Colchester Classics

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for November 2017



This month is crammed full of concerts.  Here are just a few!


This year on Armistice Day, we especially remember the dreadful events of Passchendaele and there will be many commemorative concerts. Many music events will be taking place this weekend to commemorate those who played their part in the two World Wars and more recent conflicts

Lexden Choral Society, accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta, presents a Remembrance concert including Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man in the first half of the programme followed by more up-beat British orchestral favourites such Walton’s Crown Imperial and Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory in the second half.  Saturday November 11 at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

Tickets: £13 (01206 766906) or from Manns Music Shop.

Essex-based Lyston Voices will be performing both Faure’s and Rutter’s Requiems on Sunday November 12 at 6pm in Holy Trinity, Long Melford.

Admission £15, (inclusive of programme & Interval drinks) advance reservations from email: or at the door from 5.30pm

A Tribute to the Fallen – a Celebration of Freedom is the title of the Suffolk Philharmonic’s concert for Remembrance Sunday including Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Elgar’s Cello Concerto.  Sunday November 12 at 4pm in Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Tickets from £15.

Finally at Saffron Walden’s prestigious Saffron Hall,  The Harlow Chorus, Saffron Walden Choral Society and the Choristers of Jesus College will perform Britten’s powerful and moving War Requiem.  This concert takes place at Saffron Hall on Sunday November 11 at 7.30pm.

Tickets from £15 (0845 548 7650)


In addition to these Remembrance concerts, others are available! Now in its thirtieth year, the Suffolk Villages Festival brings high-quality performances of early music to rural East Anglia. This Sunday (12 November) at 6pm there is a concert of sacred music spanning the religious divide from Monteverdi to Handel. St Peter’s Church, Sudbury.

For further details and full concert programme on this fascinating concert – (01206 366603)


This weekend there are two opportunities to hear the internationally renowned Trio Con Brio CopenhagenSaturday 11 November at 7.30pm for the Ipswich Chamber Music Society, 7.30pm in the Great Hall in Ipswich School  and also on Sunday 12 November at 4pm in  St Mary’s Church, East Bergholt  as part of the Stour Valley and Arts concert series (01206 298426)

 LUNCHTIME RECITALS from Bray Harps, Medieval Looped music to Ondes Martenots!

Leah Stuttard (bray harp, voice, bells) will team up with her duo partner Agnethe Christensen (voice, Nordic lyres, bells) to present a concert that will make you look at the humble hymn in a new way!   Leah and Agnethe explore the origins of Luther’s chorale melodies using versions originally printed for amateurs at home in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and also perform Scandinavian folk hymns, based on Luther’s tunes, but enriched with startling unexpected chromatics and embellishments.

Wednesday November 15 at 1pm at Colchester’s Lion Walk United Reformed Church

And in complete contrast with all of the above, this month there are several Early Music concerts taking place in St Andrew’s Church in Marks Tey. One of them, A Multitude of Minstrels, offers a meander through the life and music of a court minstrel in the Middle ages. Equipped with little more than some harps, lutes, citoles, fiddles and various wind instruments, Colchester’s Early Music group aims to offer an insight in the world of a professional medieval musician.

For further information on these concerts email or (01206 212466).

Lizzie Gutteridge is actively involved in Colchester’s Early Music Group and amongst other things, also has her own Consort of 1. She will be playing medieval dance tunes on medieval instruments at Colchester’s Lion Walk United Reformed lunchtime concert series on Wednesday November 22 at 1pm.

For further information on the remainder of concerts in the current series please visit

Here is a chance to see and hear one of the first electronic instruments, the Ondes Martenot, famously heard in Messiaen’s Turangalia Symphony but used more recently by film composer James Horner and Radiohead. Monday November 13 at 1.10pm at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.  (01284 769505)


Born without his right hand, piano star Nicholas McCarthy is at the forefront of British music talent, championing accessibility to music for all by using his U.K.

Colchester-based Nicholas is currently touring and promoting his new CD, ‘Echoes’ featuring a cross section from Bach to Rachmaninoff. As a proud Yamaha artist he is delighted to have recorded on the stunning Yamaha flagship Concert Grand CFX.

On Sunday November 19 at 3pm, Nicholas will be performing at Colchester’s St Botolph’s Church.

For full details and to purchase tickets in advance, please click


Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Latin for solemn mass) is a rare religious outing for the composer. Written just before his famous Ninth Symphony, it has sadly not enjoyed the same level of popular attention.  Some have suggested that the music is better-suited to a concert hall rather than a church while others have compared it with a short opera.  Here is a chance for you to make up your own mind about this beautiful work with soloists Ellie Laugharne, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, Daniel Joy, Edward Grint, Colchester Choral Society and the Colchester Sinfonia (leader: Jessie Ridley) conducted by Ian Ray.  Saturday November 25 in St Botolph’s Church at 7.30pm

Tickets: £15 from Manns Music or buy on-line

On the same evening, music-lovers in Ipswich will be spoilt for choice!

