Thursday 23 May 2024

Happy 60th birthday: the Salomon Orchestra celebrates with Martyn Brabbins, Michal Oren, Mussorgsky and Elgar

The Salomon Orchestra in rehearsal at Henry Wood Hall
The Salomon Orchestra in rehearsal at Henry Wood Hall

When the Salomon Orchestra celebrated its 40th birthday in 2003 it assembled the huge orchestra needed for Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony, directed by founding conductor Nicholas Braithwaite, filling St John's Smith Square with so many orchestral musicians that you felt there was hardly room for the audience. The results, needless to say, were glorious. Now the orchestra is 60 and will be celebrating.

On Saturday 1 June 2024, Martyn Brabbins and Michal Oren will be conducting the orchestra in a celebratory 60th birthday concert at St John's Smith Square. Michal Oren conducts Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and then Martyn Brabbins conducts Elgar's Symphony No. 1. And the evening will begin with the world premiere of Martyn Brabbins' A Birthday Greeting, composed specially for the orchestra's birthday.

Conceived by Nicholas Braithwaite and a group of his contemporaries in Vienna in 1963, the Salomon Orchestra is one of London's oldest non-professional symphony orchestras and is widely described as one of its finest.

Martyn Brabbins is the orchestra's president and he has a long association with the orchestra including, notably, a series of 'marathon' concerts where they performed all the symphonic works of a particular composer in a single day. 

The orchestra first worked with Michal Oren when she was on Martyn Brabbins' conducting course at the Royal College of Music, and she is currently studying there for her Master of Performance in conducting. In 2020, she won the first prize in the conducting competition of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and, in September 2023, won first prize in the 4th International Academy and Competition of Orchestra Conducting in Estoril, Portugal.

Full details of the concert from the orchestra's website.

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