The Yehudi Menuhin School (YMS or ‘the School’) was founded in 1963 by the celebrated violinist Yehudi Menuhin. A brilliant educator, he feared that the lack of specialist music provision for children at an early age would result in an irreversible decline in the provision of world-class instrumentalists.
Inspired by a visit to Moscow’s Central School for Young Musicians, Menuhin set out to develop a specialist music school in the UK for extraordinarily gifted children. These boys and girls, aged between seven and nineteen, would come from all corners of the globe, regardless of their race, creed or parents’ financial position. His vision was that the School would not only attract potentially the most outstanding performers of their generation, but that they would also become well-rounded and compassionate people as a result of the high-quality academic activities and pastoral care provision. Always a committed humanitarian and world-citizen, Menuhin also passionately believed in the benefits for both sides of the School sharing its music with the community.
In 1973 the School was accorded special status as a ‘Centre for Excellence for the Performing Arts’ and was one of the first schools to receive support from the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme. January 2006 saw the opening of the 300-seat Menuhin Hall, greatly enhancing the performance opportunities for the pupils. In 2016, new Music Studios were opened, providing state-of-the art teaching and practice facilities.
Starting with just 15 pupils in September 1963, the School has expanded significantly over the last five decades while remaining true to Menuhin’s values and ethos, and currently hosts around 85 boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 19 from around 22 nationalities. Pupils receive training on violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano and classical guitar. There is also the opportunity to learn the harp, and the School is in the process of launching a new programme of composition as a first study. Pupils are admitted on the basis of talent and passion for music alone, and around 90% require some sort of financial aid to study at the School.
The School counts among its illustrious alumni Nicola Benedetti, Alina Ibragimova, Nigel Kennedy, Tasmin Little and Melvyn Tan. After they graduate, most YMS pupils go on to study at the top conservatoires around the world and make an exceptional and enduring impact on the world of music. Some also choose to move on to more traditional universities and career paths and find that the education they received at YMS has stood them in good stead.
Website : www.menuhinschool.co.uk
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