The brilliant young cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason will perform the work he won the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, the inspiring Shostakovich 1st Cello Concerto. He will be accompanied by the Ipswich Symphony Orchestra in this all-Russian programme including Rachmaninov’s thrilling Symphony No.2. At only 18, Sheku is already a powerful role model for young musicians.

Tickets are free for under 18s – further details (01473 256461) and       

Whiel over at St John’s, Cauldwell Hall Road the Ipswich Bach Choir and Chamber Orchestra will perform music by Mozart including the ‘Coronation’ Mass and his delightful D major Flute Concerto with soloist Mary Blanchard. As an added bonus, soprano Gill Wilson will repeat her celebrated performance of the Queen of the Night’s aria from The Magic Flute.

Also on the same Saturday evening the Essex Symphony Orchestra will be presenting another tantalising programme featuring Matilda Lloyd who will be playing Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. Matilda who has played with the BBC Concert Orchestra and has many accolades to her name including that of BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014 where she was the brass final winner.

The orchestra will also be playing Rossini’s ‘The Thieving Magpie’ Overture and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major ‘Great’. The concert promises to be a fantastic event and we are incredibly lucky to have Matilda as our soloist on the night! Christchurch in New London Road, Chelmsford on Saturday 25 November at 7.30pm.

The next day, the Colchester Chamber Choir will be celebrating Thanksgiving with an all-American extravaganza at the Moot Hall, Colchester Town Hall on Sunday November 26 at 6pm. Colchester’s acclaimed Chamber Choir will go Stateside with Simple Gifts in November to celebrate Thanksgiving with an all-American extravaganza guaranteed to get toes tapping.

The town’s Moot Hall will resound to joyful and moving music from the very best of American composers including Aaron Copland’s celebrated Old American Songs in choral arrangement, plus works by Samuel Barber including his famous Sure on this shining night and, from his opera Vanessa, the beautiful Under the willow tree, as well as two unusual settings of Emily Dickinson poems by a young Elliott Carter. Also in the programme are Virgil Thomson’s affecting Four Hymns from the Old South.

The concert is on Sunday 26th November in the Moot Hall, Colchester, starting at 6pm and tickets priced £16 adults, £10 for under-30s and £5 for full time students are on sale online at

And last but by no means least, the Young Musician’s Concert series continues at The Pimlott Foundation with Eleanor Voak (bassoon and contra bassoon) and Katherine Raven (viola) with Dr Ian Ray (piano). The programme will include Vogel: Concerto in C Major for bassoon, Schreck: Sonata Op 9, Schubert: The Bass Nightingale, Rebecca Clarke: Sonata for Viola. Admission free. Donations welcome. Refreshments available.

Eleanor is 13 years old , and studying for her DipABRSM, and Katherine is a student at the Royal College of Music.

About the Pimlott Foundation’s Education Programme – it provides musical enrichment experiences for both Primary and Secondary School pupils in Essex and also Suffolk.

About the Pimlott Foundation’s Student Sponsorship scheme –  it offers up to £500 each year to sponsor 1 or 2 talented young musicians. We encourage all performing arts, but music should be at the forefront of any application. Sponsorship period to last April 2018-19. Priority will be given to students with East Anglian connections.

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale







Liz Leatherdale

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for February



On Wednesday 1 February at 1pm the The Marenzio Singers will be performing at the first lunchtime concert in 2017 at Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester. The Marenzio Singers are a five-part vocal ensemble and specialise in music from the 16th and 17th centuries plus music from more modern times.

Free entry with a retiring collection.

Last January the University of Essex Choir under the direction of Richard Cooke performed Mozart’s Requiem and other works to a packed audience at the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall in the university.  Early next month, the choir will be back at the same venue with an intriguing selection of pieces.

The choir’s next concert does not feature one major choral work but instead Richard has chosen a wide selection of music.  I understand that the choir has been thoroughly enjoying rehearsing Holst’s hauntingly beautiful Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (group 3), for female voices only, and Britten’s The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, for the male voices.  The concert also includes works for the whole choir in Brahms’ 4 Quartets (Op 92), contrasting with Folksong arrangements by Percy Grainger such as I’m Seventeen Come Sunday and music  by the sadly neglected 20th century Swedish composer, Stenhammar.  The choir will be accompanied by pianists Richard Pearce and Jonathan Beatty who will also perform music by Brahms, Debussy and Grieg.

