London Branch



Branch Contact
Ruth Hellen
30 King James Avenue

Telephone: 01707 876079




The London Branch of The Elgar Society has over 300 members spread around the UK and abroad, with some living as far afield as Australia. Visitors and prospective new members are very welcome to attend meetings; there is no charge for admission and refreshments are available during intervals. The programme of regular illustrated talks is supplemented by occasional concerts and visits.

Unless otherwise indicated, London Branch meetings are held at Queen’s College,  43-49 Harley Street, London W1G 8BT.        

The nearest Underground station is Oxford Circus. There is a public car park nearby and street parking is possible after 6.30 p.m. Please remember that the area is within the congestion and ULEZ charge zone.

Programme for 2021 – 2022

Please note that this programme has been prepared at a time when uncertainty continues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  It may become necessary to change venues, postpone or cancel meetings and omit interval refreshments.  Members on e-mail will be kept informed and the Society’s website kept up-to-date with any changes to our meeting arrangements.

Monday 11 October 2021, 7.30 p.m.

Elgar – the organ and the orchestra : Nicholas Cleobury

As a former Chorister at Worcester Cathedral, Nicholas Cleobury has had Elgar in his blood since childhood. Learning on the organ there and going on to conduct many of his works, he combines this experience with a survey of Elgar as a great self-taught orchestrator and writer for organ, focusing on his orchestration of Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor and Gordon Jacob’s orchestration of the Organ Sonata.  This will be a joint meeting with the Royal School of Church Music.

Sunday 24 October 2021, 4.30 p.m.

Church of St Andrew Holborn, 5 St Andrew St, London EC4A 3AF

50th Anniversary Concert

The Elgar Sinfonia of London, conducted by Adrian Brown, celebrate the London Branch 50th Anniversary with an all-Elgar programme. For details see:

Monday 8 November 2021, 7.30 p.m.

St. James the Less Centre, Thorndike Street, SW1V 2PS

Elgar in the 1920s : Relf Clark

This presentation covers the period from Lady Elgar’s death to the purchase of Marl Bank.   It is intended as a guide to a decade in Elgar’s life usually dismissed as unimportant but which nevertheless embraced much interesting activity. Relf Clark was Branch Secretary from 1995 to 2007.

 Monday 6 December 2021, 7.30 p.m.

Elgar’s church music in context : Stephen Darlington

This talk will explore the church music of Elgar in the context of works by other English composers belonging to the group described disparagingly by George Bernard Shaw as ‘the clique’. It will challenge the view that English church music of the period, including Elgar’s, is sentimental and lacking in substance.

Stephen Darlington has spent his entire career in the field of church music, working in Canterbury, St. Albans and Christ Church, Oxford, but his roots lie in Worcester where he was a schoolboy and first exposed to the glory of Elgar’s music.

Monday 14 February 2022, 7.30 p.m. 

Dweller in Shadows: Writing the life of Ivor Gurney : Kate Kennedy

Ivor Gurney’s war experience was very different from that of Elgar.  This talk by Gurney’s biographer Kate Kennedy discusses his troubled life, his very particular talent as both poet and composer, and the fifteen years he spent writing from within a lunatic asylum before his death there in 1937. She discusses the opportunities and difficulties of recovering a largely forgotten composer, known during his lifetime as one of the ‘best of the young men under the horizon’.

Monday 7 March 2022, 7.00 p.m.

From Dunstable to Birtwistle: ‘English’ composers? : Robert Saxton

How conscious has the notion of ‘Englishness’ been regarding music by British composers? Is it a relatively recent construct invented by the machinery surrounding the music industry? We will investigate possible ‘meanings’ of Englishness in music from Dunstable in the fifteenth century to Elgar and beyond in the twentieth. Some issues to be considered are era, the influence of landscape and the varying and changing role of British composers with regard to both choral/vocal and instrumental music. 

Robert Saxton began composing at the age of 6, with encouragement from Benjamin Britten. He studied with Elisabeth Lutyens, Robin Holloway, Robert Sherlaw Johnson and Luciano Berio and is now Professor of Composition and Tutorial Fellow, Worcester College, Oxford University. 

Monday 25 April 2022, 7.30 p.m. 

A change of mind – Britten and Elgar : Philip Reed

While for most of his career Britten cared little for Elgar’s music, by the 1960s his views about certain pieces changed. An authority on Britten’s life and work, Philip Reed discusses Britten’s evolving attitude to Elgar’s music.

Dr Philip Reed has written widely about Britten’s life and music, and is the editor-in-chief of the 6-volume award-winning edition of the composer’s letters. He has conducted performances of music by Elgar and Britten, including The Dream of Gerontius, The Music Makers, War Requiem and St Nicolas.

Monday 9 May 2022, 2.00 – 5.00 p.m.

Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5HT

Celebrating Elgar’s cello concerto

The 2022 Richards Memorial Event will explore Elgar’s cello concerto, first performed in October 1919. Robert Cohen, with colleagues and students from the RAM, will discuss and illustrate the music, its influence and its teaching.  Further details will be available in due course.

Monday 13 June 2022, 7.00 p.m.

St George’s Church, Hanover Square, W1S 1FX

Branch AGM ; Recital of songs by Elgar and his contemporaries

Clare McCaldin (mezzo-soprano), Anthony Hawgood (tenor), Paul Sheehan (baritone), Stephen Dickinson (piano)

The recital, at 8.15 p.m., will be preceded at 7.30 p.m. by the Branch AGM

Visitors are welcome and there is no charge for admission


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