Remembering the Prague 1996 Tour

5th August, 2022

Following on from the hugely successful, ground breaking tour to St. Petersburg in the Easter of 1994, Founder Music Director Andrew Constantine then planned an even more ambitious 12 day tour travelling by coach to eastern Europe, based in Prague, during August 1996.

Five concerts took place, two in Prague and others in Karlovy Vary, Marianski Lazne and in the famous Palace at Kromeriz. The Symphony Orchestra performed repertoire including the Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade together the Bruch Violin Concerto No.1, with leader Adam Summerhayes as soloist. The Orchestra rehearsed in the Prague Opera House and the extended nature of the tour meant that the players were able to also take in sight seeing in Prague and explore the various other concert locales.

Not being content with just a purely Orchestral tour, Andrew then planned for the Orchestra to be joined for the final few days by the Bardi Symphony Chorus to perform Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony. This was for Karlovy Vary, Kromeriz and then for the final concert on Tuesday 13th August in the Rudolfinum concert hall in Prague, the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. This high-profile civic concert also included the Brahms Double Concerto performed by the stunning Czech duo of violinist Jan Talich and cellist Jiri Bárta.

A much remembered party then took place straight afterwards for all concerned with everyone departing for Leicester on the four coaches in the early hours. One of the orchestra coaches then broke down at the Czech/German border, but that is another story…

Watch highlights from the tour

Top row: CD artwork from Beethoven Symphony No.9 concert recording at The Rudolfinum, with concert poster, right.
Bottom row: Prague scenes – Countryside Park, Mechanical Clock and The Rudolfinum.

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Highlights from the 2021-22 Season

29th July 2022

As we build up to the 2022/23 season launch, we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable highlights from the past year. Below are a number of performances from the 2021/22 season…

Bach (orch. Elgar) – Fantasia and Fugue in C minor – 10th October 2021

After more than 18 months away from the concert stage, the Bardi made a triumphant return to De Montfort Hall in October 2021 and a truly memorable performance of Elgar’s rarely heard, exciting orchestration of Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue opened the season in style.

Dukas – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – 20th March 2022

The Bardi Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of 2022 came with a number of Covid-related difficulties, none more so than Mihkel Kerem superbly standing in as leader on 24 hour’s notice. But the concert also helped to raise over £1,000 for the DEC’s Ukraine Appeal thanks to the generosity of our audience. The concert included this performance of Dukas’ riotous The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Elgar – Serenade for Strings in E minor – 15th May 2022

The Orchestra’s season finale at De Montfort Hall was an all-Elgar affair featuring the famous Cello Concerto, but it the concert opened with his Serenade for Strings allowing the Bardi string section the opportunity to showcase their beautiful sound.

“An orchestra that compares with the best in the capital, on our doorstep in Leicester”

2022-23 Concert Season

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Bardi Young Musician a sparkling conclusion to the 2021-22 season

21st June 2022

A fitting climax to Bardi’s 2021-22 was provided on Sunday at the Bardi Young Musician 2022 Concert.

We heard a stunning performance of Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 by 2022 Bardi Young Musician 18 year-old Francesca Penny who has played the horn since she was eight. The concert, originally planned for January,  is the first BYM concert since 2020 and was postponed from January this year for covid reasons. Fran’s assured and polished performance was greeted with enthusiastic applause from audience and Orchestra members alike when she collected her special trophy and prize at the end.

The concert began with spirited performances of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture and Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances by the Orchestra under conductor Paul Hilliam, and was completed in the second half with an exciting reading of Beethoven’s less often aired Fourth Symphony. 

Plans are already in hand to find Bardi Young Musician 2023 and applications are open now, all the necessary information can be found below.

Applications for the 2023 competition are now open


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Bardi Wind a triumph at De Montfort Hall

13th June 2022

For the second time in just over a week the Bardi Wind assembled to provide an exciting concert in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee in this, the Wind Orchestra’s 30th year!

Following their appearance at Hinckley’s Hollycroft Park, where an audience of thousands celebrated the Platinum Jubilee in the sunshine with picnics, they appeared this time on the concert platform at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall giving their annual charity concert in association with the Oadby & Wigston Lions Club on Sunday 12 June.

A large contingent of civic dignitaries attended in support of this year’s nominated charity, Your Local Air Ambulance. The specially devised programme celebrated the Platinum Jubilee with 70 years of popular music associated with Her Majesty the Queen. It was presented by popular local compere Martin Ballard. Jenny Saunders and David Morris provided vocal items and the programme ended with a rousing ‘Last Night of the Proms’ finale which left the audience shouting for encores.

Photos: Neville Chadwick Photography


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Bardi Wind celebrate the Jubilee in style at Hollycroft Park

5th June 2022

The Bardi Wind Orchestra got the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee celebrations off to a fine start in Hinckley at the beginning of the long Bank Holiday weekend. 

After a highly successful appearance at the town’s Hollycroft Park last summer, the BWO were invited to return for this special concert. Joined by popular vocal soloists Jenny Saunders and David Morris, and conducted by BWO’s conductor David Calow, the Orchestra held the attention of the picnicking audience until late in the evening. The weather was very kind and players eyes widened as more and more audience poured into the park before the concert – last year’s audience was large but this year exceeded all expectations. Those who could get a spot in front of the Orchestra happily sat under the trees at the side (where the view was limited) with their picnics and sang along anyway! As this was a free event it was not possible to get an accurate count of the audience, but it was thought to be several thousand (possibly ten thousand) and certainly the BWO’s biggest audience ever!

If you missed the concert, don’t worry the Orchestra will be doing it all over again at De Montfort Hall in Leicester on Sunday 12 June at 3pm. 


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