This concert takes place on Saturday 4 February at 7pm.  Tickets: £22 ( By the way, a short walk from the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, Wivenhoe House Hotel is offering pre- or post-concert dining (01206 863666).

On Sunday February 5 at 2.45pm the Kingfisher Ensemble returns to Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester performing Piano Quartets by Schumann and Beethoven.

Tickets: £12 and available on the door.

Colin Nicholson will be joining Ian Ray in Two’s Company in the second concert in the series of three lunchtime Organ Recitals given on the magnificent Moot Hall. A variety of organ duos will be performed on Tuesday 7 February at the Colchester Town Hall .

Free entry with a retiring collection.

Over in Chelmsford, Jeffrey Wilson’s Environ Music promotes creative musical initiatives including a regular Wednesday lunchtime recital series at the Cramphorn Theatre in Chelmsford. This month on Wednesday 15 February the “Sun Trio” (Carol Taylor, clarinet, Paul Arnell, viola, Alison Eales, piano) offer some engaging chamber music.

Further information (01245 606505)

Last year octogenarian Colin Nicholson celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his founding St Botolph’s Music Society in Colchester with his wife, Gill. This month Colin will be conducting the Society’s orchestra in its Gala Concert with a trio of concertos. International pianist Noriko Ogawa performs Grieg’s Piano Concerto – one of the most-loved piano works of all time. (Some of you may recall the classic Morecambe & Wise sketch with Eric attempting to perform this concerto while endlessly annoying conductor Andre Previn). Back to 2017: in the same concert, soloist Philip Smith will perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto and the solo violin part in Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole will be played by Sian Philipps. Saturday 18 February at 7pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

Tickets: £15 (01206 577905)

Colchester Classics is delighted to be at the Noriko Ogawa concert offering her CDs before her  CD signing in the interval.

The following weekend at the same venue, situated next to the ruins of the Norman priory, Colchester Bach Choir and Orchestra perform their annual concert in aid of the Mayor of Colchester’s Charities. On 25 February the choir will be presenting An Evening of Mozart to include the famous ‘Coronation’ Mass and the Solemn Vespers. Among other pieces, a highlight will be the delightful Flute Concerto in D with Mary Blanchard as soloist. Conductor Patrick McCarthy tells me he also has a Mozartian surprise or two up his sleeve. This will be the 23rd such concert the choir has given for successive Colchester mayors thereby raising many thousands of pounds for their charities.

Tickets £12 (£5 full-time education). Tel (01206) 282206

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale

Liz Leatherdale

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for December



Somehow Christmas isn’t the same without Festive Music, whether traditional carols from a choir or a Brass Band playing seasonal treats. If you are looking forward to hearing Christmas music and singing some favourite carols, you will not be disappointed with the small selection highlighted here.

This month offers the chance to hear the unique sound worlds created by Wind Instruments from both Medieval Times and our current day, Christmas music and much more!


The final two concerts in the Colchester Early Music series 2016 take place in the Medieval Church at Marks Tey where the distinctive sounds created by period wind instruments originally heard at dances and banquets in Medieval and Renaissances times will be heard.

The first concert is on Sunday 4 December when The King’s Lynn Waites presents music and readings from the Hall Books of Lynn  in a concert entitled “When th’ Instruments they can scarce hold: tales and tunes of a Wait’s life”. The following Sunday The York Waits end the Colchester Early Music 2016 concert series with seasonal music from the 12th-17th centuries on shawm, sackbuts, harp, gittern, fiddles, recorders, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy and rommelpot in “Godday my Lord Sire Christemass”. Both concerts start at 2.30pm in St Andrews Church, Mark Tey, near Colchester.

Tickets: £8 including refreshments. (01206 212466)

Back to modern day wind instruments and the East Anglian Single Reed Choir conducted by Anthony Bailey present a concert in St Osyth Church of both non-seasonal and seasonal music including the premiere of Anthony Bailey’s latest Christmas music, this year based around the Holly & the Ivy.  The word Choir is often associated with church choirs, large choirs but it is also the term used to describe an ensemble of wood wind instruments, either all of one type or in this case a combination of single reed instruments – the clarinet and saxophone. Sunday, 4 December, St Osyth Church at 6pm.

Tickets: £6 including refreshments available on the door

‘Christmas is Coming’ is the title of the recital on the magnificent Moot Hall organ with soprano soloist Lindsay Gowers accompanied by organist Ian Ray in an all-English programme of songs and organ music. Tuesday 6 December, 1-2pm in the Moot Hall, Colchester Town Hall.

Admission is free with a retiring collection

The following Sunday, Ian Ray will be back in the Moot Hall directing the Colchester Choral Society, a children’s semi-chorus singing from the gallery, a brass quintet, organist Dr Gillian Ward Russell and compere Terence Craig Waller in ‘Here Comes Christmas’.  December 11 at 4pm.

