifting, inspiring, confidence-boosting, enlightening; definitely multi-faceted - mysterious as well as direct, provocative and soothing, illustrative and abstract, useful and non-functional, essential and peripheral. Singing is a natural human expression and learning how to sing a song is a wonderful thing in itself, but singing is also a fascinating and useful discipline of communication and presentation. It connects you to those around you in an enhanced form of expression. Learning to breath calmly and present a song can be a valuable preparation for many types of presentation which we find we face in later life, from interviews for courses and jobs to the art of debating, persuading and negotiating in a variety of careers and life-experiences. And the best thing about music is .... it's fun.
Violin, Viola, Aural Training
Wendi Webber (violin/viola) studied in Edinburgh, Trinity College of Music (London), and the Royal Academy of Music (London), before winning the Scottish International Education Award to further her studies at the Amsterdam Conservatoire.
In the Netherlands she worked for the Amsterdam Baroque Opera Company and the Noordhollands Philharmonic Orchestra. Since returning to the UK Wendi has become a leading interpreter of early music and has made a number of ground-breaking recordings for Deutsche Grammophon with the Gabrieli Consort and for CPO with the Hanover Band. Wendi is co-founder of the Monteverdi String Band and performs regularly at festivals throughout Europe.
Wendi has 20 years’ experience of teaching violin and viola, during which time she has been the Senior Strings coach for Edinburgh University, Head of Strings at Nower Hill School in Harrow and violin, viola and chamber orchestra coach for Enfield Arts.
"I believe that learning an instrument prepares you for life, and that the pleasure of performing music with friends and colleagues can never be surpassed."