Latest exam updates

Performance Grade exams

We are now offering Performance Grade exams every month. Please check here for dates and fees. We are extending the introductory 15% discount for these exams so that it applies to all remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams in 2021. Just enter code ABPG15MO when you book. Please also read our terms and conditions here.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Discover our woodwind performers

Find out more about some of the musicians playing on our recordings of the 2018-2021 Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone pieces.

Flute Exam Pieces 2018-2021

Philippa Davies, Flute, Grades 1 to 8

Philippa Davies was educated at the Royal College of Music, London, where she studied with Douglas Whittaker and William Bennett. Following a celebrated performance of Mozart’s Concerto in D at the 1988 BBC Proms, Philippa gained a reputation as one of the finest flautists of her generation. Leading composers have written works for her, and as both recitalist and concerto soloist she has appeared throughout the world. She performs with the Nash Ensemble, London Winds and regularly plays as guest principal flute with the main London orchestras. Philippa has recorded the solo flute works of Mozart, J. S. Bach and William Alwyn, among others. She is a Professor of Flute at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

Simon Gilliver, Flute, Grade 1

Simon Gilliver read music at the University of Birmingham and later gained a Master’s Degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His teachers have included Philippa Davies, Ian Clarke and Sarah Newbold. He won the Albert Cooper International Flute Competition in 2006. He works freelance with many orchestras, and is Principal Flute with the Covent Garden Sinfonia. Simon was a founder member of Prima Volta, a group devoted to classical improvisation, and he teaches improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Additionally, Simon is in much demand as a piano accompanist, and as a flute and piano teacher. Simon is the Artistic Director of Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia, a professional orchestra he founded in 2015.

Rosanna Ter-Berg, Flute, Grades 1 to 8

Rosanna Ter-Berg’s striking performances have led her to be described as ‘super-charged’ with ‘unstinting virtuosity and personality’. She has performed across the UK and Europe in major concert venues, festivals and live on radio. Rosanna is associated with numerous organizations including the Park Lane Group, Live Music Now and the Tunnell Trust. In addition to classical and contemporary performances, Rosanna is an improviser, music educator and also plays South American music. She enjoys collaborating with different ensembles, composers and blurring boundaries across the arts with dancers, actors, artists and puppeteers.

Rosanna studied at Strasbourg Conservatoire and Trinity Laban Conservatoire where she graduated with Distinction in her MMus; she was also a finalist in the Isabelle Bond Gold Medal Competition.

Jan Willem Nelleke, Piano, Grades 1 to 8

Jan Willem Nelleke studied the piano with Else Krijgsman at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and later with Thom Bollen at the Utrecht Conservatory. His exceptional qualities as a duo partner have been widely recognised and he has established partnerships with Philippa Davies, Karine Georgian, Bettina Smith and Frans Huijts, and he performs frequently with them throughout Europe. Jan Willem is increasingly active as a composer and has given premieres of many new works. His recent recordings include chamber music by Schumann and the Gershwin Piano Concerto. In addition to his work as a performer and composer, he is in great demand as a coach. Jan Willem teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and at the Franz Schubert Institute, Baden.

Leo Nicholson, Piano, Grades 1 to 8

Leo Nicholson studied at the Purcell School, the Junior Royal Northern College of Music, and with Douglas Finch and the late Yonty Solomon at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. There he won the Beethoven, Chopin, Academic and Keyboard Faculty prizes along with a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He continues to work as a staff accompanist for Trinity Laban, and as a freelance pianist, répétiteur and chamber musician.

Leo has performed at many of the UK’s major venues (including Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Barbican Hall, Kings Place and the Bridgewater Hall) and for over thirty music societies both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. He also works in theatre, opera and with the six-piano group Piano Circus

Daniel Swain, Piano, Grade 1

Daniel Swain read Music at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, subsequently winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. Daniel regularly performs across the UK and abroad. In 2014 he was an official accompanist for the Fourth International China Violin Competition, and more recently for the Barbirolli International Oboe Competition (2017).