Tickets £8 including refreshments in the Mayor’s Parlour

‘A Symphonic Christmas’ with The Choir of St Mary’s, Maldon, accompanied by the Lewisham Concert Band, performs John Rutter’s Gloria, Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Saturday, 3 December at 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Maldon.

Tickets: £12. (01621 856503)

On the same day, the Clacton Choral Society accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta present their Christmas concert with Handel’s Messiah (Part One) and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols. In addition to these choral works the Kingfisher Sinfonietta who will also perform Winter from Vivaldi’s popular work, The Four Seasons, and in contrast Gabriel’s Oboe from the film, The Mission.

Ticket information (01255 221511)

Two concerts with little or no reference to seasonal music are also available this weekend. The Puffin Ensemble, Colchester Symphony Orchestra’s principal wind players, performs music by Strauss, Dvorak and Hummel in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester, tomorrow at 7.30pm. Tickets: £14 (01206 271128).  Then on Sunday afternoon the Kingfisher Sinfonietta returns to Lion Walk Church in Colchester with music by Vivaldi, Mozart and Frank Bridge.  . Sunday 4 December 2016 at 2.45pm.

Tickets: £12

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale

Liz Leatherdale

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for July



On Friday July 15 sees the first night of the 122nd season of the world’s greatest Classical Music festival, the BBC Proms, offering opportunities to explore Classical Music through the BBC Proms with a diverse season of live concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, on BBC TV and BBC Radio 3.

The BBC One Show, Tuesday 12 July at 7pm, should broadcast a film with Gyles Brandreth interviewing Patrick McCarthy, a local musician about how he saved Andre Previn’s live televised performance Orff’s Carmina Burana at the BBC Proms in 1974.

Last month we were treated to many Music Festivals in our musically rich region. This month the Roman River Summer Festival and more is happening! Feast your ears and eyes on festivals and concerts in our musically rich region.

Colchester’s Roman River Festival recently published its main brochure detailing events, talks, walks and, of course, concerts for the main Festival (16 September – 2 October) which will feature world-renowned musicians including Nicola Benedetti.  In addition to the Autumn concert series, there is also a mini-festival (8 – 10 July) with musicians Tom Poster, Elena Urioste, Orlando Jopling and others in informal concerts in Mistley, Wivenhoe and East Mersea.
Box Office (07759 934860) for further information on all events for both festivals

Saturday evening (9 July) Chris Phelps will be conducting the Colchester Symphony Orchestra in an all-Russian programme including Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 with young soloist, Erdem Misirlioglu, piano category winner of the 2008 BBC Young Musician of the Year. The Third Concerto is often over-shadowed by No.2 , but received greater recognition when featured in the Oscar-winning film, Shine.  The movie told the true story of the Australian concert pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and abandoned his career for many years. Saturday July 9 at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester . (Both the second and third concertos were heard in the same venue performed by international pianists Noriko Ogawa and Philip Smith at St Botolph’s Music Society’s 50th Anniversary Gala concert)

Tickets. £14 (01206 271128)

On Sunday 10 July Chris Phelps will be guiding The Kelvedon Singers through arrangements of well-known English songs in the beautiful setting of The Coach House at Marks Hall Gardens. The evening includes a glass of wine, canapés and complimentary access to the Gardens and Arboretum in Coggeshall.

Tickets: £15 (01376 563796)

Also on Saturday evening at 7.30pm James Davy, Organist & Master of the Choristers at Chelmsford Cathedral and conductor of The Chelmsford Singers, presents an organ recital at St Peter-ad-Vincula, Coggeshall.

Tickets: £7.50 on the door

The final concert in the current season at Studio Music at Brightlingsea begins at 3pm on Sunday 10 July with Trio Goya presenting chamber works by Haydn.

Tickets: £15

The East Anglian Single Reed Choir, an ensemble of clarinets and saxophones, presents its summer concert including music by Holst and Rimsky Korsakov on Sunday July 10 at 6pm, St Mary’s Church, Little Bromley. Tickets on the door by donation.
Tickets: 07425 1450222 or

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale






Liz Leatherdale


Wellies & Black Tie Ball

* Sponsor * Enjoy * Participate * Dance * Laugh * Share * Learn *

The 10th anniversary celebrations of Wellies-On Community Interest Company and Colchester Classics will be held on the 22nd of July at Wivenhoe House Hotel with a Wellies & Black Tie Ball.

In order to ensure the success of this key fundraising event, we are seeking contributions to help defray the costs associated with the event so that all funds raised can go directly to the community.

