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The sound of silence at Godolphin concert


Godolphin’s orchestra had a surprise in store for parents on Tuesday night - almost five minutes of complete silence.

The Salisbury school's annual spring concert featured the work ‘4:33’, by the controversial American composer John Cage. Written in 1952, the piece features four minutes and 33 seconds of silence. The players were poised with their instruments, but made no sound. In this case, conductor Robin Highcock had added a modern twist. While he strolled into the audience to pose for a selfie, members of the orchestra posed or fiddled with their mobile phones.

"Our Lower 6th are studying John Cage at the moment so it seemed a good time to give a performance of one of his most notorious pieces” said Mr Highcock, the school's Director of Music. “I have always wanted to perform this and the girls really responded. Everybody worries about young people sitting silent on their phones and not communicating, so it seemed a good idea to build this into our performance for the 21st century and capture the spirit of the age in bringing John Cage’s philosophical experimentalism right up to date.”

The concert also featured a wide range of instrumental and choral pieces showcasing the diversity of music at the school, from Beethoven to the Beatles. Music is at the heart of Godolphin and, with over 20 different ensembles and choirs, the school has received a variety of awards and national accolades in recent years.

After the orchestra's silent performance, there were calls of "Encore!" from the audience.


Published: March 27 2017

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