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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Are you ready for a film music extravaganza with the Bardi?

2nd October 2023

The power of The Force has certainly attracted a large audience to the Bardi’s Celebration of John Williams concert on Sunday afternoon with over 1,100 seats already sold.  

The concert will feature many of your favourite themes from Williams’ best-loved soundtracks including no fewer than 11 Oscar nominated scores: Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, E.T., Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I., The Patriot, War Horse, Saving Private Ryan and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Orchestra rehearsals have been in progress for over ten days with quiet smiles on the faces of players as their particular favourite comes in for attention. With 19 pieces on the programme the Orchestra Manager and the Librarian have had their hands full organising the music and players are always on their toes as the fast-moving programme proceeds. 

We are particularly looking forward to welcoming some new, younger members of the audience with some, we’ve heard, attending an orchestral concert for the first time ever. John Williams music now features on the GCSE music syllabus being followed by some schools, and students are keen for a rare opportunity to hear some of this music played live. Other members of the audience are keen to hear live performances of the music which they have hitherto heard only on the radio or heard in the cinema. But all are in for a treat with the recently refurbished lighting in De Montfort Hall adding to the spectacle.

Join the Bardi on Sunday 8th October at De Montfort Hall for A Celebration of John Williams. Tickets are selling fast so make sure to book yours here.

Orchestra in rehearsal; a selection of scores from the concert; John Williams conducting Saving Private Ryan in 1998 ©Alamy

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John Williams – one of the greatest film composers of all time

27th September 2023

On Sunday 8th October, the Bardi Symphony Orchestra kick off their new season at De Montfort Hall with a film music extravaganza celebrating the music of John Williams. We’ve taken a look at the composer’s life and how he has become one of the greatest film composers of all time.

For more than five decades, John Williams has been captivating audiences with his music, transporting cinema-goers to World War II, down into the murky waters of the ocean, into outer space and even to a galaxy far far away. With a staggering 53 nominations and five awards to his name, he is one of the most decorated people in Oscar history and one of the world’s most beloved composers. 

John Williams in 1996; conducting Saving Private Ryan in 1998 © Alamy

Following in his father’s musical footsteps, John began composition training at school, but his studies were interrupted in the early 1950s when he was drafted into the US Air Force, serving three years as a performer, conductor and arranger for the Air Force band. After this he began to work as a jazz pianist, and it was this experience that led him to compose his debut soundtrack, Daddy-O in 1958. Whilst the film itself was rather forgettable, Williams’ score was not, and after this first success his illustrious career began in earnest.

“Without John Williams, bikes don’t really fly, nor do brooms in Quidditch matches, nor do men in red capes. There is no Force, dinosaurs do not walk the Earth, we do not wonder, we do not weep, we do not believe.”

Steven Spielberg

Perhaps the most important milestone of John Williams’ career, and indeed film history, is the day he met Steven Spielberg. Their first collaboration was on The Sugarland Express (1974) and this was the beginning of arguably the greatest director/composer partnership of all time. Together the duo has produced over 20 films such as the blockbusters Jaws (1975), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Jurassic Park (1993). 

In 1977, director George Lucas needed a composer capable of taking on the epic task of scoring his space opera, Star Wars. Spielberg immediately recommended Williams for the job, who matched the stunning visual effects on screen by delivering an expansive score, reminiscent of the music of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Both the original film and its music were a huge hit winning Williams his third Oscar. In 2005 Star Wars was named by the American Film Institute as the greatest American film score of all time.

Williams has composed well over a hundred film scores, many of which have become instant classics, with some of the world’s most recognisable music. His ability to utilise grand, brassy ‘American’ colours and a romantic orchestral sound makes for a magical combination. He also makes regular use of ‘leitmotifs’: assigning a short theme to a certain character or idea, which is then expertly woven into the score to enhance the film’s narrative.
This is especially evident in franchises such as Star Wars, Superman (1978) and Harry Potter (2001), where these themes can be heard across several films.

Not just a film composer, John Williams is also a classical composer and distinguished conductor, directing many of the world’s best orchestras, most notably the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993. 

Join the Bardi on Sunday 8th October at De Montfort Hall to hear many of Williams’ best-loved scores at A Celebration of John Williams

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Bardi Chair, Jane Hanson receives CBE from HRH the Princess Royal

16th June 2023

Congratulations to Bardi Chair Jane Hanson who yesterday received her CBE  for services to Charity from the Princess Royal, on behalf of the King, at Windsor Castle. 

Jane was named in the Jubilee Honours list for the late Queen Elizabeth II last year. Aside from Chairing the Bardi Symphony Orchestra, Jane has worked tirelessly for high profile charities the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and the Reclaim Fund (RFL). On a perfect day for the occasion Jane said that she had a ‘great (longer than normal apparently) chat with the Princess Royal’ about the work of the DEC which brings together 15 leading aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently when large-scale disasters hit countries without the capacity to respond.

