Elgar for Everyone. The 2019 Elgar Festival takes shape
The 2019 Elgar Festival takes place in Worcester from May 30 to June 2. This year the Festival features a variety of attractions ranging from exhibitions to concerts, taking in talks, recitals and choral events. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cello Concerto, the Festival includes a Cello Workshop for young musicians and a performance of the piece with Raphael Wallfisch as soloist and the ESO directed by Kenneth Woods. Get full details at http://elgarfestival.org .
3 March 2019
David Young receives the Certificate of Merit
Retiring Membership Secretary, David Young, has been presented with the Society’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his long service to the Society in this role. Over a number of years, David has overseen the maintenance of the membership database during a period of great technological and organisational change, showing a commitment to what can be both a rewarding and often frustrating job.
23 September 2018
Donald Hunt OBE dies aged 88
Dr Donald Hunt OBE died at the age of 88 at his home in Worcester on 4 August 2018.
Born in Gloucester, Dr Hunt became a widely regarded organist, conductor, speaker and writer on music. Having served as a chorister in Gloucester Cathedral, he went on to become assistant to Herbert Sumsion, moving on to a position as organist and choirmaster at Leeds Parish Church whilst holding a number of posts within the city.
For twenty years from 1976 Dr Hunt was master of choristers and organist at Worcester Cathedral and became artistic director and conductor of the Three Choirs Festival during this period.
On retirement form the Cathedral, he began his long association with the Elgar School of Music whilst continuing to appear as conductor and performer and founded The Elgar Chorale, which quickly became an important feature of musical life in and around Worcestershire.
Chiefly associated with the music of Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Stanford, Howells and Elgar, Dr Hunt will be greatly missed as a long standing supporter of the Society and its work.
16 April 2018
The Elgar Festival
The Elgar Festival is the official celebration of the life and music of Edward Elgar, based in his home town of Worcester with activities spanning Elgar Country. Together with the National Trust and the Elgar Society, the Festival committee present a programme of activities that will take place over the weekend of the 1st to the 3rd of June 2018, which reflects the full scope of Elgar’s life and music.
The retiring editor of the Elgar Society News has received the Society’s Certificate of Merit. At a time when the production of the News was threatened Richard, together with Ernie Kay, agreed to take over the publication not as editor, but as compiler, until such times as a new editor could be found. Under this joint stewardship, the News has flourished and, once again, become the membership’s main source of information about the wider activities of the Society. Although he has relinquished his responsibilities relating tenth News, Richard will continue in his role as secretary of the West Midlands Branch.
13 June 2017
Chris Bennet awarded the Certificate of Merit
Anyone who knows the Elgar Birthplace Museum will have come across Chris Bennett. After many years of service, Chris has decided to move on in order to explore other avenues. His advice and encyclopaedic knowledge of all matters Elgarian will be sorely missed. However, he will not lose contact with the Elgar community and will still be available to lend his considerable experience when called upon. To mark his departure from the Birthplace, the Society has awarded him its Certificate of Merit in recognition of his extraordinary service to the Elgarian cause. The presentation was made in the Chapter House of Worcester Cathedral by Steven Halls, Chairman of the Society.
12 June 2017
Presentation at St. George’s, Worcester
During the concert of Elgar’s Church Music given by Elgar Voices, directed by Donald Hunt and in the presence of the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, a signed photograph of Sir Edward Elgar bequeathed to the Society by Mr Colin Rhys Parry Jones, was presented to Father Brian McGinley, Priest of St. George’s, by Stuart Freed, Vice-Chairman of the Society.
“When this item was bequeathed to the Society,” said Mr. Freed, “the Council had no hesitation in suggesting that it be found a home in the place in which Elgar made his first public appearances and which was undoubtedly his spiritual home.”
The concert was dedicated to the memory of Samuel Driver White and was held to launch Dr. Hunt’s newly published edition of Elgar’s Church Music.
23 March 2017
Geoff Scargill receives the Certificate of Merit
Geoff Scargill, until recently Chairman of the North West Branch, Executive member and Chairman of the Branch Chairmen’s committee, has been awarded the Society’s Certificate of Merit for his unstinting contribution to the Society and its work.
Over many years, Geoff has given of his time in order to ensure that the Society continues to thrive, particularly in areas where interest in Elgar and his music was either in danger of neglect or was in need of development. Due to his support new branches have been set up and some existing branches have been saved from extinction, both benefiting from his support and guidance. Most recently, Geoff has been a great supporter of and prime mover in establishing a Society affiliate in Germany which is now thriving and helping to encourage both performance and a better understanding of Elgar’s music. Many members will have enjoyed the trips that he organised to Germany.
Geoff continues to serve on the Council of the Society.
31 January 2017
Alexander Walker and Teresa Cahill are awarded the Elgar Medal
Two new recipients of the Society’s Medal have been announced and will be presented later this year.
Conductor Alexander Walker has been a champion of British music and Elgar in particular over many years, performing his music both in the UK and in places as far flung as Belarus, Russia, Poland and Turkey. This year his schedule includes the Enigma Variations in Leatherhead, the Starlight Express in Abingdon and Symphony No.2 in Romania. The Elgar Society is delighted to recognise his contribution to the appreciation of Elgar’s music particularly overseas.
Soprano Teresa Cahill has been a firm supporter of the music of Edward Elgar for many years. Over a long and distinguished career, she has performed the widest possible range of his music in concert, broadcasts and on record. In so doing she has shared the stage with such well known Elgarians as Richard Lewis, Vernon Handley and Sir Alexander Gibson. This award represents a long overdue recognition of her outstanding work and commitment to Elgar’s music.
24 April 2016
The Society recognises the Philomusica.
The Philomusica of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire has become the latest recipient of the Elgar Society’s Certificate of Merit.
Since its formation in 1966, the Philhamusica has built a steady reputation in the local area for high quality choral performance and an outstanding record in the performance of the music of Edward Elgar, performing every one of his choral works, with the exception of The Black Knight.
Society Vice-Chaiman Stuart Freed presented the award on the occasion of the Philomusica’s 1000th concert, during which The Music Makers was performed, saying that the Certificate is awarded in recognition of outstanding commitment to the promotion of the life and works of Edward Elgar and continued, “I am sure that you would all agree, that to have so distinguished and far reaching a performing record as does the Philomusica, fulfils this criterion in as a full a way as anyone may wish”.
Accepting the Certificate on behalf of the Philomusica, conductor Linda Parsons commented that this award is something that will be treasured by the Phlomusica, going on to say, “ I am pleased to be living after the era of Elgar, because it allows me to have performed his music, which those who came before him could not have known”.
A concert featuring The Black Knight is planned for the not too distant future, enabling this the Philomusica to declare a “full house”.