Concerts made in our region


If you are involved in music-making, we are privileged to offer a free publicity service to our local community with concert previews and reviews with weekly columns in printed publications such as the Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette and a monthly page in Essex Life. We also offer regularly contributions to websites such as Colchester 101.

If you have a concert of classical music you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 7 December 2018

Christmas would not be Christmas without Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols!  This work cleverly weaves English folk carols collected by the composer and his friend Cecil Sharp, into this popular work for baritone solo, choir and orchestra.  It will be performed by the University of Essex Choir along with Schubert’s Mass in G and Pergolesi’s Magnificat.  The choir will be accompanied by the London Mozart Players who will also perform Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Grieg’s Holberg Suite.  Tickets: Saturday December 8 at 7pm in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, University of Essex, Colchester.

A Musical Christmas is the title of Harwich & Dovercourt Choral Society’s concert, which also includes the Vaughan Williams, with baritone soloist, Patrick McCarthy. This takes place at All Saints Church, Dovercourt, at 7pm on December 15. Tickets: £8

Christmas is also coming to Tiptree tomorrow evening with its Choral Society presenting a selection of seasonal music including much-loved John Rutter favourites to less familiar choices. There is also a chance for audience participation in some of the well-known carols.  St Luke’s Church, Church Road, Tiptree at 7.30pm. Tickets: £12 (01206 734625)

Over in Clacton on Sunday, its Choral Society presents a joyful Christmas concert crammed full of English music for choir, harp and organ.  The main work of this concert is another popular Christmas choral work, Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.  Originally written for treble voices, this performance uses the now standard choir (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) setting. Gustav Holst’s ‘Four Old English Carols’ and his lovely medley ‘Christmas Day’ are some of the other items in this varied concert. Sunday December 9 at 6.30pm at St James’ Church, Tower Road, Clacton.  Tickets: £10 (01255 221511)

Also on Sunday evening but at 6pm, The Pimlott Foundation presents its second offering in its Baroque Fest series called Christmas Concert by Candlelight with some seasonal music plus harpsichordist Dan Tidhar performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Before and after the concert there will be a Christmas Market.  Tickets: £12.00 (01206 271291)

Tune in next week to hear about more Christmas music and a recital with Mark Padmore accompanied by Simon Lepper.

If you have a forthcoming concert you will like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can read more from Liz at

Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 30 November 2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The Suffolk Villages Festival presents ‘Bach at Christmas’ which promises a musical journey through the Christmas season with Cantata 61, a dramatic setting of Martin Luther’s Advent Chorale, and cantatas from the Christmas Oratorio, featuring a choir of woodwind instruments and hunting horns. This all takes place on Sunday December 9 at 6pm in St Mary’s Church, Dedham.  Tickets are from £12 (01206 366603).

More cantatas from J S Bach’s Christmas Oratorio will also be performed by the Ipswich Bach Choir and Ipswich Chamber Orchestra tomorrow evening. The concert will be completed by Mendelssohn’s charming Six Christmas Pieces and Vivaldi’s ever-popular Gloria. Soloists will include soprano Gill Wilson and mezzo Elaine Henson with tenor Paul Hazelgrove-Spurin as Evangelist. The conductor is Patrick McCarthy and tickets are £13 (01394 271538).  This concert is at 7.30pm in St John’s, Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich

Tomorrow evening in St Botolph’s Church, its orchestra presents a Christmas concert including Hely-Hutchinson’s joyful A Carol Symphony and Finzi’s Dies Natalis with soprano soloist, Susan Piggott.  This concert is at 7.30pm and tickets are £12 (01206 823662). This concert is at 7.30pm and tickets are £12 (01206 823662).

Go further back in time this weekend with a musical journey through the seasonal celebrations of medieval and Renaissance Europe with The York Waits including a selection of 15th-century English carols, works from Yorkshire manuscripts, uplifting chorales from Lutheran Germany and noels, folk songs and dances from the Mediterranean. Sunday December 2 at 2.30pm in St Andrew’s Church, Marks Tey. Tickets from £10.

Also on Sunday afternoon the Clacton Concert Orchestra presents ‘Frost Free’, a selection of popular Christmas orchestral music.  Sunday December 2 at 3pm at St James’ Church, Brightlingsea. Tickets: £8.

Tune in next week for details on the Colchester Symphony Orchestra’s concert and more Christmas music from the Clacton Choral Society and the University of Essex Choir. 

