Musica Amata


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Press Release

Teesdale Mercury

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The sweet sound of Music performed at our school

 Five pupils from Barnard Castle School hosted a piano concert earlier this week with theme of ''Music and Sweets''. 

Florence Harrison, a year four pupil at the school, came up with the idea of a chocolate concert last year and Dr Lax, the school's piano teacher, prepared a programme of music that related closely to sweets and chocolate.

The concert is a part of Dr Lax's ''continuing educational experiments and teachings''.


 She started experimenting with combining different disciplines 20 years ago and has found it a very successful method of teaching. Each piece of music performed was enhanced by video images relating to the music.

The concert saw the return of a former prep school pupil who is now a well established year seven student at Barnard Castle School. Rohan Kelsall, who narrated the concert, performed a piano duet and told a story via video link. The concert also featured Farrah West in year five who read her own poem about sweets, and played a duet with Dr Lax called ''Cake Walk''.

Florence Harrison read her own story about her father eating chocolate when he was a child and finally Dr Lax performed a duet with sixth former Ester lee which involved a selection of piano duets from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet.

An impressive addition to the concert was a sweetie sculpture made by the year three and four Art Club.
Also on display were a selection of chocolate ''Celebrations'' drawn by the Art Club

Teesdale Mercury

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Talented yound musicians' achievements recognised


Children belonging to a Teesdale music Academy have received certificates for their achievements over the past year.


 The talented youngsters are part of the Academia di Musica Amata which is made up of pupils from Barnard Castle Prep School.

 The small group was formed by one of the school's lecturers, Dr Antonina Lax. Pupils meet up every Saturday afternoon to play together and Dr Lax said the academy gives them the chance to enhance their musical talents.

Dr Lax who is also an international pianist and performs music with Nicholas Browne gathered the children for a special end of year party earlier this month. She and her students played several pieces of music by selected Europen composers, including Chopin and Liszt.

The students who range in ages from seven to 14 years old, were also presented with their certificates for all their hard work over the year.

Sunderland Echo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

REVIEW Camerata & Academia di Musica Amata, St Peter's, Sunderland


On a balmy summer's night it was good to see such support for a concert of classical music focusing on the piano, showing yet again that the area has an abundance of young and emerging talent.

The first performance was given by Dr Antonina Koleva Lax, a most accomplished pianist and the principle of the music school. She played a mixed programme of music from the pen of Chopin, which included the brilliance of the Revolutionary Study, the sparkling effervescence of the Etude in F Minor (the Bees) and the dark depths of the F-sharp minor Waltz.





Thereafter the stage was given over to her talented pupils in a series of piano duets where Dr Lax played the supporting role.

Eve Welch (aged 10) displayed a lightness of touch in her playing, particularly in the excerpt from the Mozart piano sonata.

George Warren (aged 13) showed great promise as a multi-instrumentalist and arranger, playing both the organ and the piano. He and Dr Lax gave a lively and lyrical performance of the Diabelli and concluded the piano work with a humorous performance of the well-known Grieg's Norwegian Dance in A major.

For the finale Dr Lax was joined by Nicholas Browne (French Horn), Judith Rousseau (Oboe), Oriana Bezzina (Clarinet) and Paul Judson (Bassoon) to perform Mozart's Quintet for Piano and Wind Instruments.

All the musicians had the opportunity to show their virtuosity and mastery of ensemble playing, particularly in the sonorous Larghetto and the final joyful Allegretto.

A thoroughly good night of music in the excellent surroundings of the historic St Peter's.

Peter Morgan

Northern Echo 

Friday, September 3, 2010


 TALENTED musicians are been given the chance to scale new heights in perfect harmony.
A musical academy is about to be launched to give students at Barnard Castle School the opportunity to practise their skills in the community.

The initiative is the brainchild of music tutor Dr Antonina Koleva Lax and Jo Warren, who is the mother of George Warren, one of the school’s rising musical talents.

Dr Lax said: “I want to give the children confidence in what they do. Music is for people and I want them to feel how rewarding this is when they perform.

“There is another type of music that exists out there which will help in preparation for their exams. I would like to teach them how to play in groups and learn from each other.”

The academy will meet every Saturday afternoon with a musical master class. Once a quarter a concert will be held in the region to show off what the students have learnt.


“There will be guest tutors invited to the academy to perform with the children, such as flute or violin, so they can experience playing with higher skilled musicians, giving them the extra knowledge that they need,” said Dr Lax

“The children we are looking for need to be very passionate about music and have already chosen music to be a vocation in their life, either professionally or personally.”


Mrs Warren added: “We currently have children who play the piano, the organ, violin, trumpet and they also sing, so varying musical talents will be considered.”

To launch the academy the young musicians will stage a concert on Saturday (September 4) where the children’s skills will be heard through piano performances and Dr Lax will play solo pieces to inspire them.

Making the night extra special will be the appearance of a Model D Steinway piano, on loan from Tyneside Piano Company, which is supporting the academy.

“We thought let’s aim for the best and bring the Steinway in; there is no better piano on which to show off the children’s talents,” said Mrs Warren.

There will also be guest appearances on the night in the form of a quintet of wind instruments, featuring the oboe, clarinet, French horn, organ and bassoon.

The concert will be held at St Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, SR1 2BL, starting at 7.30pm.

Anyone interested in tickets or wanting more information about the academy should email