Compared to Cambridge just down the road – and even Kings Lynn – Ely doesn’t have a huge amount of classical music going on. It’s sad, because there are a lot of talented people in the area and we have a cathedral with a wonderful choir. Anyway, most Ely people who want to play or even listen to classical music have to go somewhere else.
As a way of remedying this problem, The Ely Sinfonia, Ely’s community orchestra, is putting on a play day on Sunday week, 28th January, 2007, that will allow aspiring local musicians to try their hand playing major orchestral works alongside more experienced teachers and semi-professionals.
The orchestral day, to be directed by well-known local conductor Peter Britton, will feature two exciting and challenging works, Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Chabrier’s Espana. It will be open to musicians of any age who play (or have played) a standard orchestral instrument and have reached grade V standard or above. It will take place at the City of Ely Community College, Downham Road, Ely, from 9am to 5pm and will cost £10 per player.
Anyone will be welcome who has the right ability, but the day will be a particularly useful re-introduction to playing for those who have left school and are missing active music-making. It will also provide an excellent chance for younger players who have reached grade V or above to find out what it feels like to play in a full-scale symphony orchestra. Players will sit along side regular members of Ely Sinfonia, who will act as mentors and help to keep them on the right track.
The programme is guaranteed to provide players of all abilities with the opportunity to flex their musical muscles. The New World Symphony is one of the most challenging and moving pieces in the orchestral repertoire and gives musicians plenty of opportunities to express emotion through their instruments. The musical culmination of Antonin Dvorak’s time in the United States from 1892 to 1895, it is acclaimed as one of the most inspired orchestral works about America. It brings together the essence of 19th century American sound in a sometimes moving, sometimes exhilarating combination of music from Native Americans, African-Americans, Jews, Irish and America’s many other cultural groups.
Chabrier’s Espana is nothing but exciting and really puts players through their paces in terms of speed and raw emotional expression. Emmanuel Chabrier was a quintessential Frenchman, obsessed by all things sensual. Espana perfectly describes the passion of 19th-century Spain, from the tempestuous Spanish jota to the slow, lyrical malagueña and with an endless variety of rhythms in between.
The day will start with an introductory rehearsal, during which participants will be able to familiarise themselves with the pieces. There will then be a programme of rehearsals, interspersed with tea and lunch breaks, finishing at 4pm. Finally, families and friends will have the chance to judge the progress made during the day at a short play-through at 4.15pm.
The Ely Sinfonia play day is sponsored by ADeC (Arts Development East Cambridgeshire), which is dedicated to furthering arts education and appreciation in the area. Further information and tickets are available from Helen Louise Baker on 01638 780275 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The day will also be a precursor to Ely Sinfonia’s next major concert to be held in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 3 March, when, in addition to The New World Symphony and Chabrier’s Espana, the programme will include the celebrated Fantasia para un Gentilhombre by Joachin Rodrigo, with the solo played by David Massey, the talented, 17-year-old guitarist who was a runner up in last year’s BBC Young Musician of the Year contest. Further information on both concerts can be found at the Ely Sinfonia website.
About Ely Sinfonia
Ely Sinfonia is the first ever high quality ensemble to be based in Ely. Launched in November 1999, it is made up of players of all ages and backgrounds, including school and college students, business professionals, retired individuals and local music teachers. The orchestra’s repertoire includes a wide range of contemporary music as well as mainstream works such as Elgar’s Violin Concerto, which it performed in Soham in April 2005. As well as playing full orchestral works, Ely Sinfonia also provides smaller groups, which play at events such as the Easter Day mass in Ely cathedral. Projects for the future include the inauguration of a series of training days, coached by professionals, for less experienced players who want to develop their orchestral and ensemble playing techniques.
Website: Ely Sinfonia.