Many know that I have played the violin since I was seven years old. Playing the violin is such a basic part of me that I rarely mention it. But for over twenty years, I have been a member of the first violin section of the Kensington Philharmonic, one of London’s best amateur orchestras — if we do say so ourselves.
We perform three times a year on Sunday evenings at Chelsea Town Hall, Kings Road, London. It’s a beautiful old place with good acoustics, marble chandeliers and interesting, though slightly kitschy, wall murals. 0411_chelsea_main_hall_0002We’ve been holding our concerts there for decades. But our next concert will be something special. On Sunday evening, June 28th, we will be performing our 50th Anniversary Concert. The KPO will be 50 years old, and I think that, especially for an amateur, volunteer-led organisation, that is something very special. The programme will include the very first piece ever performed by the KPO, Beethoven’s ‘Egmont’ Overture. A few of our alumni will be  joining us for that. Then, we will play Beethoven’s famous Piano Concerto No. 5 with soloist, Thomas Harris.
We, of course, always have an interval where we serve drinks and chat with our audiences. If anything, these have become a bit too social, and we often find ourselves having to impose some sort of interval discipline by striking a gong owned by one of our members. Given the celebratory nature of this concert, I can assume interval discipline will again be a bit of a problem. But persevere we must, because the evening ends with one of my favourite symphonies, Shostakovich’s 5th.  Our Conductor and Music Director, Mark Fitz-Gerald is a well-respected Shostakovich specialist, and I can tell you now that this will be one hell of a performance of one hell of a piece.
So if you’re in the neighbourhood, come see us. It’s going to be quite a special night. Tickets are £12, available on the door or online, and the baton goes down at 7.30.
To further tempt you, here’s a performance of the overture to get you in the mood. This one is played by the Berlin Philharmonic (another pretty good band) led by Leonard Bernstein.
<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>