Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for September

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


Colne Valley Youth Orchestra

Launched in 1981, the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra provides young Essex musicians opportunities to perform in our region and also tour in Europe. On Sunday the orchestra will perform music by Brahms, Dvorak and Bizet. Special guest Will Quince MP will sing music from Les Miserables and also Nessun Dorma, the famous tenor aria from Puccini’s Turandot. Free admission with retiring collection. Sunday September 6, 3pm. Firstsite, Colchester.
Another performance at Colchester’s contemporary art gallery has been chosen by BBC Music Magazine as one of 20 unmissable events in September. The young and exciting Sacconi Quartet will give the world premiere of a string quartet by pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock within an exhibition of new canvasses by the Roman River Festival artist John Doubleday at Firstsite. Quartets by Nielsen and Sibelius complete the programme. Friday 25 September at 7.30pm Firstsite, Colchester.

Tickets from £12 (01206 729356)


Belmont Ensemble of London and the English Chamber Choir

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and other baroque favourites will be performed by the Belmont Ensemble of London and the English Chamber Choir in Chelmsford Cathedral. Saturday, September 5 at 7pm. Tickets are available for this charity concert for a suggested £20 donation to the Essex Clergy Charity.

Email for details


Another Breath of Fresh Air

‘Another Breath of Fresh Air’ is the title of a concert featuring music for wind and brass instruments composed by Peter Thorne, pianist, conductor and composer based in Frinton. Peter’s recent composition, Paean, was a runner-up in Pipeworks, Colchester’s Moot Hall Organ composition competition and the work was performed last month at a lunchtime concert during Organ Fest. Saturday’s concert includes Peter’s Showtime for Brass Quintet and Romances for flute and piano, and also unaccompanied recorder music by Van Eyck. Saturday September 5 at 4pm. Colchester Institute, Swinburne Hall, Colchester.

Tickets: £10 (01255 852502)


Roman River Festival

This month the Roman River Festival opens in an idyllic new venue in Mistley. Piano trios by Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Brahms plus Alissa Firsova’s Fantasy for Cello & Piano will be performed by Roman Simović and Tim Hugh (both London Symphony Orchestra Principals) with composer, pianist and conductor, Alissa Firsova. Thursday, September 17, 8pm. St Mary and St Michael’s Church, Mistley. Tickets: £18 (01206 241027). Alissa’s debut CD, Russian Emigres, is now available and was recently reviewed in the Colchester Gazette.

Freephone 0800 999 6994 for further details


University of Essex Choir

Open rehearsals offer potential new members the chance to sing with a choir, see how it works and meet current members. Next month the University of Essex Choir has an open rehearsal on Thursday 8 October at 7pm at the University. (Email This month Witham Choral Society will be rehearsing Handel’s Messiah on Tuesdays starting 8 September at the United Reformed Church, Newland Street, Witham at 7.45pm and all singers are very welcome

(01621 854621)


Come and Sing

The first Come and Sing event in September is Faure’s Requiem hosted by the Halstead & District Choral Society. It is one of the composer’s best known works and includes the popular soprano aria Pie Jesu. Come and Sing events often offer the opportunity to rehearse a large-scale choral work in the afternoon and present a concert in the evening. Admission for singers for this event is £8 and £5 for the audience. If you would like to join the choir for both the afternoon rehearsal (from 3pm) and the choral concert (at 7.30pm), please register asap.

Further details by ‘phone (01787 473002) or visit . Saturday, September 26 at St Andrew’s Church, Halstead


The Glories of the Moot Hall Organ

The Glories of the Moot Hall organ is the title of the Roman River Festival’s first ever organ recital. Young organist Tom Bell presents a varied programme including music by Bliss, Bridge, Duruflé and the winners from the Pipeworks competition (John Furse’s Moot Points and Mark Bellis’ Graduation Toccata). During the concert Tom will accompany the Colchester Chamber Choir in some popular music including Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine. Sunday 27 September, 5pm, Colchester Town Hall. Tickets: £12 (01206 729356). The Roman River Festival (17 September – 4 October) covers a wide range of music and actively encourages anyone under the age of 30 to enjoy concerts.

Tickets priced from £3


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

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Liz Leatherdale




Liz Leatherdale