EXCITING times are ahead for Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra – and they start this weekend.
The orchestra’s new season gets under way tomorrow at Huddersfield Town Hall. And the concert marks the debuts of both the orchestra’s new conductor and its new leader, plus a programme of music which features a world-class soloist.
The Philharmonic says it is confident conductor Benjamin Ellin and leader Peter Simons will form the springboard for further successes for the orchestra.
Born in Bolton, Benjamin studied at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, where he graduated in 2002 after studying composition with John Woolrich.
He now combines careers as a conductor and composer and is passionate about working with music and musicians from other cultures. Most recently, he collaborated with Syrian musician Louai Alhenawi.
In addition to his work with Slaithwaite Philharmonic, Benjamin is currently artistic director and principal conductor of Every Music For EveryBody, music director of the Seychelles International Festival of Music and director of music at the Pembroke Academy of Music, London. He has worked with many major orchestras and recorded his own compositions.
Benjamin is making a reputation for his fresh and undaunted approach to the more standard greats.
The orchestra also welcomes Peter Simons, who currently works for Kirklees Music School as a string and vocal teacher and is musical director for Unity Voices in Marsden. Peter started playing his violin when he was just four in his home town of Grimsby.
He studied classical and baroque violin under Malcom Layfield at the University of Huddersfield, where he also developed his passion for orchestral conducting.
This led him to completing his masters in 2004 in orchestral conducting. During his time at the university, he conducted several ensembles including the University Staff Choir, St Paul’s Singers, Huddersfield Chamber Ensemble, Queensgate Strings and the University Symphony Orchestra, as well as playing and leading in several university ensembles.
Peter has also played with several local orchestras including Slaithwaite Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Square Chapel, York Philharmonic Orchestra and Leeds Baroque Orchestra.
To start off this new era, the Philharmonic has engaged Alexander Baillie, internationally recognised as one of the finest cellists of his generation, to take centre stage at the heart of tomorrow’s programme to play the much loved Elgar cello concerto.
Alexander began playing the cello at the comparatively late age of 12 having been directly inspired by the late Jacqueline du Pré. He went on to study at London’s Royal College of Music and with André Navarra in Vienna.
The concert, which starts at 6.30pm, features a specially commissioned work, Slaithwate Chaconne, by Owen Bourne.
Children and students who go with an adult get in free. Tickets, at £9.50 to £14.40 (concession £7) are available from the Albion Street Information Centre.