It’s only with support from generous donators such as yourselves that we are able to continue to provide local individuals and families in need with innovative intervention, therapeutic services and education.

We hope that we can count on your support, enabling us in our work to build confidence and improve skills within the people that attend Wellies-On Care Farm.

Our service helps individuals to see their inner strengths, giving them skills and resilience to help them to cope with the things with which they struggle.

We will, of course, make it known from where the prizes for the silent auction and sponsorship have been donated with plenty of media opportunities, thereby also raising the profile of your company locally.

This year Colchester Classics are celebrating 10 years as a multi-award-winning Classical Music CD service to clever collectors and also  those starting their love affair with music.  Additionally, they offer CDs at concerts, festivals and rehearsals and preview and review concerts in Essex Life, Essex County Standard and Colchester Gazette. Not only are they helping us to celebrate with some fantastic music but they are also providing a huge amount of support to make the evening a success.

Why not treat yourself and your team to this glamorous night out whilst helping a worthy cause? You can request booking information and sponsorship opportunities from

I hope very much to hear from you, and that you will be able to help to support us and our event.

Book your tickets HERE.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Gold Package  – £500

Purchase of table center pieces

Logo on AV Screens

Logo on Tables

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Social Media Coverage with Web Links

Ball Sponsors Listing

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Silver Package No.1 – £300


Logo on Tables

Logo on Pre-event Marketing

Social Media Coverage with Web Links

Ball Sponsors Listing

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Silver Package No.2  – £300

Purchase of Chair covers

Logo on Tables

Logo on Pre-event Marketing

Social Media Coverage with Web Links

Ball Sponsors Listing

Logo on Table Plan


Bronze Package – £150

Essex Life Photography and associated acknowledgment

Logo on Pre-event Marketing

Social Media Coverage with Web Links

Ball Programme Sponsors Listing

Logo on Table Plan

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for June



BBC Music Day

BBC Music Day is a UK-wide celebration of everything we love about music with the aim of bringing people together from different generations and communities. On Friday 3 June, Colchester celebrates this event with the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra,  students from Academy East Music School, Tendring Music School and pupils from local schools including Philip Morant, Thurstable and Colchester Royal Grammar School perform some of the BBC 10 pieces which are being promoted by Essex Music Education Hub through workshops and lessons.  Friday 3 June at 7pm, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

Admission is free with a retiring collect.

Frinton Festival & Family Concert

The opening concert in the annual Frinton Festival is on Thursday 2 June with music by Saint-Saens, Hugo Wolf and Beethoven.

This concert and also the Family Concert on Saturday 4 June have a limited number of free tickets for those aged 8 – 25. (01255 319141)

The Sixteen

The Sixteen, comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, are recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Saturday 4 June the sixteenth choral pilgrimage of The Sixteen under Harry Christophers comes to Chelmsford. The concert celebrates the work of William Byrd and Arvo Pärt, composers from very different eras, both considered masters of sacred music despite having faced considerable persecution for their work.  Chelmsford Cathedral, Saturday 4 June at 7.30pm.

Tickets from £15 (0333 666 3366)

Dulcis Venti & Francis Knights

Discovering that there was no existing repertoire for recorder quartet with harpsichord, Colchester New Music challenged composers around the world to rectify the situation. Saturday 4 June,  Dulcis Venti and harpsichordist Francis Knights present the first ever performances of works for this mysteriously neglected ensemble. Dulcis Venti is a newly formed recorder quartet, based in East Anglia and directed by Stephen Watkins. Francis Knights is Director of Studies in Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and trained as a harpsichordist under Robert Woolley. Saturday 4 June at 7.30pm. Headgate Theatre, Colchester.

Tickets: £8 (01206 366000 or email

Nicholas McCarthy

Born without his right hand, award-winning British pianist Nicholas McCarthy is a champion of the left-hand repertoire. On Tuesday 31 May, his Summer UK Piano Tour begins and on June 5, Nicholas returns to his hometown of Colchester for a concert at St Botolph’s Church at 3pm before completing his UK tour on 16 June. Nicholas is one of the rare musicians who captivates the audience with his musicianship and informs and entertains with his remarkable repertoire knowledge.

Nicholas performs music especially written for the left-hand only, transcriptions and arrangements, including his own, and recent commissions.  Tickets: £10 (0800 411 8881). At his Colchester concert Nicholas will pick the winner for a signed copy of his debut album, Solo. To enter the competition ring 0800 999 4994 or by email  Sunday June 5 at 3pm in St Botolph’s Church.

