A Short Concert from the Bardi

30th July 2021

We’re pleased to bring you two performances from the Bardi’s recent play day on July 10th at Holy Trinity Church, Leicester. Bardi Wind Orchestra conductor David Calow opens with Mendelssohn’s rarely heard Overture in C major for Winds and Orchestra Leader Adam Summerhayes follows with Elgar’s sumptuous Serenade for Strings. Concert recording courtesy of the wonderful team at Holy Trinity Church. 

The Bardi’s 2021-22 season officially launches on 13th August – just two weeks to go! We can’t wait to bring back more live music to Leicester very soon!

Concert introduced by Orchestra Manager, Robert Calow.

Bardi Wind and Brass
Felix Mendelssohn – Overture in C Major for Winds Op.24
Conductor, David Calow.

Bardi Strings
Edward Elgar – Serenade for Strings in E Minor Op.20
Conductor, Adam Summerhayes
I. Allegro piacevole
II. Larghetto
III. Allegretto – Come prima


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The Bardi are back playing, again!

16th July 2021

Collectively, the instruments of the Bardi Symphony Orchestra fell silent after a wonderful workshop day last October.  Attempts were made to hold further workshops in February and March but these were thwarted by lockdown restrictions so it was with great excitement (and not a little trepidation!) that players got together again just nine months to the week later in July and in the covid-secure surroundings of a very welcoming Holy Trinity Church, Leicester.

Well over 50 players, divided into two groups, wind and stings because of space constraints, got together to rehearse pieces specifically for those two groups: Mendelssohn’s Overture for Winds and Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. Sadly MD Claus Efland could not travel from Berlin because of quarantine restrictions but Orchestra Leader Adam Summerhayes (strings) and Bardi Wind Orchestra Conductor David Calow (wind) very capably put players through their paces (to the evident satisfaction of Claus who was watching via a special link from Berlin!). 

Feedback received by Orchestra Manager Robert Calow afterwards gave a big thumbs up to the Bardi board for all the organisation which went into arranging the day. All eyes are now on our first rehearsals for the 2021-22 season which begin in September with the new season to be announced very soon! 

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The Bardi Interviews: In Conversation with Jane Hanson

The Bardi Interviews continue as we meet the Orchestra’s Chair Jane Hanson. An enthusiastic member of the first violin section, Jane joined the orchestra on moving to Leicester in 2017 and became Chair of the Orchestra in December 2020. Like many of the Bardi’s players she trained as a professional musician but chose to pursue a career elsewhere. She started in accountancy but more recently has been a Chairman, Non-Executive Director and Audit and Risk Committee Chair in a number of businesses and has over 25 years experience working at Board level in FTSE 100, regulated, typically financial sector organisations. In addition, she is the Honorary Treasurer and a Trustee of the Disasters Emergency Committee, a global humanitarian charity and is also a magistrate. Jane’s playlist choices are wide-ranging and reflective of a lifelong passion for all kinds of music. 

To hear Jane’s selected pieces you can pause the video and listen to the music in the Spotify player below. Alternatively, click here to watch the video on YouTube where you can find links to all the pieces in the video description.

The conversation continues…

A flying visit from Founder Conductor, Andrew Constantine

18th June 2021

The Bardi Symphony Orchestra’s founder Dr Andrew Constantine moved to the USA in 2004 but was recently back in the UK to adjudicate at the prestigious Donatella Flick Conducting Competition (of which he was the first winner in 1991) in London. Andrew’s career in the USA began as Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and he is now Music Director of the both the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra and the Reading Symphony Orchestra.

Andrew and his wife Jane remember their time in Leicester with great fondness and were keen to catch up with old Bardi friends.  Orchestra Manager Robert Calow managed to organise an ad-hoc gathering and rounded up some of Bardi’s original members for a great afternoon of reminiscences in the garden of Zeph’s café in Oadby before Andrew and Jane jetted off back to the USA.   


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The Bardi Interviews: In Conversation with Robert Calow

For the third of our Bardi Interviews the spotlight is turned on our Orchestra Manager Robert Calow. Lynchpin of the orchestra’s activities, and well-known in Leicester and Leicestershire music circles, Robert received his early musical training on the Clarinet at the Leicestershire School of Music and then with the National Youth Wind Orchestra from 1978-84. He joined the Bardi Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and is also in great demand playing with several local orchestras including the Rutland Sinfonia, Knighton Chamber Orchestra and the wind ensemble Musicamici. In 1992 Robert, together with his brother David, founded the Bardi Wind Orchestra. He has held the post of Orchestra Manager of both ensembles for over 30 years. John Florance discussed his life, career and wide-ranging musical tastes from Wagner and Elgar to 1960’s TV themes and Rick Wakeman!

