Pangbourne College Organist in Residence Mr Andrej Ivanovic has prestigiously been offered a scholarship to read music at the University of Oxford.
The three-year Organ Scholarship at St. Peter’s College is conditional on him achieving an A grade at German A Level next summer. However, Mr Ivanovic has already attained As in Classics and Music at A Level at the College in August 2017.
Mr Ivanovic, who joined the College in the Lower Sixth Form in 2015 from his home in Belgrade, Serbia, certainly now has enormous motivation to realise his ambition.
He said: “It has been a childhood dream of mine to live in England and study at Oxford. It would mean an awful lot to me, to say the least. I never thought anyone from my family would have the opportunity to pursue something like this. My parents are ecstatic that I have the offer from Oxford.”
Mr Ivanovic first started playing the piano when he was ‘eight or nine’. What is more clear is his defining memories of listening to music growing up.
Mr Ivanovic, who had not played the organ prior to Pangbourne, said: “I remember listening to my father’s old cassette tapes when I was a child. That helped me develop a strong affection broadly for music. I learnt that music has the power to make people’s lives better. Then, when I had the opportunity to play the organ here, it completely solidified what I want to do with my life: read music and study the organ.”
If everything goes to plan, what are his ambitions after Oxford?
He said: “I have a passion for teaching myself one day. Before that, I would love to explore being an organist in a cathedral before moving into teaching. It is great now to have this opportunity to spend a year here as Organist in Residence. It is demanding but is definitely fun. When I am playing the organ, I certainly need to watch the conductor very closely.”
How has he found the transition from leaving the Upper Sixth in July 2017 to joining the College teaching staff two short months later in September?
“It has been a strange thing to become used to,” he said. “Many students here still see me as being one of them. But I am very aware of the line I have crossed and that current pupils and students cannot cross.”
How has the College helped him on the road to achieving his dream of one day attending Oxford?
He said: “Pangbourne has really helped me learn to organise my life, because days are busy here and they can be intense. Further, the College has taught me to respect my peers. Pangbourne is a small school, but that allows you to get to know who everybody is at the College and how all those relationships together make the organisation work as a whole.”
Mr Ivanovic added: “I feel incredibly fortunate, privileged and happy to have had the opportunity to come here. I realise that not everyone has these kind of opportunities.”
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