Tickets: £10 (0800 411 8881

Beth Spendlove & Nigel Clayton

At 2.45pm on Sunday 5 June Beth Spendlove and Nigel Clayton perform music for violin and piano by Handel, Mozart and Szymanowski in Lion Walk Church, Colchester. Tickets: £12 on the door.   Beth and Nigel present a recital on Thursday June 9 as part of the 22nd season of Summer Concerts, St Mary’s Church, Frinton.

Free admission with retiring collection.

Witham Choral Society – Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday

On 11 June at 7.30 pm at Witham United Reformed Church, Newland Street, Witham Choral Society will be celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday by performing some of the music played at her Coronation back in 1953. Accompanied by the Colchester Bach Ensemble the concert will feature Handel Coronation Anthems (including Zadok the Priest), Greensleeves and Purcell’s Trumpet Tune. The choir will also sing Vivaldi’s Gloria and music by Haydn and Mozart.

Tickets are £10 and £5 for those in full-time education.

Purcell’s The Fairy Queen

Shakespeare has inspired countless composers throughout the ages. Purcell’s The Fairy Queen is a magical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it inaugurates both the Maldon Festival and its commemoration of the Bard’s 400th Anniversary. The City Lit Opera with Pegasus Baroque Orchestra perform at the Amphitheatre, Promenade Park, Maldon on Saturday June 25 at 6pm. Tickets: £15 (01621 856503). On the same evening, the Colchester Choral Society performs Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in the version devised by Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst, and first performed at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1967.

Further information

Harwich Festival

Tickets are now available for the Harwich Festival 2016 (24 June – 3 July) with discounted season tickets on offer for its Classical Music concerts with performances by the Amphion Consort, the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the London Piano Trio and many more.

Tickets: 07425 1450222 or

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale






Liz Leatherdale

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for April & May




Brahms’ German Requiem
Brahms’ German Requiem is not primarily a Mass for the dead but is rather intended as comfort for those who mourn and who feel pain at the death of others. This beautiful choral work will be heard Saturday 23 April at 3pm in Frinton in Frinton Parish Church performed by the Stour Choral Society plus a selection of songs for St George’s Day.

Tickets: £10 on the door (01206 271291)

The Colchester Waits

The Colchester Waits perform on reproductions of early wind instruments popular in the 15th century. This unique sound, along with dancing from the Colchester Historical Dance group, is on offer at a celebration of music and texts from Shakespeare’s time on Sunday 24 April at 2.30pm in St Andrew’s Church, Marks Tey.

Tickets: £8 on the door

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

The Pimlott Foundation presents ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ with songs, sonnets and scenes associated with the Bard performed by soprano Daniela Bechly, pianist Christiane Behn and actors including Anthony Roberts. Sunday 24 April at 6pm.

Tickets: £10. Old House Barn, Old House Road, Great Horkesley. CO6 4EQ (01206 271291)

The Magic of Music

Also on Sunday 24 April, the Clacton Concert Orchestra presents a concert entitled “The Magic of Music” including both of Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suites, and Gabriel’s Oboe, the haunting and evocative theme by Morricone from the 1986 film The Mission. Sunday 24 April at 3pm in St Bartholomew’s Church, Holland on Sea.

Tickets: £8.00 (01255 223455)

Vivaldi’s Gloria in D

On 30 April Vivaldi’s most famous choral work, his Gloria in D, will be performed in two contrasting performances. The work is popular because of its distinctive rhythms, joyful choral writing, especially for the altos in ‘Domine Fili unigenite’ and bright orchestral accompaniment showcasing the Piccolo Trumpet and Oboe.

The Kelvedon Singers celebrate their 50th anniversary, plus significant birthdays for two long-standing altos, with a concert including the Gloria. This chamber choir, now based in Coggeshall, was founded by the Rev. Peter Elers, then the Vicar of Kelvedon. Other joyous works by Schubert, Britten and Mozart will be performed by the choir and accompanied by a chamber orchestra.

Tickets: £10 – £12 (01376 561719). Saturday 30 April at 7.30pm at St Peter’s ad Vincula, Coggeshall

In contrast with the above, the large University of Essex Choir performs Vivaldi’s Gloria and Haydn’s ‘Nelson Mass’ accompanied by the London Mozart Players, no less.

Tickets: £8 – £24. Saturday 30 April at 7pm. Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Suffolk

Ashley Grote

The first anniversary series celebrating the renovation of the majestic Edwardian Organ housed in Colchester’s Town Hall begins this month with Ashley Grote (Master of Music at Norwich Cathedral). Thursday, May 26 at 7pm. Moot Hall, Colchester.

Tickets: £15 (01206 272908)

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale






Liz Leatherdale

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for March


Roman River Music Festival 2016

On March 5, one of the UK’s best-loved violinists Tasmin Little and eminent pianist and collaborator Piers Lane launch the Roman River Music Festival 2016 in a programme of Beethoven, Franck and Szymanowski. Young violinist Melinda Blackman, who was last heard in Colchester on 21 November in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester will open the concert.

