2018 Course and Concert

4 November 2018, Purcell Room, South Bank Centre

The English Schools' Orchestra with the Navarra Quartet The English Schools' Orchestra with the Navarra Quartet

"This is the first time we've played Beethoven", were the opening words from Robert Pepper, Musical Director, to this year's assembled English Schools' Orchestra.

In order to take on Beethoven's 7th Symphony, this year the Orchestra was reduced in size. On a smaller stage and more intimate setting, the ESO showed that whatever the genre, they are up to the challenge. Ahead of our Silver Anniversary next year and with a split half-term break across the UK, this seemed like the perfect time to try something different.

The other new feature of this year's concert was to highlight the individual sections of Strings and Wind in two seperate pieces. The strings were joined by the inspirational Navarra Quartet in a performance of Elgar's Introduction and Allegro whilst the Woodwind and Horns played Struass's Serenade for 13 Wind Players.

This year's concert was held at the newly refurbished Purcell Room, part of the London South Bank Centre, on Sunday 4th November 2018. The course was held during the half-term week, Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th November at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Elstree.

During the week, students were provided with regular refreshments, a full cooked lunch and high tea. Residential students stay at the well equipped Lincolnsfield Centre nearby and benefited from a cooked dinner and a wide range of organised evening activities.

"My son loved every minute, and has been recounting heart-warming stories of all the fun he has had, including the yoga session during the residential course (with a lovely lady similarly aged to his grandmother) and the games night (feeding jelly to a fellow player blind fold)."

The concert opened with Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture. In 1829, Mendelssohn travelled throughout Great Britain and wrote a number of pieces inspired by his journey. His visit to Fingal's Cave on the Scottish Island of Staffa became the setting for this memorable concert overture.

In the second half, the Orchestra played Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, although not one of his most known symphonies, it is often considered one of the most beautiful symphonies ever written.

Full Programme
  • Felix Mendelssohn - The Hebrides
  • Richard Strauss - Serenade
  • Edward Elgar - Introduction and Allegro
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony no. 7 in A

If you are interested in applying for future courses go to the how to apply page.

Purcell Room 4th November 2018 - Click here to see all photos.

Photos by Justin Griffiths-Williams