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 2018 – 2019

Sunday 7 October 2018, 10.00 a.m. – 6.15 p.m.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Silk Street, London EC2Y 9BH

Wood Magic at Brinkwells: Elgar’s chamber music

A day spent exploring Elgar’s chamber music, organised by the Guildhall School and the London Branch of the Elgar Society.

Elgar composed his three major chamber works at Brinkwells, his Sussex cottage, during 1918–1919.  Speakers, including Diana McVeagh and Philip Lancaster, will discuss the context and background to these works.  Music will be performed by Guildhall students, finishing with a performance of the Piano Quintet.

Tickets: £20/£15.  Book via the Barbican Centre in person, by phone at 020 7638 8891, or at:      where the full programme may be downloaded.   Special rate of £12 for Elgar Society members applying to the Secretary.

Monday 5 November 2018, 7.30 p.m.

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

Hubert Parry –  the development of a great personality : Michael Trott

Aware five years ago that the centenary of Parry’s death was approaching on 7 October 2018 and yet there was no introductory book on him, Michael Trott was convinced that an illustrated outline biography ought to be written, and his Hubert Parry: A Life in Photographs was published in 2017 by Brewin Books. This presentation, a spin-off from the book’s research, sets out to explore what Parry’s daughter wrote of this once-towering figure in British music: ‘My father was the most naturally unconventional man I have known.’

An Honorary Life Member of the Elgar Society and former Chairman of the West Midlands Branch, Michael Trott is a retired aeronautical engineer with a life-long interest in Parry and Elgar.

 Monday 3 December 2018, 7.30 p.m.

Queen’s College, 43-49 Harley Street, London W1G 8BT

Elgar as we knew him  : Christopher Wiltshire

Christopher Wiltshire, Secretary of the East Anglian Branch, is a retired oncologist and psychotherapist who has a life-long fascination with Elgar asa  musician and as a personality. Since the 1960s he has collected off-air recordings of Elgar programmes, mostly from the BBC including a very interesting collection of voices of Elgar’s contemporaries.  This presentation consists of a selection of reminiscences by Elgar’s friends, family and colleagues, interspersed with music and a commentary.

Monday 4 February 2019, 7.30 p.m. 

Queen’s College, 43-49 Harley Street, London W1G 8BT

Collecting Elgariana – the Unruly Passion : Arthur Reynolds

North American Branch Chairman Arthur Reynolds will entertain us with tales of his Elgar memorabilia acquisition adventure. Items from his Archive will be on view.

Monday 4 March 2019, 7.30 p.m.

Queen’s College, 43-49 Harley Street, London W1G 8BT

Perspectives on Elgar from an early 21st century composer’s viewpoint : Robert Saxton

Robert Saxton began composing at the age of 6, with encouragement from Benjamin Britten. He studied with Elisabeth Lutyens, Robin Holloway, Robert Sherlaw Johnson and Luciano Berio and is now Professor of Composition and Tutorial Fellow, Worcester College, Oxford University.  He will speak about his methods of composition and his influences, with particular reference to Elgar’s First Symphony and Introduction and Allegro.  Commissions include  works for the BBC (Proms, TV and radio); Aldeburgh, City of London, and Glyndebourne festivals; major orchestras and ensembles, Opera North, Teresa Cahill, Chilingirian Quartet, Steven Isserlis, Mstislav Rostropovich, Raphael Wallfisch. His music has been issued on CD by EMI, Hyperion, NMC, Signum, Sony Classical and Toccata.

Monday 1 April 2019, 7.30 p.m.

Queen’s College, 43-49 Harley Street, London W1G 8BT

The Dream of Gerontius in Canterbury Cathedral

This memorable performance, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, was filmed in colour in 1968 and recently issued on DVD.  The soloists were Janet Baker, Peter Pears and John Shirley-Quirk. Members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the time will speak about their memories of this occasion, and part of the performance will be shown. A joint meeting with Friends of the LPO.

Saturday 11 May 2019, 3.00 p.m.     

Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AZ  

    Elgar and Handel : Relf Clark;  The Gerald Coke Collection: Katharine Hogg      

Relf Clark will look at the role played by Handel’s music in Elgar’s early development. He will examine the influence of Handel on Elgar’s mature style, and end with a consideration of Elgar’s arrangement of the sinfonia to the second of the Cannons anthems. Katharine Hogg, Librarian of the Gerald Coke Handel Collection, based at the Museum, will talk about the materials in the collection. Entrance to this meeting will be by admission fee of £7.50 for the Museum, which will be open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.  (Free to National Art Pass holders).

Monday 10 June 2019, 7.30 p.m.

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

Branch AGM; Organ recital : Nicholas Morris

A recital of English music including the Parry Fantasia and Fugue in G and a transcription of Elgar’s Imperial March.

Nicholas Morris combines a busy freelance career with the post of Assistant Director of Music at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, where he is the principal accompanist.

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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