Renowned trombonist and composer John Kenny visited the School recently for the first part of an exciting project that will see YMS pupils compose new works for John to perform and record. He began the visit with an inspiring, amusing and frequently theatrical recital that showed off the many facets and characteristics of the trombone. This was followed by an afternoon of workshops in which pupils had the chance to discover more about the history of the instrument and its repertoire and learn in greater detail about the practicalities of composing for trombone.
A highlight of the day was John’s performance on the carnyx, a two-thousand-year-old Celtic war trumpet. Crafted from a mixture of brass and bronze, and shaped to resemble the head of a wild boar, John’s carnyx is a reconstruction based on remains discovered buried at a farm in Banffshire in 1816. Held aloft when played, so the sound would carry over the heads of an advancing army, this astonishing instrument produces a powerful and intense sound, brought vividly to life by John’s performance of his own piece, The Voice of the Carnyx.