 If you have a forthcoming concert you will like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can read more from Liz at


Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 23 November 2018

Martin James Bartlett, the brilliant young British concert pianist who was BBC Young Musician winner in 2014, will be the soloist in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto accompanied by the Ipswich Symphony Orchestra tomorrow evening. Since winning this prestigious competition Martin has performed all over the world including a private concert for the First Lady of China and other dignitaries, at the Queen’s 90th Birthday thanksgiving service in St. Paul’s Cathedral and at the BBC Proms.

Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony is one of his most inspiring works, and one of my personal favourites, featuring the famous ‘flying swans’ theme in the final movement and ending with one of the finest ‘conductor moments’ in classical music. Hear both Beethoven and Sibelius tomorrow evening at the Ipswich Corn Exchange at 7.30pm. Tickets: £13

If you can’t get to that orchestral concert, on Sunday there is an evening of Scandinavian music over in Sudbury. Grieg’s Piano Concerto is a firm favourite for both audience and players with its glorious solo lines and soaring lyrical passages.
Nielsen’s first symphony may not be as well-known as the Grieg but it is just as an expressive work. Hear the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, soloist Jill Morton, conducted by Matthew Andrews on Sunday at 6.00pm in St Peter’s Church, Market Hill, Sudbury CO10 1TL Tickets: £12.

If you prefer choral music, tomorrow evening Chris Phelps will be conducting the Hadleigh Choral Society accompanied by the Colchester Symphony Orchestra in Haydn’s The Creation. Tickets: £14. St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh. Chris will be in conducting the Colchester Symphony Orchestra next month back in St Botolph’s Church. More on that asap!

Over in Nayland, its choir presents Airs for Armistice tomorrow evening at 7.00pm in St James Church, Nayland. This concert presents a selection of music by composers working at the time of WW1 and representing a wide variety of the nations involved in the conflict. Tickets: £10

If you have a forthcoming concert you will like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can read more from Liz at

Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 16 November 2018

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is one of the composer’s most famous pieces. Its opening has become classical music’s greatest calling-card. If you think you know the Fifth just because you’ve heard those four notes a thousand times, think again! Maybe you will be lucky enough to hear it for free performed by the Essex Symphony Orchestra. There are twenty free tickets up for grabs at the door to hear Beethoven’s Symphony 5, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with soloist Kristian Ignatjeva and an ESO commission – Storr by Matthew Taylor. Saturday November 24 at 7.30pm in Christ Church, New London Road, Chelmsford. Tickets: £14 (01245 601418) or on the door.

A little nearer home, Witham Choral under Patrick McCarthy will be performing just one work at Witham United Reformed Church in Newland Street also on 24 November at 7.30 p.m. It is Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle which, perversely, is not solemn nor particularly short. But neither does it outstay its welcome as it is packed with stirring choruses and beautiful arias which will be sung by a fine team of soloists led by Gill Wilson, soprano, mezzo Elaine Henson, tenor Paul Bloomfield and bass Alan Loader. Tickets £12 (01245 380958)

Cardiff Singer of the World competition finalist John Pierce and Maldon Choral Society present a celebration of British music in the Last Night of the Proms tradition with opportunities for audience participation in some of the rousing anthems associated with the Proms. Saturday November 17 in All Saints Church, Maldon 4pm – 6.30pm. Tickets: £14 (01621 856503)

Don’t forget Colchester Choral Society will be performing Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Alan Bullard’s Images of Peace in St Botolph’s Church tomorrow. Tickets: £15 (01206 572783).

If you have a forthcoming concert you will like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can read more from Liz at


Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 9 November 2018

This weekend the nation marks one of the most important dates in Modern British History – the Centenary of the end of World War 1.  Over the last few weeks, I have highlighted various concerts including two at St Botolph’s Church in Colchester – Lexden Choral Society tomorrow evening and Colchester Choral Society on November 17 – and here is another one.

To mark this special anniversary, the Choir of Chelmsford Cathedral, the Chelmsford Singers and the Chelmsford Sinfonietta join forces to give the first UK performance of ‘Remembrance’ by Australian composer Michael Leighton Jones. It was commissioned to observe the centenary and sets words by WWI poets Rupert Brooke and Edward Thomas and a poem about Rupert Brooke and is scored  for choir, trumpet, and organ. Herbert Howells’s choral masterpiece Hymnus Paradisi, an epic and moving work, will also be performed. Figures from the ‘There But Not There’ national installation for the fallen will be seated in the audience to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. Saturday November 10, 7.30pm in Chelmsford Cathedral. Tickets: £5-£20 (0333 6663366) or at the door


Some of you may recall Leah Stuttard presenting her first lunchtime concert in Colchester’s Lion Walk United Reformed Church.   This weekend she will perform for the first time with the Colchester Early Music group in a programme of 13th and 14th century sacred music from England This is more an exploration of a harmonic world than a recreation of the sound of the Middle Ages and some music is liberally treated to a dose of improvisatory ecstasy, adding to its already meditative quality. Sunday November 11 at 2.30pm in St Andrew’s Church, Marks Tey. Tickets: £10 on the door.