To hear Robert’s selected pieces you can pause the video and listen to the music in the Spotify player below. Alternatively, click here to watch the video on YouTube where you can find links to all the pieces in the video description.

You can view Robert’s final selection, the Elgar excerpt, by clicking here.

The conversation continues…

Preview of the Bardi’s 2021-22 concert season

5th June 2021

As a sneak peak at what is to come in the Bardi’s 35th concert season from October 2021, here is a snippet of the Bardi’s workshop on Elgar’s First Symphony back in February 2020, weeks before the world ground to a halt. The orchestra perform the finale to the symphony under the baton of Musical Director Claus Efland at Holy Trinity Church, Leicester.

The new 2021-22 season will be announced soon. Hopefully we can bring back the energy and excitement of live music to Leicester audiences in the autumn!


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Bardi Timps get a much-needed makeover

28th May 2021

Our Timpani are top of the range Premier Elite instruments, but they are twenty-five years old and have given sterling service over that time. One of the things that we, in common with many other orchestras, have been looking at over the lockdown months is the need for refurbishment; just as one’s GP sends out an invite for a health MOT, or the family car needs a service, so did our timps!

Through the good offices of our percussion team, a range of repairs and improvements have been carried out. After careful examination we were sent some very startling photos of the somewhat decrepit insides of the instruments and some very sensible suggestions for repair and upgrade. Maybe some little good has come out of the pandemic – we would have found it difficult to fit in a trip to the repairers for those timps if we had been undertaking our usual programme.

Thanks to the generosity of the T S Shipman Trust and some of our other supporters who contributed to the refurbishment of the timpani, they are now back and looking good for another 20 years. The repairer has done an outstanding job and our Orchestra Manager failed to recognise them when they were returned. To finish our percussion spruce-up we felt it necessary to purchase new covers for some of the other instruments and a new chair for our timpanist – the old one had a very high mileage and was in danger of becoming a health and safety hazard!

If you would like to support the orchestra to help with similar projects, please do get in touch and join the Bardi family.

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The Bardi Interviews: In Conversation with Adam Summerhayes

In the second of The Bardi Interviews, John Florance talks to orchestra Leader Adam Summerhayes. They discuss his career in music from his days playing with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, through the Guildhall School of Music and conducting his own chamber orchestra in London to his travels around the world with the acclaimed baroque instrumental group ‘Red Priest’ who are noted for their flamboyant theatrical and virtuosic style. In a wide ranging discussion we learn how Adam came to take up the violin at an early age being taught by his grandfather, that he is not a player to be pigeonholed into a specific style of music and that his real love is the violin itself. His affection for the Bardi Symphony Orchestra, which he has led for many years, comes through very clearly and his choices of music are, as might be expected, eclectic and fascinating.

To hear Adam’s selected pieces you can pause the video and listen to the music in the Spotify player below. Alternatively, click here to watch the video on YouTube where you can find links to all the pieces in the video description.

8. Adam’s eighth musical choice is available on YouTube here: To The Nightingale – Words of a Fiddler’s Daughter

The conversation continues…

A special thank you to former chairman Colin Blackler

30th April 2021

After 11 years as Chairman of the Bardi Symphony Orchestra, Colin Blackler stood down in November 2020. As a non-player, but with an extensive background in local musical theatre and performance, his contribution to the development of both the Bardi Symphony and the Bardi Wind Orchestras was immense and varied from compering the ever popular Bardi Wind Christmas concerts, to firing the cannon in performances of the 1812 Overture! At the same time his wisdom and professional knowledge was invaluable in guiding sound decision making within the Bardi committee.

Marking his retirement a very special gift was commissioned from professional artist and Bardi Wind Orchestra conductor David Calow. The cartoon portrait of Colin is full of reminders of his long association with Bardi. Pandemic lockdowns thwarted plans for a formal presentation at a gathering of the Orchestra so the artist was pleased to present the gift to a delighted Colin in his garden in the warm April sunshine. Thank you Colin, from the Bardi Symphony and Wind Orchestra!


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A tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh

17th April 2021

As the country mourns HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at his funeral today the Bardi also salutes with affection his immeasurable contribution to so many facets of British life and unfailing support of HM Queen Elizabeth II for over 70 years. As a tribute, here is a performance of Elgar’s Nimrod from the Enigma Variations performed back in May 2015 with musical director Claus Efland at De Montfort Hall, Leicester.


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