She was also asked about her work with the Reclaim Fund (RFL) an organisation which unlocks the potential of dormant assets (such as unclaimed bank accounts) whilst at the same time safeguarding the rights of dormant asset holders and optimising the financial benefits for good causes. Jane told us that she even had time for a few words about Bardi!

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Bardi Wind at DMH a great success for heroes of the RNLI

12th June 2023

The Bardi Wind Orchestra rounded off their 30th anniversary season with their annual charity gala concert at De Montfort Hall on Sunday, this year fundraising in aid of the RNLI.

Well known in recent times from the BBCs programme ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was the chosen charity for the Bardi Wind Orchestra’s annual charity gala in association with the Oadby and Wigston Lions Club. The charity receives no government funding but for almost 200 years has been saving lives from water in the most challenging conditions. Conductor David Calow chose a range of music appropriate to the invaluable work of the RNLI volunteers with the title ‘Heroes! Action and adventure from the Movies’. 

The BWO were joined by vocal soloists David Morris and Rebecca Temple who featured in each half and the programme was compered adeptly by  Colin Blackler with informative introductions to each piece (allowing the players to get their collective breath back). After the interval Colin had the opportunity to interview RNLI volunteers Brad and Alex who had travelled all the way from RNLI Skegness to be at the event. On stage, on probably the hottest afternoon of the summer so far, volunteer Alex wore his RNLI yellow crew equipment, of which the life jacket on it’s own weighed more than a heavy weekly shop. Launch authority Brad told us that he had come off a volunteer shift at 6am that morning! 

The programme for the concert included appropriate titles such as The Magnificent Seven, Band of Brothers, the Superman March and The Great Escape but perhaps the most appropriate piece had to be The Padstow Lifeboat, a march by English composer Malcolm Arnold complete with fog horn effects (thanks to a very good imitation by BWO lower brass).  Scene stealer for this number was David Calow who strode on to the stage and conducted in a fetching pair of borrowed bright yellow RNLI wellies!  The only thing missing was a lifeboat and even one of those (well, a model) was parked outside De Montfort Hall in the sunshine. Another great BWO concert to launch summer for the enthusiastic audience.

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Bardi Wind present Heroes!, in support of the RNLI

5th June 2023

The Bardi Wind Orchestra players are now once again rehearsing enthusiastically for their annual charity concert at De Montfort Hall which is being presented in association with the Oadby and Wigston Lions Club.  

The chosen charity for 2023 is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which may seem a little unusual for a city located 100 miles away from the sea, but we have all seen the bright orange and navy rescue boats when we’ve been on seaside holidays.  Those same boats often appear in TV news items and, who knows, any of us or our families and friends could have need of their help at some point. The RNLI is a charity and is independent of the government – less than 1% of their funding comes from government sources, their lifesaving service depends on the generosity of their supporters.  The interest created by the BBCs ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ programmes has done a great deal to promote the excellent work done by the RNLI – real unsung heroes.

The title of the Bardi Wind concert is, appropriately,  ‘Heroes’  with a programme of music taken from a range of superhero movies including  Superman, The Avengers, The Incredibles, Star Wars and more.  Conductor David Calow will be joined by guest singers David Morris and Rebecca Temple as well as regular compere Colin Blackler. A great afternoon of memorable music is guaranteed!

David Calow conducting the Bardi Wind Orchestra, David Morris, Rebecca Temple, Colin Blackler.



The Avengers, Superman, Star Wars, The Incredibles, The Great Escape, Thunderbirds and more

Sunday 11 June 3pm

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The Bardi say a fond farewell to Richard Kauffman as he retires from the Orchestra

18th May 2023

The final concert of the Bardi season last Sunday was also the occasion when the Orchestra had to say a reluctant farewell to one of our most enthusiastic and loyal members, trumpet player Richard Kauffman, who has retired and moved to Scotland.

Richard had a long and distinguished career playing at various times with most of the major London Orchestras. Moving in later years to a senior music teaching post in this area, he has played in both the Bardi Symphony Orchestra and the Bardi Wind Orchestra. His wealth of professional experience has provided invaluable advice and guidance to players and to the Orchestra’s board members alike. All of this was reflected in a speech by acting (for the day!) Orchestra Manager David Calow who presented him with a picture of a Spitfire, painted by brother Robert Calow in appreciation of Richard’s enthusiasm for military aviation.

We wish Richard and his wife Rita a long and happy retirement. 

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Richard Kauffman on the De Montfort Hall stage at Sunday’s pre-concert rehearsal; Robert Calow’s painting of a Spitfire for Richard

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