Daniel has won many awards for his work including the ‘Royal Overseas League Accompanist Award’ (2007). His recording of the chamber music of Imogen Holst with Court Lane Strings won the ‘Premiere Award’ in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2010.

Daniel is currently a staff accompanist at the Purcell School and Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music, where he became an Associate (ARAM) in 2015.

Clarinet Exam Pieces 2018-2021

John Holmes, Clarinet, Grades 1 to 5

John Holmes read Music at King’s College, Cambridge, studied the clarinet with Jack Brymer, and piano with Bernard King and Alexander Kelly. For many years he was Head of Woodwind and Academic Music at Tonbridge School, combining instrumental and curriculum teaching with performing and presenting, as well as ABRSM examining. In 2010 John was appointed ABRSM’s Chief Examiner, responsible for the leadership and development of ABRSM’s examining community, and the organisation’s support for music teachers. The demands of the role have meant fewer opportunities for clarinet playing, so John was delighted to record some of the 2018¬–2021 Clarinet Exam Pieces as part of his ABRSM work, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

Emma Johnson, Clarinet, Grades 3 & 8

Emma grew up in London. At the age of 17 she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, which launched her career as a solo clarinettist while she was still at school, but she decided to continue her studies at Cambridge University before embarking on a performing career. Since then she has given solo concerts and broadcasts worldwide and made over 30 recordings including most recently, English Fantasy with the BBC Concert Orchestra which features music written for her by John Dankworth, Paul Reade, Will Todd and Patrick Hawes. Emma is one of the UK’s biggest-selling classical artists, and her recent album of jazz and light music Clarinet Goes to Town, achieved a high position in the CD charts.

Marie Lloyd, Clarinet, Grades 2, 6 & 7

Marie Lloyd studied clarinet at Trinity College of Music with Keith Puddy and the Royal College of Music with Colin Bradbury and Richard Hosford. She has since played with many British orchestras, including, as guest principal, with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and many others.

Marie has been a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 14 years. She has kept a special interest in chamber music, performing with The Nash Ensemble, London Sinfonietta and Gaudier Ensemble. She has recently recorded a CD with the Continuum Ensemble and can also be heard on films and TV programmes such as The Woman in Gold and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Marie teaches at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music and Wells Cathedral School.

Angus Meryon, Clarinet, Grades 6 & 7

Angus Meryon studied clarinet with Colin Bradbury and Richard Hosford at the Royal College of Music and has since forged a career as a soloist and chamber musician. He made his solo London debut at the Purcell Room in 2002 and performs regularly with the Prague-based Martinů Quartet during their UK and European tours, appearing with them on BBC Radio 3 as part of the In Tune series of lecture recitals. Angus is currently Director of Music at Putney High School in London and a Trustee of the St Endellion Festival. He is also an examiner for ABRSM and a keen orchestrator and arranger, with his work having been performed on BBC television, radio and at the BBC Proms.

Luan Shaw, Clarinet, Grades 1 to 5

Luan Shaw studied at Birmingham Conservatoire with Janet Hilton and was awarded Honorary Membership ‘in recognition of distinguished work within the field of music’ in 2001, soon after completing an MA in Psychology for Musicians at the University of Sheffield. Luan has toured nationally and internationally as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player and has taught extensively at all levels. Alongside her work at Birmingham Conservatoire where she is Head of Pedagogy and Director of the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma: Professional Performance course, Luan is an ABRSM diploma examiner, an Adjudicator Member of the British and International Federation of Festivals and Co-principal Clarinet with Orchestra of the Swan. Luan was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.

John Lenehan, Piano, Grades 3 & 8

Praised by The Times for ‘a masterly recital’ and the New York Times for his ‘great flair and virtuosity’, John Lenehan’s performances and recordings have been acclaimed throughout the world. As a soloist he has appeared with orchestras at home and abroad, most recently with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London’s Royal Albert Hall. John Lenehan has collaborated with many leading instrumentalists and is recognized as an outstanding chamber musician. He has featured on more than 70 CDs covering a huge range of repertoire from baroque to jazz.

