The Bardi prepare to welcome star pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason to perform with the Orchestra

13th May 2024

At 22, Jeneba Kanneh-Mason has already achieved so much, performing with top orchestras across the world, including at the BBC Proms, captivating audiences with her “musical insight, technical acuity and engaging performing persona”. The Bardi are delighted to be able to welcome such a high-profile soloist to perform with the orchestra.

The third youngest sibling, of seven, in the world-famous family, Jeneba was a Keyboard Category Finalist in BBC Young Musician 2018, winner of the Murs du Son Prize at the Lagny-Sur-Marne International Piano Competition in France in 2014, and The Nottingham Young Musician 2013 here in the East Midlands. She was also winner of the Iris Dyer Piano Prize at The Royal Academy of Music, Junior Academy.

Her recent and forthcoming highlights include an extensive UK tour with the Hungarian Radio Symphony and Riccardo Frizza, a European tour with Chineke!, debuts with the Detroit Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, and the Sinfonia Viva for the New Year Gala. She also recorded Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 6 with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and Howard Griffiths, which was released on Alpha.

Jeneba was named one of Classic FM’s ‘Rising Stars’ and appeared on Julian Lloyd Webber’s radio series in 2021. She has also been featured on several television and radio programmes, including Radio 3, In Tune, The BAFTAs, The Royal Variety Performance, the documentary for BBC4, Young, Gifted and Classical, and the Imagine documentary for BBC1, This House is Full of Music. She has recorded for the album, Carnival, with Decca Classics.

You can see Jeneba Kanneh-Mason perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with the Bardi Symphony Orchestra on Sunday 19th May at De Montfort Hall. Book your tickets here today.

Jeneba Kanneh-Mason © Berghorn / Sony Classical

The Bardi say goodbye to Music Director Claus Efland after 16 years as Maestro

18th April 2024

The Bardi’s concert on 19th May will be Claus Efland’s last appearance with the Orchestra as Music Director. 

Since his appointment to the post in 2008 his inspirational leadership has taken the Orchestra to what one reviewer described as ‘levels of performance rare in an orchestra of this kind’. There have been many notable performances over the years and soloists of the highest calibre have performed with the Orchestra – including Jeneba Kanneh-Mason performing with the Orchestra in Claus’ final concert next month. In addition there have been performances with a range of choruses over the years including the Leicestershire Chorale, Leicester Bach Choir, Leicester Philharmonic Choir, London Philharmonic Choir and the Choristers of Leicester Cathedral. 

There have been many memorable orchestral concerts over the period in De Montfort Hall, with others including one to a capacity audience in the open air at De Montfort Hall, and collaborations with the young dancers of Dance Activate in ballet programmes. Innovative orchestral programmes have played to Claus’ strength in Scandinavian music with a memorable series of Nielsen symphonies rarely heard in Leicester, as well as a fresh approach to favourite classics. The Orchestra would like to thank Claus for everything he has done for the orchestra over the years he has been with us, and we wish him very well for the future.

Going forward the Orchestra intend to pursue a different style of programming with four concerts next season at De Montfort Hall each conducted by high calibre conductors with international reputations. Programmes are planned to both entertain with well-loved favourites and be challenging with one or two perhaps less familiar works. Equally high-profile soloists will join the Orchestra on the stage. Full details of the 2024-25 season will be published in May.

You can book tickets for Claus’ final concert here. Featuring Mahler’s First Symphony and star soloist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason performing Mozart Piano Concerto No.23, it is going to be a memorable concert for Leicester audiences.

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Claus conducting film music at open air DMH concert; conducting Britten’s War Requiem in 2018; Claus rehearsing with the orchestra.

A Scandinavian Triumph at De Montfort Hall

26th March 2024

The music of Finland, Norway and Denmark added to the enjoyment of a sunny early Spring afternoon when the Bardi played a programme of Sibelius, Grieg and Nielsen at De Montfort Hall on Sunday.

The programme opened with a performance of Grieg’s Peer Gynt suites Nos 1 and 2 which was followed by a rare performance Nielsen’s Flute concerto by flautist Anna Wolstenholme, an internationally known player based in Norway. The piece demands a virtuoso player and Wolstenholme was certainly the right choice for the piece.

The second half of the concert was occupied by a performance of Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in D major.  Probably the most well-known of Sibelius’s Symphonies and certainly the most frequently performed, the piece runs through a wild gamut of feelings from a depiction of pastoral peace and quiet, through patriotism, the depiction of a national uprising and a positive finale portraying hope and victory over oppression.  The Bardi did justice to all of this in good measure and the overall mood of the departing audience was certainly life affirming and happy.

Well done BYM24 Ewan Metcalfe on an excellent concerto performance.

29th January 2024

The Bardi Young Musician concerts go from strength to strength!

Last Saturday’s concert saw 2024 winner Ewan Metcalfe give a breathtaking performance of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 to a large audience in what has become the Bardi Young Musician concert’s annual home – Holy Trinity Church in Regent Road, Leicester. 

The Orchestra revelled in the excellent acoustic of the venue with some well-chosen pieces from the classical repertoire, beginning with the overture to Mozart’s opera Cosi fan Tutte and the second half was taken with a comparatively rare opportunity in recent times to hear Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in the concert hall. 

In a speech at the end of the first half Vice Chair Mary Moore said she was heartened, with all the gloomy news in the media about music education in schools, that Bardi have been able run the competition since 2012 with a consistently high standard of winners. 

