Violinist, Jordan Brooks moved from South Africa to the UK specially to study at Chetham’s School of Music and is now graduating as one of the UK’s best young strings players.
Performing with Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra is the pinnacle performance opportunity for students at Chetham’s School of Music, the UK’s leading specialist music school for young people aged 8-18. Conducted by Ben Palmer, the evening’s performance at The Bridgewater Hall will feature Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring – a piece of music so ground-breaking that it caused a riot at it’s premiere in 1913. The programme also features Urban Fox, a companion piece for Stravinsky’s classic, composed by Palmer himself, who wrote the piece specifically for the students of Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra.
Quays Life chats to sixth-form student, Jordan ahead of his final performance for Chetham’s as he leads the programme finale, playing the violin solo in Korngold’s rousing Violin Concerto in D Major.
When did you start playing the violin and why did you choose that instrument?
Jordan: “I started violin at the age of 7. From a young age I was always fascinated by the shape and sound it produced”.
When did you realise you were serious about focusing on music?
Jordan: “When I first saw the violin on TV, I was very fascinated by the sound and shape. When I started violin, I could not stop playing on it. At that time, it was still strong hobby, and it was slowly becoming a passion. What really inspired me, was when I watched a performance of Sarah Chang playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto. That was when my eyes opened and showed me that the violin can do many things. This motivated me so much as I wanted to get to that level of playing. The more I practised, the more connected I felt to my instrument, and it helped me show that when I perform”.
You travelled a long way to study at Chethams. What was it about the school that made you want to study there and how did it work for you and your family?
Jordan: “I had some online lessons during the first lockdown with my current violin teacher, Jan Repko, who teaches at Chetham’s. He heard me play and said that he could help me come over to Chets. My plan was to always study overseas after my schooling in Cape Town. However, the opportunity shocked all of us as it was very unexpected. I only had two months to organise all my documents. It was rather stressful as many challenges occurred due to the pandemic, but it wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to miss!”
What have you enjoyed about studying at Chethams?
Jordan: “I’ve enjoyed the constant music making. Collaborating with different teachers and students in chamber music projects was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the social aspect. Although everyone at Chets is so busy, we still manage to make time for each other”.
How did you choose your solo piece for the concert and why?
Jordan: “I learnt the Korngold Violin Concerto during the summer of 2020 before I came to Chets. Every year at Chetham’s, there is an annual concerto competition, of which the prize will give you the opportunity to perform the concerto (which you chose) with the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra the following academic year. I was fortunate enough to be one of the three winners and hence the reason I am performing in Bridgewater”.
How would you describe the evening for people thinking about coming along?
Jordan: “Magical and electrifying”.
What is next for you when you leave Chethams this summer?
Jordan: “I will be going back to Cape Town for the summer holiday. After that, in September I will move to London to study at the Royal College of Music”.
Jordan will join Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra and Chorus –made up of more than 200 of the UK’s most talented young musicians on the cusp of their music careers – to perform at The Bridgewater Hall for one night only on Friday 8 July 2022.