a picture of the school's music orchestra playing

There is a great musical tradition at King Edward’s School and a wealth of musical opportunities for boys to take part in

The scale, quality and ambition of our music is extraordinary and the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre provides professional-standard facilities in which to rehearse and perform.

During any particular week at KES the amount of music being performed and indeed written is little short of remarkable. There is a vast array of orchestras, choirs and ensembles, with weekly rehearsals taking place in preparation for regular concerts in the Ruddock Hall and Symphony Hall. Our three tiers of solo performance opportunities include Instrumental Evenings, Performers’ Platforms and Lunchtime Recitals, showcasing our talented musicians. These are staged throughout the year in collaboration with KEHS. 

We’re proud of our talented musicians who perform in local and national orchestras and choirs. Among our recent alumni, Robbie Ruisi now leads the Hallé Orchestra, and Christopher Churcher won the Benslow Young Composers’ Competition and the National Centre for Early Music Composition Prize in 2022.




Orchestras, choirs and ensembles

Our joint KES and KEHS Symphony Orchestra continues to be one of the great symphony orchestras for young people, performing full orchestral programmes each year. The joint orchestra’s repertoire has included Mahler’s First and Fourth Symphonies, Shostakovich’s Fifth, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Brahms’s Third, as well as the Fifth and Eighth Symphonies of Beethoven.

There are three major choirs and a joint Choral Society, and in them about 270 students and staff sing together each week. Recent performances have included Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Jenkins’s The Armed Man. 

There are two swing bands, two further orchestras, two wind bands, and a thriving programme of chamber music.

KES Choir is the mighty exception to our work together – currently numbering about 100 boys, the choir mixes age and musical experience, and gives a carol service each year. 

There are 14 major weekly-rehearsing ensembles and choirs, as well as string and wind quartets, piano trios, quartets, and quintets, string sextets, and other chamber ensembles. 

Composers join Clef Club, and their works are performed in public and recorded.



each week

Music Lessons

We have a team of 32 visiting teachers – distinguished performing musicians in their own right – who deliver over 200 instrumental lessons each week.


The Ruddock Performing Arts Centre is our principal rehearsal and performance venue, a 450-seat concert hall with superb acoustics, equipped with concert organ and Steinway model-D grand piano. 

The Music Department has teaching, rehearsal, and practice rooms, two music IT suites, a library, and a recording studio.


Informal enquiries may be addressed to:

Director of Music
Dr Martin Leigh 

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