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News > Alumni News > From Ipswich School to Eton via the BBC

From Ipswich School to Eton via the BBC

Ben Ponniah (OI 1995-02) talks of how 2021 has been unusually fruitful and there are more exciting things to come.
28 Apr 2021
Written by Carrie Baker
Alumni News

"The beginning of 2021 has been an unusually fruitful and exciting time for me. The BBC Singers performed two of my choral works on BBC Radio 3 and I got a teaching job at Eton College (starting in September).

I was thrilled to hear one of the top professional choirs in the country sing my music on the radio! Firstly, they performed my emotionally intense piece ‘Father, forgive them’. This is a particularly challenging unaccompanied piece in 8 parts, but their stunning tuning and deep understanding of the harmony enabled them to make my complex jazz-inspired chords shine perfectly. Secondly, the BBC Singers performed my new setting of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, which I wrote especially for them.

I am currently completing a PhD in Composition at the University of Aberdeen (distance learning). In September, I start my final year and a job at Eton College teaching Economics. I am looking forward to teaching at such an illustrious school.

My love for choral music started at St Mary-le-Tower Church in Ipswich. This experience helped me win a music scholarship to Ipswich School, where I continued to explore this passion in various choirs.

Three Ipswich School teachers that spring to mind are Mr Gregory, Mr Matthews and Mr Tidball. Mr Tidball taught me Economics in a wonderfully rigorous and engaging manner. Mr Matthews taught me how to write a fugue during GCSE Music lessons, which was way beyond the syllabus and fascinating for me – I wrote a fugue for my coursework. Mr Gregory made Maths fun for me and many others, with the occasional use of tuck shop incentives!

I am very grateful for my time at Ipswich School, where I learned the importance of working hard, pursuing one’s passions, and aiming high. As a result of these lifelong lessons, I am pleased to report that my life is fulfilling and fun!"

Ben Ponniah (OI 1995-02)

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