London Branch




Branch Contact

Ruth Hellen,
30 King James Avenue,

Tel: 01707 876079

The London Branch of The Elgar Society has over 300 members spread around the UK and abroad, with some living as far afield as Australia. Visitors and prospective new members are very welcome to attend meetings; there is no charge for admission and refreshments are available during intervals. The programme of regular illustrated talks is supplemented by occasional concerts and visits.

Unless otherwise indicated, London Branch meetings are held at Queen’s College,  

43-49 Harley Street, London W1G 8BT.        

The nearest Underground station is Oxford Circus. There is a public car park nearby and street parking is possible after 6.30 p.m. Please remember that the area is within the congestion charge zone.

Programme for 2017 – 2018

Monday 2 October 2017, 7.30 p.m.

With proud thanksgiving : Teresa Cahill

The international soprano Teresa Cahill is a recipient of the Elgar Medal,  presented to her in March 2017, during the Royal Society of Musicians’ annual Jacqueline du Pré concert at the Wigmore Hall. She describes the part that Elgar’s music has played in her life and career, which includes recordings of The Spirit of England and King Olaf.

Monday 6 November 2017, 7.30 p.m.

St James the Less Centre, Thorndike Street, Pimlico SW1V 2PS

Michael Kennedy : Andrew Neill

Andrew Neill recalls his friend Michael Kennedy, one of the great writers on Elgar and his music. He will look at Michael’s other writings, his friendships with Sir John Barbirolli and Vaughan Williams, his love of Manchester and the Hallé Orchestra, and the great contribution he made to British musical life. Andrew Neill is a former Chairman of the Society who has written books and articles about Elgar and his music as well as notes for recordings by labels including Chandos, Dutton and SOMM.

 Monday 4 December 2017, 7.30 p.m.

The Sanguine Fan and Fringes of the Fleet  : Kevin Mitchell / Garry Humphreys

To celebrate the centenaries of these compositions, Kevin Mitchell will give a presentation dealing with the history of both works.  Garry Humphreys, accompanied by Caroline Soresby, will perform The Fringes of the Fleet. Garry is a former London Branch secretary, a professional singer and freelance writer, contributing regular music and arts reviews to the Church Times and mainly musical obituaries for thirteen years to The Independent newspaper. He is also joint editor, with Michael Pilkington, of the series  A Century of English Song, published by The Association of English Singers and Speakers.

Monday 5 February 2018, 7.30 p.m. 

The Pageant of Empire : John Norris

John Norris has been working on the Elgar Complete Edition for 16 years and has been its General Manager for the past 10 years. During that time, his work at the British Library and in other archives has provided a new insight into several of Elgar’s works. Tonight he will talk about the widely misunderstood Pageant of Empire – the event as well as the music – before revealing some surprising discoveries from the latest Complete Edition volume, containing the Coronation Ode and Civic Fanfare.

Monday 5 March 2018, 7.30 p.m.

The English musical renaissance : Simon Heffer

In 1880 England continued to live up to its reputation as “the land without music”. By 1940, however, it had produced several composers of international renown – not least Elgar, but also Vaughan Williams, Walton, Britten and Parry – and others whose reputation has since grown enormously. In this talk, Simon Heffer describes why, and how, this cultural revolution took place. Simon Heffer is a journalist, author and political commentator whose books include a biography of Vaughan Williams.

Monday 9 April 2018, 7.30 p.m.

Sir Malcolm Sargent: social elitist and musical democrat : Andrew Keener

Andrew Keener, the independent recording producer, is too young to have worked with Sargent, but presents, with emphasis on Sargent’s championship of British music and Elgar in particular, a portrait of a musician and complex personality long overdue for re-assessment.

Monday 14 May 2018, 7.30 p.m.     

St James the Less Centre, Thorndike Street, Pimlico SW1V 2PS

    Elgar and the innocent ear : Stuart Freed     

Stuart Freed, Vice-Chairman of the Society, presents a programme focused on Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings which has a long recording history dating back to the 1920s. In this presentation, some of the many recordings made since then are compared and contrasted in order to establish the audience’s choice.

Monday 11 June 2018, 7.30 p.m.

 St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, W1S 1FX

Branch AGM; Elgar’s music piano : Margaret Fingerhut

Margaret Fingerhut, one of the UK’s most distinguished pianists, will speak about Elgar’s piano music, and play a short programme including In Smyrna and the Concert Allegro.

The recital, at 8.00 p.m., will be preceded at 7.30 p.m. by the Branch AGM.  

Visitors are welcome to attend this free recital.

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