Yorkshire & North East

Yorkshire & North East Branch

Y & NE



Branch Contact
Paul Grafton
Fair Winds
Parsons Green
LS22 6RQ

Telephone: 01937 583723



We meet on designated Saturdays from 2:00 – 4:00 pm

In the light of the coronavirus epidemic and the advice issued by HM Government we must cancel all Yorkshire & North East branch meetings at the Bar Convent with immediate effect until further notice.

This is a disappointment to all of us, but the most important thing is to keep as healthy as possible.

We look forward to resuming our exploration of the music, life and times of one of the greatest composers this country has produced as soon as the situation improves sufficiently.

Better news is that the meeting on May 23rd will go ahead online. Please see below for details.

16 May 2020

We are very saddened to hear of the death of former Yorkshire & North East branch Chairman Tony Pook.  The branch committee sends its sincere condolences to his widow, family and friends. A full tribute will be contained in a newsletter to be issued shortly.

The Bedingfield Room
The Bar Convent
17-19 Blossom Street
YO24 1AQ

The Bar Convent

Admission is free; a charge of £3 is made for (optional) refreshments.

To find the Bar Convent: The historically significant and architecturally notable Bar Convent is a five-minute walk from York Railway Station; at the station exit turn right onto Queen Street, follow the road round to the traffic lights, cross the road, turn right and the Bar Convent is immediately on your left. Park and ride buses from Askham Bar (White Line, No 3 service) stop outside the Everyman cinema; this is across the road from our venue. There is a pay-and-display car park close to the Bar Convent on Nunnery Lane – SATNAV YO23 1AA.

Branch News

To help develop our branch, increase its membership and encourage attendance at meetings, Branch Chairman Professor David Young commissioned a ‘pull up’ banner which can be taken to performances of Elgar’s music, and to other events as appropriate.
It was used for the first time on Saturday November 9th at the Royal Hall in Harrogate where the Harrogate Choral Society and the Amici Ensemble gave an all-Elgar programme conducted by Andrew Padmore. Dr Padmore will be the speaker for a future branch meeting.

Seen here are branch committee members (L-R) David Young, Caroline Gilderdale and Paul Grafton with the banner at Harrogate.

Programme of meetings for 2020

The Bar Convent, Blossom Street, York, the venue for the Yorkshire & North East Branch meetings


23 May, 2.00 pm (We are delighted to be able to announce that this meeting will go ahead online using Zoom. Please check the website for log on details.)         CHRISTOPHER WILTSHIRE          Elgar as Remembered in Radio Interviews by Those who Knew Him

In this sequel to his fascinating talk in 2018, Christopher will share with us his unique collection of recordings of conversations with people who knew Elgar. His talk is illustrated with a series of edited audio clips together with images and music.

Dr Christopher Wiltshire, a retired oncologist and psychotherapist, is Secretary of the East Anglian Branch of the Elgar Society.

27 June, 2.00 pm (This meeting may be postponed – the web page will be updated as soon as information is available)          STUART FREED          The Lighter Side of Elgar

In common with many of the great composers, Elgar wrote numerous light or ‘salon’ pieces. Stuart explores Elgar’s lighter fare, examining how the pieces came to be composed, where they fit into the wider canon and how they have continued to maintain their popularity.

Stuart Freed is Vice-Chairman of the Elgar Society.

26 September, 2.00 pm          STEVEN HALLS          Elgar’s Chamber Music: From the Shed to the World

An illustrated examination of Elgar’s chamber music, showing how crucial these mostly early works were in Elgar’s development and finishing with the autumnal Brinkwells music.

Dr Steven Halls is past Chairman of the Elgar Society. He chairs the Elgar Complete Edition, and Elgar Works, a charitable organization which provides practical support for performances.

31 October, 2.00 pm          JACQUELINE EDWARDS          England’s Britannia: Dame Clara Butt

As mezzo soprano and pianist Jacqueline discusses and illustrates the life and career of the celebrated Edwardian contralto Dame Clara Butt, for whom Elgar composed Sea Pictures and who will ever be associated with ‘Land of Hope and Glory.’

A descendant of Dame Clara, Jacqueline Edwards is a concert and opera singer and also performs in a series of one-woman cabarets.

28 November, 2.00 pm          BERNARD PORTER          Elgar, the North, and King Olaf

One of Elgar’s early choral masterpieces, Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf was based on one of the Norse Sagas by Snorri Sturlasson, but via Longfellow’s poem. Bernard will introduce these literary sources and discuss the attraction of the subject to Elgar. Emeritus Professor Bernard Porter is an academic historian and committee member of our Branch of the Elgar Society.

