Haileybury’s Music department is at the centre of the school’s life, providing an unparalleled education that celebrates and promotes the fullest diversity of musical expression.

From chapel choir to symphony orchestra, chamber music ensembles to pop, rock and jazz groups, this is a place of unique opportunity where all talent finds both a home and a stage.

At Haileybury, we believe that music should be a whole-school endeavour; indeed, it forms the pivotal expression of our cultural life. Each day, our pupils sing unashamedly and with gusto in the School’s magnificent Chapel. Ours is a programme providing a holistic vision of music-making where pupils are both nurtured and inspired to be the best of themselves.

No one musician is the same as another, so the deepening of creativity, musical awareness and technical prowess is never taken to be separate from an individual’s simple love of, and engagement with, what they do. We undertake regular concert and opera trips, biennial music tours (recent destinations have included Salzburg, Munich and Paris) and musicals co-produced with the Drama Department (recent productions have included Fiddler on the Roof and The Drowsy Chaperone).

Musicians at Haileybury are far from passive: they talk convincingly about the music they make, they understand the significance of the discipline in the widest cultural and world contexts, and they are ambassadors for music as the very structure that binds society together.

Challenge, with the appropriate support, is a key aspect in building confident musicians, particularly among the body of music scholars. Our approach provides every pupil musician with varied performance opportunities throughout their time at Haileybury – whether as a soloist or as part of an extraordinarily wide range of ensembles. Pupil musicians of the appropriate ability are encouraged to attend junior departments of the Royal College, Royal Academy and Guildhall. Many of our pupils are also members of such national ensembles as the National Youth Orchestra, National Youth Concert Band and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.

The recently extended music school with its intimate performance spaces, individual practice and teaching rooms, recording facilities, technology suite and larger performance spaces provide a truly exceptional music facility at Haileybury.

Heads of Department

Simon Bland is Director of Music, having previously been Head of Theory of Knowledge, College Organist and Assistant Director of Music at Haileybury, as well as teaching Theology and Philosophy. Ahead of this time, he was for six years at St John’s School Leatherhead, where he directed the school’s flourishing choral programme.

For three years Simon was organ scholar at Trinity College Cambridge, under the direction of Stephen Layton, and continues to work as a recitalist and accompanist across the country. He is regularly engaged with choral music in London, working principally as director of music at St Pancras Old Church.

James Deveson is Head of Academic Music, and has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Music and Musicology from the University of Edinburgh. He came to Haileybury from The Leys in Cambridge where he taught for 12 years, was Director of Music, and oversaw the building of a new £1.6m award-winning Music School. As a performing musician he plays the organ, piano, clarinet, tuba and sings.

Andrew O’Brien is Head of Choral Music and Voice and joined Haileybury in September 2016 as Director of Music. His work now focuses primarily on the exciting choral foundation project at Haileybury. He is Director of Music Emeritus, Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square and was previously Director of Music at Heath Mount School, where he helped the choir to win the BBC Junior School Choir of the Year in 2012. Andrew has performed throughout the UK, Europe and USA. He has also worked extensively as a singing teacher and one of his pupils went on to win BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2013.