Immanuel College Student presented Bar-Ilan Award


BFBIU Trustee, David Gradel (left); Sigal Nachshen (centre); BFBIU Executive Director, Max Dunbar (right)

Immanuel College student, Sigal Nachshen, has been presented with a Bar-Ilan Award at last month’s Immanuel College awards ceremony. The award was presented to Sigal for excelling in music and Jewish Studies.

A Year 10 student, music has always been an integral part of Sigal’s life. She is a harpist, currently working towards a performance diploma, and music is one of her choices for GCSE and her EPQ focuses on the Romantic movement in music.

When Sigal turned 5, her parents decided she was old enough to begin learning an instrument; she had always loved music, experimenting on her toy piano from an early age. At 5, she watched ‘Horrible Histories’ (her older brother’s preferred TV programme) – this, coupled with her mother’s everlasting love for Tudor history, inspired Sigal to play a Tudor instrument. Her mother, who has been the main supporter and encouragement in Sigal’s musical journey, gave her two choices: the harp (popular in the 16th century) or the cello, an instrument she always admired but could not play until she was 7.

Sigal chose the harp, and since then, has completed the ABRSM grades, been a part of the National Children’s Orchestra, competed in international competitions and has done her best to spread her love for the harp in the wider community.

GCSE music has also given Sigal the opportunity to start composing music. In her work, she tries to incorporate important elements of her own identity. In one composition Sigal uses the harp infused with klezmer. Klezmer is something she wants to explore further; arranging and featuring traditional Jewish melodies in future compositions to preserve a culture she is proud to be a part of, both as part of a family who escaped the Holocaust and as a member of Immanuel College.

Commenting on Sigal’s award, Head of Jewish Studies, Mr Lewis, said:

“Sigal has been consistently one of the top students in Jewish Studies over the years. She is in our Advanced Skills Kodesh group and her ability to grasp new concepts and skills is second to none. She is also very accomplished in music and often merges her knowledge of music and Judaism together. She is also inquisitive and not afraid to challenge the teachers. All these made her an outstanding candidate for the Bar-Ilan Award.”