Instrumental Groups

Instrumental Groups

At Caterham School we pride ourselves on the range of instrumental ensembles run which give our students the opportunity to perform together and experience repertoire outside of their individual music lessons. The ensembles are led by our music staff and Visiting Music Teachers, whose specialisms encompass all orchestral instruments as well as guitar and drums. A high level of playing is maintained throughout the instrumental families and pupils are expected to attend rehearsals on a weekly basis.

These groups perform regularly throughout each term and are a vital part of the musical life at Caterham School.


Sinfonia is just one of Caterham School’s flagship orchestras. Consisting of senior members from our String Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, Woodwind and Percussion ensemble, Sinfonia is an orchestra at the highest level. Playing classical and contemporary works by great composers such as Holst, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Brahms, Ravel, and Debussy, the orchestra sets out to challenge its members and is a feature in our annual concert at St. James’s Church, Piccadilly.


Symphony Orchestra is the largest ensemble at Caterham School with over 120 students. Combining the full forces of the String, Woodwind, Brass and Percussion faculties, Symphony Orchestra welcomes musicians of all abilities from the First Year to Upper Sixth. Making an impressive debut with Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ and wowing their audience with a spellbinding rendition of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’, the Symphony Orchestra’s performance is always a highlight.


Our members, ranging from Grade 7 through to Diploma level, enjoy an in-depth study of challenging repertoire in an environment where discussion of style and musical interpretation is at the core of every rehearsal and recent highlights have included Barber’s magnificent ‘Adagio’. The Senior String Orchestra also accompanies the school’s Chamber Choir and  choral events, from a massed community chorus of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ to a Swing Night with over 70 voices from the community.


With their success and dedication within the Wind Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia, Caterham are proud of their epic brass section.  Constantly developing and taking on new challenges every turn, they have emerged as an ensemble in their own right. Having performed at Westminster Abbey and St John’s Smith Square, they were chosen to join the brass section of the London Mozart Players to premiere a new piece of music in the inaugural Croydon Festival of Peace.  They have also  competed in the Pro Corda National Music Festival reaching the Semi Finals.  A key ensemble in many of the School’s concerts, Brass Ensemble is open to all brass players from the First Year to Upper Sixth who are Grade 5 and above.


The Trumpet Ensemble consists of our senior trumpeters.  In the military world they would be referred to as a trumpet fanfare team. A team of Herald Trumpeters is the most impressive way of drawing attention to any key event and our trumpet ensemble are used for our schools main events such as open days, CCF passing out and inspection parades as well as Remembrance services. There are times when an event requires something different – prestige, class, style, heritage and sophistication. These are just a few of the attributes that theTrumpet Ensemble brings with them, as standard, to any performance. Run by one of Britain’s finest trumpeters from the LSO and RPO Gerry Ruddock (trumpet teacher at Caterham School) 


The Cello Ensemble is an adventurous collective of our senior cellists that represents the high level of string performance at the school. For many schools, to have such an octet is a luxury, but for us we believe it is shows the standard of teaching and commitment from our pupils and our Cello Ensemble is a welcome addition to our already established ensembles. Jointly run by our Assistant Director of Music Helena Richards and cello teacher Clare Quinton 


Our Transition String orchestra offers something for all of our younger musicians who are still learning and strengthening their foundation on their instrument.  We use the transition strings as a pathway to our senior orchestra which is for pupils who have achieved grade 6 and above. Repertoire is progressive and fun. Jointly run by Head of Instrumental Music Brian Hill and Head of Academic Music, Tristan Hall 


Caterham Wind Orchestra sets the standard of music required from all wind, brass and percussion players at Caterham School. Performing dramatic and captivating works such as Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on a Bare Mountain’, Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyrie’ and Todd Salter’s ‘Rampage’ to the fun loving ‘Lion King Medley’, the Wind Orchestra is an essential component at all major Caterham School concerts.  Such is their adaptability, they recently took on the repertoire of a marching band, accompanying the School’s CCF cadets for their Annual General Inspection & Passing Out Parade as well as leading the schools Remembrance service.  Featuring pieces such as Sousa’s ‘Liberty Bell’, the touching ‘Hymn to the Fallen’, and the traditional ‘British Grenadiers’, members enjoyed an experience to remember.


Originating as the percussion section for all of the school’s orchestras, the Corp of Drums has recently been formed to play for the school’s vibrant CCF.  Debuting at this year’s General Inspection and Passing Out Parade, the Corp of Drums were a musical spectacle much enjoyed by all in attendance.


We offer a range of smaller ensembles that include:

  • Piano trios
  • String quartets
  • Flute choir
  • Piano duets
  • Year 1 Rock Band
  • Scholars’ Ensemble

These ensembles rehearse weekly and participate in the School’s Chamber Music Concerts as well as taking part in local music festivals.




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