Tickets: £8 – 24. Saturday 5 March, 7.30pm, Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Box Office (01206 573948).

Sam Moffit accompanied by Colin Baldy

On the same evening there is a chance to hear young trumpeter Sam Moffit accompanied by Colin Baldy at the new Hey Orgelbau organ in St Mary’s, Maldon. Sam was a Brass Finalist in BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist 2010.

Tickets: £10 – £12 (01621 856503)

Kingfisher Ensemble

Last Saturday (27 February) evening oboist Rob Rogers was one of the wind-powered soloists in the Puffin Ensemble accompanied by the Colchester Symphony Orchestra. This Sunday afternoon Rob joins the Kingfisher Ensemble in a concert including music by Gordon Jacob’s and Paul Carr.   Sunday 6 March at 2.45pm in the Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester.

Tickets: £2 – £12 

Red Priest

Stour Valley Arts & Music have a real coup with the red-hot early music quartet Red Priest visiting on Sunday March 13. It is the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to the Rolling Stones.  Red Priest is led by Piers Adams, the world’s greatest recorder player and is renowned for being highly imaginative and presenting memorable concerts.   St Mary’s Church, East Bergholt on Sunday 13 March at 4pm.

Tickets: £8 – £16 (01206 298426)

Colchester Choral Society

Requiems, or Masses for the Dead, come in many shapes, sizes and styles including Fauré’s serene setting, Mozart’s most famous  emotional setting  but it is Verdi’s Requiem which is the ‘block buster’  choral masterpiece and is often labelled an opera in all but name.  One of the most memorable, powerful parts of the work is ‘Dies Irae’ (Day of Wrath) and has been used of late to dramatic effect in TV and films.

On Saturday 12 March the Colchester Choral Society, under its conductor Ian Ray, will perform this remarkable work with soloists Sarah Fox, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, Daniel Joy and Simon Wallfisch accompanied by an enlarged Colchester Sinfonia.  The society has raised a substantial amount of money in special donations to help fund the cost of the large orchestra required for this performance on at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

Tickets: £12 – £15 from Manns Music, Colchester or

A Celebration of Women Composers

In contrast with the Verdi’s Requiem,  Julia Usher and Jenni Pinnock will feature in a concert celebrating women composers, also including pieces by Judith Weir, Charlotte Bray, Cheryl Frances Hoad, Anna Boyd, Amy Beach, Clara Schumann and others. Soprano Corrina Dolso will be performing along with her new Equinox Voices pop-up choir, joined by Guest Soprano Naomi Scott de Moncloa and pianist Thérèse Miller, at Castle Methodist Church, Maidenburgh Street, Colchester CO1 1TT. The concert runs from 3-4pm.

Tickets (£5 or free for students) will be available on the door, or can be reserved by e-mailing

Choral Society Concerts

Here are just two of the many choral society concerts taking place on 19 March.  Following its exciting and sell-out concert of two Rachamaninov Piano Concertos, St Botolph’s Music continues its fiftieth year celebration with a performance of Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation. Tickets £12 on the door.Saturday 19 March, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.  Tiptree Choral Society presents its concert including John Rutter’s Requiem and a selection of Easter . St Luke’s Church, Tiptre.

Tickets £10 (01206 734625)

Bach’s St John Passion

The annual liturgical performance of Bach’s St John Passion in Maldon takes place on Good Friday 25 March at 7.30pm with a homily by the Bishop of Chelmsford. The Choir of St Mary’s Church and the Pegasus Baroque Orchestra with John Grave as the Evangelist and Gabriel Finn as Christus takes place at St Mary’s Church, Hythe Quay, Maldon.

Free entry with a retiring collection

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 


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Liz Leatherdale


Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for February

Our Classical Music columnist Liz Leatherdale, founder and owner of Colchester Classics, brings you her pick of February’s Classical Music events in, and around, Colchester.


Rachmaninov Piano Concertos

This month St Botolph’s Music Society begins its 50th anniversary anniversary celebrations in a Gala Concert with two international pianists Noriko Ogawa and Philip Smith performing two Rachmaninov Piano Concertos. The society was founded by Colin Nicholson, former Head of Music at Colchester Royal Grammar School, who continues to be active within the society and at the church.

Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, often described as the greatest ever written, will be performed this month by international pianist Noriko Ogawa accompanied by the St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra. This music is virtuosic and lyrical for both soloist and orchestra.  The main theme from the sublime second movement has been used elsewhere including the modern ballad ‘All by Myself’.