In a surprise move she invited Joseph Geary, last years’ BYM winner who was in the audience for the concert, to present the trophy to Ewan neatly rounding off the competition.

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Bardi Young Musician 2024 – Ewan Metcalfe performs Weber Clarinet Concerto No.1 on 27th January.

17th January 2024

On Saturday 27th January at Holy Trinity Church, Leicester, Bardi Young Musician 2024 Ewan Metcalfe performs his competition-winning concerto, Weber’s First Clarinet Concert in F minor.

17 year old Ewan Metcalfe is Leicester born and bred and is currently Head Boy at Ratcliffe College. Both of his parents have a scientific background but several members of his extended family are instrumentalists. He began playing the clarinet at the age of seven and has since studied piano and saxophone. He started orchestral playing in the Soar Valley Youth Orchestra and then began playing, composing and arranging for a variety of ensembles at school. Further orchestral experience was gained in the Leicestershire Schools Orchestra and he was delighted to play as a guest with the Bardi Symphony Orchestra in October 2022. He currently studies with Christine Taylor.

Ewan is currently studying for A levels in biology, chemistry and music and hopes to go on to study biochemistry at University. He is planning to make a career in that field but music is very important in his choice of university so a good music department is top of his list.

In between his academic studies, musical activities and responsibilities as a school prefect at Ratcliffe College he doesn’t have much time left in the week but enjoys spending time with friends before they all go their separate ways to university.  

To see Ewan’s concerto performance, as well as other classical favourites from Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart, click here to book your tickets today.

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Bardi Wind Christmas Festival the perfect festive treat!

18th December 2023

Bardi Wind Orchestra’s annual Christmas Festival was a big success at the weekend!

Holy Trinity Leicester, was beautifully dressed in a great array of Christmas Trees and lights, and made a wonderful setting for the concert. Once Conductor David Calow’s baton was raised for the title piece, Leroy Anderson’s evergreen ‘A Christmas Festival’, and the BWO sounded the first chords, the audience (many of who have been coming since the series started over 20 years ago) knew that Christmas 2023 was underway.  

A programme of seasonal favourites, serious and more light-hearted, followed. These were interspersed with readings by Leicester’s own John Florance. Amongst other items, John read the perennial favourite ‘Christmas at Lewis’s’ and John Betjeman’s 1954 poem ‘Christmas’. He confessed to the audience that he once left the poem out of a BWO Christmas programme and was told in no uncertain terms by audience members afterwards that he should not do that again.  

In a colourful array of Christmas outfits for the second half the BWO players ended by commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1973 Slade Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ which had the audience singing lustily with some enthusiastically waving arms in the air.

Merry Christmas all from the Bardi!

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Ewan Metcalfe – Bardi Young Musician 2024

6th November 2023

The Bardi are delighted to announce that the winner of Bardi Young Musician 2024 is 17 year old clarinettist, Ewan Metcalfe.

An audition panel consisting of Robert Calow, Bardi Orchestra Manager, Lois Clark Principal Second Violin and Paul Hilliam, Guest Conductor, met at the end of October to hear four selected candidates to decide who would become Bardi Young Musician 2024. The standard was once again very high with a range of orchestral instruments and the panel had some lengthy deliberations to make before deciding on the winner. 

In the event they made a unanimous choice, the clear winner was clarinetist Ewan Metcalfe from Rearsby who is in the Sixth Form at Ratcliffe College. Ewan has been playing the clarinet for ten years and he currently studies with Christine Taylor. He is the third clarinetist to have won the Young Musician accolade since the competition was first held in 2012. 

The audition panel always give feedback to all the competing candidates and Ewan was told ‘The technical demands [of his chosen audition piece] are considerable and you have obviously worked hard to get on top of that. You also have a really nice tone and a good range of dynamics. Best of all, you invested lots of personality in your performance

Concert goers are in for a real treat when Ewan performs with the Orchestra on Saturday 27th January, at Holy Trinity Church, Leicester.  He will be playing Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in a programme which also includes a performance of Beethoven Symphony No 2. You can book tickets for the concert here.

Ewan Metcalfe, clarinet; the audition panel

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John Williams a hit at De Montfort Hall

10th October 2023

The Force really was with the Bardi Symphony Orchestra on Sunday afternoon when they played to the largest Bardi concert audience seen for ten years.

The Bardi’s Celebration of John Williams ‘a film music extravaganza’ attracted an enthusiastic audience aged 5 to 90! Listeners were treated to the full range of Williams’ critically acclaimed film music from well-known favourites such as Jaws and E.T. to more reflective pieces such as Dartmoor 1912 from War Horse, Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan and the haunting main theme from Schindler’s List which featured the exquisite solo violin playing of the Orchestra’s leader Adam Summerhayes.  

All the sections of the Orchestra had an opportunity to shine at one point or another and the whole concert experience was enhanced by subtle lighting from the De Montfort Hall’s newly improved lighting system.  A selection of music from the Star Wars films which ended the concert had conductor Claus Efland directing the orchestra with a splendid red Lightsaber (narrowly avoiding poking out the eyes of the cellists) and enthusiastic applause at the end of the concert was rewarded by the encore which everyone had been waiting for – Indiana Jones – in which Maestro Efland was transformed into Harrison Ford with the addition of the trademark battered leather jacket and Fedora hat. 

A happy audience went off into the late afternoon eagerly asking the front of house team ‘when will the next one be?’

You can find out about the orchestra’s upcoming concerts here.

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