Gary Matthewman, Piano, Grades 1 to 5

Gary Matthewman is one of Britain’s leading accompanists. He performs worldwide, and has appeared in recital at Carnegie Hall, New York, the Musikverein, Vienna, and at Wigmore Hall, London. Recent and future singing partners include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams and Sumi Jo. Gary has made numerous live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, and his recently released recording of Schubert’s Winterreise with Matthew Rose featured as Gramophone Magazine’s recording of the month. He is a professor of vocal repertoire at the Royal College of Music, London, and a song coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House. Gary’s work for ABRSM includes examining, recording, and presenting seminars in the UK and Asia.

Richard Saxel, Piano, Grades 6 & 7

Richard Saxel has established a reputation as one of the most versatile concert pianists of his generation. He has performed at many of the leading venues in the UK and at major festivals around the world as a soloist, accompanist, chamber musician and as a former member of the contemporary music ensemble Piano Circus. He has released several recordings to critical acclaim. Richard studied with Clifford Benson and Michael Dussek, and was educated at the University of York and the Royal Academy of Music, where he was made an Associate (ARAM) in 2016. Richard is currently Head of Performance at Cranleigh School in Surrey, a post he has held since 2001.

Daniel Swain, Piano, Grades 2, 6 & 7

Daniel Swain read Music at St Anne’s College, Oxford, subsequently winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. Daniel regularly performs across the UK and abroad. In 2014 he was an official accompanist for the Fourth International China Violin Competition and more recently for the Barbirolli International Oboe Competition (2017).

Daniel has won many awards for his work including the Royal Overseas League Accompanist Award (2007). His recording of the chamber music of Imogen Holst with Court Lane Strings won the Premiere Award in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2010.

Daniel is currently a staff accompanist at the Purcell School and Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music, where he became an Associate (ARAM) in 2015.

Saxophone Exam Pieces 2018-2021

Rob Buckland, Alto Saxophone, Grades 1 to 8

Rob Buckland is internationally acclaimed as one of the most distinctive, influential and versatile saxophonists of his generation, regularly appearing as a concerto and recital soloist, with his Equivox Trio, and with the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. He has commissioned and recorded music from many of today’s leading composers, and regularly performs and records with a diverse range of ensembles, both classical and jazz. As a composer, Rob’s works appear on the concert stage, film and television, and on many examination syllabuses.

Rob is professor of saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, co-Artistic Director of the annual RNCM Saxophone Day, and is published by Astute Music.

Melanie Henry, Saxophone, Grades 6 to 8

Born in Manchester, Melanie Henry studied saxophone, clarinet and flute at the Royal Academy of Music, and has since been made an Associate (ARAM). As a soloist and ensemble player, Melanie has performed and recorded worldwide. She has worked with many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as well as playing in shows at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and in London’s West End. Recent highlights include performances with the contemporary music group Sounds Positive, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Rambert.

Melanie teaches saxophone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and is a member of the City of London Sinfonia education outreach team. She is also a syllabus selector for ABRSM.

David Knotts, Piano, Grades 6 to 8

Peter Lawson, Piano, Grades 1 to 8

Peter Lawson was born in Manchester and later studied there with Derrick Wyndham and Sulamita Aronovsky. He has appeared as a soloist with many British orchestras as well as frequently broadcasting for BBC Radio 3. His many commercial recordings reflect a particular interest in twentieth century and contemporary music and include Satie (EMI), American Sonatas (Virgin Classics) and Michael Nyman’s Piano Concerto (with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra). Peter also works with the Equivox Trio and Tango5 (recreating the tango quintets of Piazzolla), and the recorder player John Turner.

Peter taught at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, for almost 40 years. He is a piano tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and a diploma examiner for ABRSM.

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