2018 was a successful year for East London Music Group. We were delighted to give the premiere of 1936: An East London Uprising our second commission. The piece was written by Robin Haigh for large ensemble and two narrators and it tells the story of the Battle of Cable Street using text from eyewitness accounts, period journalism, and Hansard. Our narrators were Clark Alexander and Rhiannon Sommers, and the performance was conducted by Matthew Hardy.
It was fantastic to work with the very talented Robin Haigh and the resulting piece was very powerful. Robin has collaborated with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Hermes Experiment, and the Berkeley Ensemble, and was the recipient of a British Composer Award in 2017. You can find more information about Robin and his work on his website here.
In 2018 ELMG also collaborated for the first time with Waltham Forest Music Service. In July we presented a new music and drama piece written by actor and writer Sarah Amankwah exploring the experiences of Waltham Forest residents during World War One. The performance saw 120 children, who had been learning for one year in four of the borough’s primary schools, come together to perform at Walthamstow Assembly Hall. Sarah Amankwah’s script used letters from local residents to describe what life was like at the front and in Waltham Forest during the First World War. Sarah has worked extensively on screen and in theatre, recently appearing at the National Theatre in their productions of The Threepenny Opera and Amadeus.
We were very pleased to continue our partnership with Queen Mary University of London in 2018 as our artists worked with QMUL students in March in rehearsals and performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, conducted by Paul Edlin. Music at QMUL has been growing strongly over the last few years and this season features a fantastic programme of student concerts and visiting artists. Check Music at QMUL for more info on what they’re up to.
We have some exciting projects coming up in 2019 and beyond. Further updates to follow…