In this, the first part of our 50th London season, the main emphases are on the piano and youth. At our first Cadogan Hall concert on October 21 we are very pleased to present the professional London debut of Lara Melda (formerly Ömeroglu), the outstanding winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2010. At the Wigmore Hall on November 24 our own ECO Ensemble directed by Stephanie Gonley is joined by the brilliant young Benjamin Grosvenor, who is already making a major impact as a concert pianist in the UK, Europe and the Far East.
Back in Cadogan Hall on November 26 we welcome the return of an old friend, the celebrated pianist and conductor Howard Shelley, in a concert marking his 60th birthday. On December 2 we have the London debut of the distinguished Belgian pianist Olivier Roberti, as well as that of the young Australian flautist Ana de la Vega who introduces to London audiences a beautiful concerto by Josef Mysliveček, a Czech contemporary of Mozart, who some (far more learned than I) say wrote the five Mozart violin concertos!
Our Principal Conductor Paul Watkins joins us on November 4 to welcome soloist Claire Jones, the official Harpist to our Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. Claire plays two exquisite pieces which she has already recorded with us: Glière’s Harp Concerto and (joined by our own William Bennett) Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto (I am quite sure that Mozart did write this one!). Finally, for our Christmas concert on December 15 we have a very old and dear friend, the eminent conductor and baroque specialist Raymond Leppard, who will conduct his new edition of Handel’s Messiah.
Severe cuts in government subsidies to music are inevitable and the chamber orchestras in London and the South, being almost all unsubsidised, are the most vulnerable. If you value their work and the music they play, your support is paramount.
We in the ECO have a supporters group, the ECO Circle, (details on the website); and if you happen to be acquainted with a Russian oligarch or an altruistic hedge fund manager (yes, there are some!) the ECO Charitable Trust (registered charity no.10171240) is at present supporting our youth outreach programme working in London and Southern England to encourage future generations of music lovers.
Quintin Ballardie, OBE FRAM