For the past 23 years History teachers have led a Third Form trip to Prague and its environs to learn about the history of the city and the country from its greatest stories to its darkest moments, and to sample its rich culture. This year, they were joined by Oundle musicians in a unique partnership of music, culture and history.
The Music department has had a long relationship with the renowned Skampa Quartet, which has performed at Oundle many times. This year, pupils had the opportunity to workshop with the Quartet in their home city, and performed a concert for the Oundle pupils as well as the pupils, staff and parents from our partner school Gymnazium Jana Keplera. The programme included Victor Ullman’s last string quartet, written in the Jewish Ghetto of Terezin shortly before his death at Auschwitz.
The whole group visited Terezin and saw exhibitions about the art and music produced in the camp. On the final day pupils met the son of one of the survivors from Terezin, who gave a fascinating talk about his experiences.
Evening excursions included a performance of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at the Prague State Opera.
The trip was a wonderful fusion of history and music, and showed the importance of understanding historical context in musical interpretation. On their return to Oundle, the musicians performed their new repertoire for the school in a concert in the Great Hall.