Hello and welcome to our new website! This is the first of what we hope will be some interesting blogs about our plans, performances, and commissioned works.
Sarah Campbell and I were trumpet students at the Guildhall School together and had worked together organising a few concerts while at college. In Autumn 2014 we decided to put on a performance of Stravinsky's The Soldier’s Tale. We had such a lot of fun that we thought we’d better try to do something else in the future, and so established East London Music Group. We have since registered the group as a charity, got some funding, and hatched a whole host of exciting plans.
That first performance, back in February 2015, took place in the Octagon at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), Mile End. The Octagon is a beautiful big room - originally designed as a library - which provided an excellent setting for our new production of Stravinsky’s work. We received a very warm welcome from Paul Edlin, QMUL Director of Music, and had a lovely big audience who thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Our cast featured director Joseph Hardy as the Soldier, Clark Alexander as a superbly devilish Devil, Robyn Holder as the Princess, and Elizabeth Heery as the Narrator, all of whom were absolutely fantastic. We couldn’t have wished to work with a nicer or more talented bunch.
It was also a great privilege to work with Sophie Lockett - violin, Siret Lust - double bass, Ausiàs Garrigos Morant - clarinet, Luke Tucker - bassoon, Sarah Campbell - cornet, Ross Learmonth - trombone, and Sam Wilson - percussion. These are all special musicians and I really hope we’ll be working with them all again before too long.
On 24th November we will return to QMUL to give our second performance. The main work on the programme is Façade by William Walton. Façade is a collection of extraordinary, surrealist, and witty verses by Edith Sitwell, which a young William Walton set music to in 1922. In the original performance the poems were recited by Sitwell herself from behind a curtain using a megaphone. In our performance the words will be brought to life by Wendy Carr and - in his second appearance with ELMG - Joseph Hardy.
Our most exciting event of the year has been the commission of a new piece from East London based composer Edward Nesbit. Ed is a hugely talented composer whose works have been performed by a number of high profile groups, and working with him has been a delight. The plan was to perform the new piece in a concert alongside William Walton’s Façade so we decided it would be interesting to make a piece in the same format. The resulting work, Strange Joy, sets music to three poems by East End First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg, who grew up in Cable Street, barely a mile away from the venue of the premiere.
Thanks for reading, and do please come along to our concert on 24th November - You won’t be disappointed!