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BSK’s La Camerata hits right notes; returns victorious from YMOG 2018
February 24, 2018, 2:32 pm

The Young Musicians of the Gulf (YMOG) is the most prestigious music competition of its type held in the Gulf region. Hosted by St Christopher’s School in Bahrain, the competition is open to all British Curriculum schools who are members of The British Schools in the Middle East organisation.

With 101 member schools and 95,000 students in ten member countries around the world, success in the competition is, without doubt, a great achievement. 2018 sees the running of the nineteenth competition and the fifteenth time BSK has participated. As usual, Galina Bojilova, the Director of Strings at BSK was instrumental in the preparation of the students, this too being her fifteenth competition.

Accompanied to Bahrain by BSK pianist Emily Jeffcott, Director of Performance Music, the students were very well prepared. Hai Wei Li performs BSK entered eleven students including a trio, Piccoli, a large ensemble, La Camerata, along with solo violin and solo piano competitors. In total there were 129 competitors aged from ten to eighteen years. Hai Wei Li of Year 10, the Young Musician of the Gulf 2017, made it through the preliminary round and semifinal to perform once more on solo piano in the Grand Final. He was up against five other soloists that included the YMOG two time winner from 2014 and 2015, also a pianist in addition to the recipient of the Most Promising Bahraini Musician Award 2017, again a pianist.

Hai Wei played two contrasting pieces, including Widmung by Robert Schuman. Whilst he gave it his all, and emotionally drained after the two recitals, 2018 was sadly not to be his year. Outstanding performances were heard in the duet and trio category, and Piccoli was no exception. Progressing to the semi-final for their first time, Hai Wei Li on piano, Luaidh Williams and Sarah AlDashti on violin performed beautifully. This was as far as they would go for YMOG 2018, but what an achievement in such a competitive category, and with such young competitors in BSK’s trio.

The BSK’s ‘La Camerata,’ consisting of a pianist, eight violins, double bass, drum, maracas and chimes came to Bahrain with high hopes. Playing a piece especially composed for them, ‘Ballad and Dance,’ by the renowned Bulgarian composer Marek Dyakov, they made their way to the highly competitive semi-final where once again they triumphed, being crowned the YMOG 2018 Large Ensemble winner. La Camerata would now perform in the Grand Final in the Sofi tel Hotel, contesting the Overall Ensemble category. It was the opinion of so many that the standard in 2018 was higher than ever before. La Camerata’s victory in the semifinal was a wonderful achievement, emulating their success from the 2017 competition. The exceptional standard of their performance is a combination of the immense talent of BSK’s young musicians, their dedication to practising, their unity as a group and the special ability they have to perform to and engage with an audience.

Hoping for even bigger things, La Camerata pulled out all the stops in the Grand Final, receiving a standing ovation from many in the audience, and when the judge’s decision was announced, the hard work from September really was worth it; BSK had secured the overall ensemble award. The accolade of all the ensembles, whether duet, trio or large ensemble.

Following their return to Kuwait, La Camerata was honoured to perform a recital of pieces at the grand opening of the Kuwait Expo 2018 Exhibition held at the Mishref Fairground Halls. This was a double honour for BSK, as Eisa Alkhalifah of Year 10 made a reading from the Holy Quran that signalled the official opening of Expo 2018. Rising to the occasion, La Camerata played the most wonderful recital, which for BSK’s students was made all the more special as they were watched by a very appreciative audience of dignitaries and the public, including Mr Hussam AlRoumi, the Minister of Public Works and Municipality. The next event for La Camerata will be at BSK’s Music Festival Week starting on March 11.

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