On 1st May 300 guests gathered in School Hall to see 25 pupils from the London Russian Ballet School perform to a variety of solo and ensemble pieces performed by 18 talented Eton musicians.

The concert was given in aid of the New Foundation to celebrate reaching the first milestone of the Campaign and to launch the second phase under the leadership of the new Development Director, Richard Ogdon (DH 83). The concert was kindly sponsored by the Tsukanov Family Foundation who have established a scholarship programme at Eton for talented and gifted musicians two of which gave excellent performances on the evening.

The Head Master introduced the event and was pleased to note that the concert was supported by many OEs; supplying the delicious food (Charlie Wethered (CMJ 06) of Quail London) and drinks (Richard Prideaux (DSL 98) of The Vintner) to the event as well as the photography (Edward Lloyd Owen (ACDG-C.98)who has launched his company under his name).

The programme included favourites from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Saint Saens’ timeless classic The Swan; and tour de force ensembles of the Sailor Dance by Gliere and Tchaikovsky’s Waltz Scherzo which brought together most of the evening’s dancers and musicians in one grand finale. Solo unaccompanied pieces by Bach for organ, Stravinsky for clarinet and Rachmaninov for piano provided further variety to the repertoire. The strength of applause confirmed the audiences’ appreciation who were clearly captivated by the occasion. Members of Pop then provided the lead ballet dancers with bouquets-prompting the Provost to remark, perhaps a little enviously, how Pop’s tasks had changed since his day!

“Many guests commented afterwards on the exceptionally high level of instrumental and dancing performances and that School Hall had been transformed for the occasion by the lighting and beautiful flower arrangements. Add to this the dancers’ costumes and you can well imagine the magic of the evening’s setting and tone. I would hesitate to single out any special performances since the overall quality and standard across the board were unforgettable. We have set the bar high indeed for our future development events” – Richard Ogdon

After the spectacular performances the Provost thanked the guests for all their support of the first phase of the campaign but reminded them that ‘there was no such thing as a free glass of champagne’ and that the Campaign’s work was far from over. The event was the result of a lot of hard work and we would like to thank everyone involved: Eton musicians, The London Russian Ballet School pupils and staff; Programming and choreography by Evegeny Goremykhin and Harriet Pickering from the Ballet School in conjunction with the Precentor, Kate Jackson, Viktoriya Grigoreva and the heads of section from the Eton Music Schools. Event management was handled by Gemma Kelly of the Development Office with the flowers arranged by Jenny Little.