Upcoming Performances of Elgar’s Music in Yorkshire and the North East

NB: Three Elgar concerts have now been postponed with alternative dates as below. However, in the current circumstances and in the light of predictions by the Musicians Union and other organisations, it seems very possible that concert life will not resume until 2021. Please keep monitoring this website for updated information. We look forward to the day when Elgar’s wonderful music can be heard in live performances again.

Saturday March 28th, Ripon Cathedral: The performance of The Kingdom has now been re-scheduled for Saturday November 14th. Full details will be posted here when available.

Saturday 6th June, 7.00pm, Victoria Hall, Sheffield S1 2JB: The Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra’s Elgar concert is now postponed with an alternative date of  Saturday 14th November.

Saturday November 7th, Huddersfield Town Hall, 7.30pm
(This concert was postponed from Saturday May 9th due to the COVID – 9 emergency ).
Overture In The South (Alassio)
Serenade For Strings
Sea Pictures
Enigma Variations
Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra
Bridget Budge (soprano) Rita Castro Blanco (conductor) Eileen Butterworth (leader)

Previous Meetings of Our Branch

On November 24th 2018 Dr Donald Hunt was to address the Yorkshire and North East branch meeting. Sadly that was not to be due to the death of Dr Hunt; but he had given Caroline Gilderdale a copy of the script which he had prepared; it was read for us by Dr Simon Lindley. Caroline Gilderdale is seen here (left) conducting an ensemble comprising singers from the Yorkshire Bach Choir and York Cantores, performing a selection of Elgar’s church music, edited by Donald Hunt. Simon Lindley (right) accompanies.

Elgar had great respect and admiration for Hubert Parry – and publicly acknowledged the debt that he, in particular, and English music in general, owed to Parry. The violinist Rupert Marshall-Luck has recently recorded a triple-disc set of Parry’s complete music for violin and piano, and is also currently editing all Elgar’s violin music. From this perspective, on Saturday March 23rd, he gave a talk to the Yorkshire and North East branch which described and demonstrated the two composers’ writing for violin; also revealing what their musical notations for the instrument can tell us of contemporary playing styles and characteristics.



Our meeting on Saturday May 4th featured live music performed by the Fairfax Ensemble.
Photo collage by Caroline Gilderdale.

Our meeting on Saturday 25 May featured Jonathan Clinch who spoke on Elgar and Herbert Howells. Edward Elgar was one of the greatest influences on the young Herbert Howells and played an important practical role in his early career. Howells in turn dedicated the middle movement of his Concerto for String Orchestra of 1938 jointly to the memory of Elgar and Howells’ son Michael. Jonathan offered new insights into the nature of their relationship. Dr Jonathan Clinch is an organist, musicologist and Lecturer in Academic Studies at The Royal Academy of Music.
On Saturday 15th June Rev. John Knowles spoke on Elgar, Liverpool and Malcolm Sargent. John investigated the early links between Liverpool and Elgar and between Sargent and Elgar, as an introduction to Sargent’s Elgar performances with Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. John is presently the Chairman of the North West Branch of the Elgar Society.

28 SEPTEMBER Daniel Grimley Unfolding Elgar’s Sanguine Fan
Elgar’s 1917 ballet The Sanguine Fan, is one of his most delightful but neglected scores. In his talk, Daniel argued that the Sanguine Fan in fact constituted a means of mediating the processes of mourning, memorialisation and loss that lay at the heart of Elgar’s creative project during wartime. Daniel is a Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, and Douglas Algar Tutorial fellow at Merton College

26 OCTOBER Jonathan Wainwright Gerontius with MS notes on Elgar
A first-edition vocal score of The Dream of Gerontius (Novello, 1900) which once belonged to Elgar’s early biographer Robert J. Buckley, contains numerous, previously unnoticed, annotations in the hand of Edward Elgar himself. Jonathan examined the significance of some of Elgar’s notes and annotations.
Jo Wainwright is Professor of Music at the University of York. He is a musicologist, conductor and performer.

23rd NOVEMBER Andrew Neill The Pursuit of Grania and Diarmid

Andrew has been writing up CD notes on Grania and Diarmid as well as a forthcoming recording of Caractacus, and shared with us some of the highlights of his researches.
Andrew is a Vice-President of the Elgar Society, a member of its London Branch and a past Chairman of the Society ( 1992-2008) and has contributed to four books on Elgar’ life and music.

25 January, (Branch AGM)

The AGM was followed by a talk given by Branch Chairman Professor David Young entitled Reading The Music Makers
After reading the poem, the score, and press reviews, one is left wondering why Elgar’s The Music Makers at first met such a muted response. David’s talk included a complete performance of the work in a recording conducted by Sir Adrian Boult and featuring Dame Janet Baker.



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