The school has a long-standing tradition of musical excellence, both choral and instrumental. Roughly half of the boys in the school learn at least one musical instrument, and there are seventy music award holders. Over 80 boys have Grade VII or above and up to 70 boys take exams in a wide variety of instruments each year.
Music permeates Tonbridge life. Each term the school has an extensive performance programme; there are several orchestras, bands, and smaller ensemble groups covering all musical styles. The Music Department curates its own “Themed Festival” each Michaelmas Term, featuring performances from staff, students and visiting artists. Houses hold their own musical evenings and there is an annual House music competition which involves up to a third of the school. Jazz and popular music are actively encouraged and flourish.
The school has a long-standing tradition of musical excellence, both choral and instrumental. Music permeates Tonbridge life.
Music at Tonbridge is not confined to the school campus. The Chapel Choir has sung Evensongs in St Paul’s Cathedral, St George’s Chapel, Windsor, Southwark Cathedral and Chichester Cathedral as well as touring in Holland and Belgium, and the Symphony Orchestra has performed in Hong Kong.
The boys regularly combine with musicians from outside the school, in student based and professional settings. Notable highlights have included Carissimi’s Jepthe with Benenden School at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the London Concert Choir and the Southbank Sinfonia at the Royal Festival Hall and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with the Dorset Youth Orchestra.
A Celebration of Tonbridge Music, a special concert at London’s Cadogan Hall in 2018, saw more than 100 Tonbridgians take to the stage. Joint Senior and Junior Chamber Choirs meet with Kent College on a weekly basis. Musicians also perform for members for the local community, organising visits to schools and homes as well as inviting groups to concerts on site. Howard Goodall and Jonathan Dove have both composed pieces for the school.
The Music School facilities include two recital halls, a suite of teaching and practice rooms, a music library, a sound-isolated percussion and rock suite, and a well-equipped double recording studio. The school’s “All Steinway” status guarantees top quality pianos in every room. Larger scale events are held in the Chapel – with its internationally famous, four-manual Marcussen organ.