Philip Smith will be the soloist in Rachmaninov’s most technically challenging third Piano Concerto. This work is  often over-shadowed by No.2 but  received greater recognition when featured in the film, Shine.  The Oscar-winning success of the film ensured a new audience  became aware of this Romantic work. The movie told the true story of the Australian concert pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and abandoned his career for many years.   Saturday 6 February 2016 at 7.30pm, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

Tickets: £15 (01206 823662)


Colchester Bach Choir and Orchestra

The same venue will also host the 24th annual concert performed by the Colchester Bach Choir and Orchestra in aid of the Mayor of Colchester’s Charities. Over the years these concerts have raised many thousands of pounds for good causes. As well as Bach’s Magnificat, the concert includes Vivaldi’s most famous choral work, his Gloria in D.  This popular piece is characteristic of Vivaldi’s style with distinctive rhythms, joyful choral writing and bright orchestral accompaniment. Saturday 20 February 2016 at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12 (01206 282206)


Teddy Bears Musical Picnic

This year Colchester Arts Centre hosts the annual Teddy Bears Musical Picnic concert with the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra  offering children with teddies a chance to try conducting the orchestra and to play percussion instruments and sing!  The orchestra will perform a variety of suitable orchestral music including arrangements of the concert’s namesake “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” and the popular poem “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” set to music. Sunday 7 February 2016 at 2.30pm, Colchester Arts Centre. See for further details.

Tickets from £3 


The Kingfisher Ensemble returns to Colchester on Sunday 7 February performing Dvorak Sonatina in G and his Piano Quintet No.2 in A and Schumann  Piano Trio No.1 in D minor. This concert is in the Lion Walk Church in Colchester and start at 2.45pm. Admission is by programme at the door.

£12 for adults; £10 for concessions (senior citizens); and £2 for those in full-time education. You may also reserve tickets for collection just before the concert by contacting .


Puffin Ensemble

Later in the month the Puffin Ensemble performs  a programme including Haydn’s Symphony No.83, Mozart’s popular Sinfonia Concertante and Schubert’s Symphony No.5 in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Tickets available on the door or call 01206 271128. Adults £14 – Concessions £11 – Full-time education £3


If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video:

Liz Leatherdale







Liz Leatherdale

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for the Remainder of January

Our classical music columnist Liz Leatherdale, founder and owner of Colchester Classics, brings you her second lot of picks of January’s classical music events in and around Colchester


The Magic of the Musical

The WEA (Workers’ Educational Association), founded over one hundred years ago, provides education for adults on many topics including Music. Professor Bill Tamblyn is the tutor for “On the Shoulders of Giants”: composers who influenced music history with their large-scale symphonies, such as Havergal Brian, Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams. WEA West Bergholt Branch from January 12 (01206 240512).

Chris Green is the tutor for “The Magic of the Musical”, looking into music theatre from Greek antiquity to current hit musicals: their musical, social and economic place.

This 10-week course is presented by the WEA Colchester Branch from January 14 (01206 502698)


On the Bright Side

Saturday 9 January – Chris Green conducts the Trianon Choir and Symphony Orchestra in a concert entitled On the Bright Side with toe-tapping music from Gilbert & Sullivan, Eric Idle, Eric Coates, Rodgers & Hammerstein and John Williams. Some choir and orchestra members will be busking outside the concert venue from 6.40pm in aid of charity. This concert starts at 7.30pm and is in the Ipswich Corn Exchange, IP1 1DH.

Tickets: from £9.50 (01394 283170)



The Kingfisher Ensemble performs its first concert for 2016 in Lion Walk Church, Colchester at 2.45pm. Founder and leader Beth Spendlove will be joined by Greg Eaton, Wendy Poulston, Susie Davis & Chris Slatter performing Puccini’s  Crisantemi in C#minor, Beethoven’s  String Quartet in Bb No.6 op.18 No.6 and Schubert’s  String Quintet in C op.Posth with two ’cellos


Essex Chamber Orchestra

Many musicians based in Colchester and the surrounding area perform with the Essex Chamber Orchestra. This orchestra comes together three times a year for intensive weekend rehearsals followed by a series of concerts.  Its first intensive weekend course for 2016, culminating in a concert on Sunday 10 January 2016 at 7pm. This concert includes popular music including Waldteufel’s Skater’s Waltz, Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube and Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite. Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre, 7 High Street, Ingatestone


Ian Ray and Geoff Harniess

Following last Tuesday’s lunchtiEssex Chamber Orchestrame concert in Colchester’s iconic Moot Hall, this Wednesday Ian Ray will be accompanying trumpeter Geoff Harniess in their debut lunchtime recital at the Cramphorn Studio in Chelmsford. January 13 at 1pm (01245 606505).

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video:


Liz Leatherdale





Liz Leatherdale