And finally, the monthly lunchtime organ concert at the Moot Hall has come around again.  This time organist Florian Pagitsch explores the music of  J S Bach and others.   Tuesday November 13 at 1pm in Colchester Town Hall. Free entry with a retiring collection.

Tune in next week to hear more live music from our many choral and orchestral groups.

If you have a forthcoming concert you would like previewed contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can also read more from Liz at




Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 2November 2018

Lest We Forget is understandably the theme of many concerts marking the Centenary of the end of World War 1. The glorious, rich and soulful melodies of Faure’s Requiem, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Elgar’s Nimrod from the Enigma Variations and John Chillingworth’s For the Fallen will be performed by the Lexden Choral Society’s at its Remembrance and Thanksgiving Concert. The choir will be accompanied by the Lexden Symphony Orchestra led by Philippa Barton and conducted by John Chillingworth on Saturday November 10 at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.  Ticket: £13 (01206 543280).

 Young musicians from five Essex Schools and members of the City of London Sinfonia perform The Violin, a new composition marking the end of the Great War which musically describes the unique journey of one Essex soldier, Private Burchell and his violin, from leaving home, battles on the Front Line, the safe return home and looking forward to future peace. Private Burchell’s restored violin will be played at this Remembrance concert.  Music from composers associated with World War I such as George Butterworth and Vaughan Williams will be performed by the Sinfonia. Wednesday November 7 at 7pm in Chelmsford Cathedral. Tickets are free but need to be booked (01245 606505). Another premiere of music to mark the Armistice, will also take place at the same venue on November 10 with the Chelmsford Singers. More on that next week.


Many reports commend the benefits of how singing can help physically, emotionally and socially. Here’s a chance to find out for yourself at The Pimlott Foundation’s ‘Singing for Health Day’ from 11am – 3pm in the Old Barn, Great Horksley.  Telephone (01206 271291) for further info.

In complete contrast with the above, Matyas Bacsó launches his Contemporary Classical Piano CD, Patterns, on Sunday afternoon. This music is reflective and meditative inspired by the patterns found in life and nature. That’s at 3pm on Sunday November 4 at The Headgate Theatre, Colchester  Tickets: £5 (01206 366000


Final draft Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, Friday 26 October 2018

Naturally, next month there are many music events focusing on the Centenary of World War 1. Here are two contrasting concerts taking place to mark the Armistice. More concerts with the same theme coming next week too.

Colchester Choral Society’s next concert commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice with Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, written in 1936, an impassioned plea for peace with texts from Walt Whitman, the Bible and the Liturgy, and the premiere performance of locally-based British composer Alan Bullard’s new work, Images of Peace, commissioned by the choir, with texts by the seventeenth century poet George Herbert. Soloists for this concert are Lindsay Gowers and James Arthur accompanied by the Colchester Sinfonia conducted by Ian Ray. Saturday November 17 at 7.30pm in Colchester’s St Botolph’s Church. Tickets: £15 from Manns Music (01206 572783).

Colin Baldy is often heard as soloist in Colchester but next month he will be busy with his choir of St Mary’s Church Maldon in a joint concert with a choir from Ghent. Poignantly at this lunchtime concert the front row of the pews will accommodate There but not There figures – the inspiring and innovative outlines of World War 1 soldiers which are found all over the UK. This free concert, with a retiring collection, is at 1pm on Saturday November 3 and takes place in St Mary’s Maldon, Church Street. At 6pm the next evening in the same venue, the choir will sing Rutter’s Requiem as part of the weekend of Remembrance.

Later in the month, Colin Baldy will present a lunchtime concert accompanied by Ian Ray at 1pm on Wednesday November 14 in Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester.Free entry with a retiring collection.

Tune in next week to find out about more music marking the centenary of World War 1, singing for your health and contemporary classical music at the Headgate Theatre.

If you have a forthcoming concert you would like previewed contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can also read more from Liz at



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