Wednesday 28 October 2009

Family Music Day - Years Ahead of it Time

Hannah Ellis, Family Music Day Co-ordinator talks about this year's Family Music Day;

With Back to the Future replays filling our screens, echoes of ‘Let’s do the Time Warp again’ ringing in our ears and Hollywood inviting us to meet the ‘Time Traveller’s Wife’, Britten Sinfonia has jumped on the time travelling bandwagon as this year’s Family Music Day promises to take you on a journey through the centuries. Our Creative Learning department is busy excitedly planning the day taking place at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, on Sunday 1 November, this year directed by Tim Steiner from CBBC’s Clash, who boasts a wealth of experience in family concerts.

This event has been hugely popular over the past few years (and we’ve nearly sold out for this year, so get your tickets fast!), and it provides the ideal opportunity for families to learn more about how music is played and composed in a fun and informative way. What’s more, you don’t need any prior musical knowledge to be able to enjoy the day!

As well as the usual fantastic workshops – percussion, gamelan, instrument building, and strings, wind and brass workshops – we’ve listened to what you have told us in previous years and as a result this year also sees the addition of singing and guitar!! There’s also lots of other activities going on throughout the day and at the moment we are putting together our Composers’ Time Machine (collective ‘ooooooooooohhhh’ please!), to be unveiled on the day! Not forgetting face painting, the Boomwhacker challenge and various competitions with fab prizes!

So as you can see, this year looks set to be even bigger and better than previous years, and with Tim Steiner captaining the (space)ship, you can guarantee everyone will enjoy themselves.

Forget the X Factor and even Britain’s Got Talent, Britten Sinfonia’s Family Music Day is the place to showcase your musical talent.

So grab your nearest flux capacitor and come and join us for a fun filled day!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Christopher Hogwood conducts Martinu

Rehearsals are currently taking place for two performances conducted by Christopher Hogwood. The programme includes works by composers who are all celebrating significant anniversaries during 2009 including Czech composer Boshulav Martinu (see the full programme here). Not as well known as many fellow 20th century composers, Martinu engaged with a large variety of forms (from a myriad of chamber combinations to symphonies and concerto to opera and oratorio) and also embraced the tides of inspiration that flow through much classical music in the 20th century (including jazz, folksong and neo-classicism).

I own a disc of Martinu's chamber works performed by the Dartington Ensemble which I have tresured (and listened to frequently) for a number of years and I'm looking forward to hearing Hogwood's interpretation of one of Martinu's larger scale works - the Sinfonia Concertante. Inspired by Haydn the work is scored for solo violin, oboe, bassoon and cello with orchestra giving a chance for some of our principal players to shine under the spotlight.

The concerts take place on Thursday 22 October at West Road Concert Hall Cambridge (Box Office 01223 357851) and on Monday 26 October at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London (Box Office 0871 663 2500).

Monday 19 October 2009


Last week we said goodbye to our Marketing & Development Assistant, Frances who is off to live in the big smoke, London and start a new job at Sing Up. We gave Frances a good send off - which involved doing some of the things she has never got around to doing in Cambridge. In the afternoon most of the Britten Sinfonia team went for a game of golf at our local club.

David (Chief Executive) had the best round - however the rest of us did well for complete novices! This was followed by drinks in the Elm Tree and a lovely meal at Mai Thai overlooking Parker's Piece in Cambridge.

We will all miss Frances at Britten Sinfonia but wish her all the best on her new job.