West Midlands Branch




Branch Contact

Richard Smith,
24, Crown Lea Avenue,
WR14 2DP

Tel: 01684 438358

west.midlands@elgar.org or rsmith8631@aol.com


It is generally agreed that the Elgar Society began its life in Worcester and Malvern in 1951 and the West Midlands Branch has continued to flourish since then. We have a membership of approximately 230, second only to London. We are also fortunate in being the ‘home’ Branch of the Elgar Birthplace with which we maintain a close relationship. In common with other Branches of the Society, we hold a regular programme of talks and a yearly ‘jaunt’ to places of interest.

In addition to our events programme, we also publish a twice-yearly Newsletter which is distributed to members by post or email depending on their preference. We feel that this is an excellent way of communicating with our membership, especially to those who find it difficult to travel.

Unless otherwise stated, all events will take place in the Carice Elgar Room at ‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace, Crown East Lane, Worcester, WR2 6RH.

Programme for 2019

Saturday, 18 May 2019, 2.30 pm

‘Elgar and the Press’

Richard Westwood-Brookes

Richard Westwood-Brookes, who is currently completing his book on Elgar and the Press, will examine Elgar’s life as reported by the press of the time. There will be some controversial moments, some surprises and some humour as we see Elgar through the eyes of the ‘hacks of Fleet Street.’

‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace.

Saturday, 22 June 2019, 2.30 pm

‘Journeying with my cello’

Rachael Howgego

The cellist, Rachael Howgego, who has spent thirty years as a freelance cellist and teacher and worked with may orchestras, will describes her experiences. Rachael also owns the cello on which Beatrice Harrison recorded the Elgar Concerto with the composer conducting.

St Leonard’s Church of the Beauchamp Community (see below).

Saturday, 13 July 2019, 2.30 pm

‘A form of genius – Gordon Jacob’

Stuart Freed

Stuart Freed Vice-Chairman of the Elgar Society will examine the career of Gordon Jacob, perhaps best known for orchestrating Elgar’s Organ Sonata.

‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

‘Elgar and English Cathedral Music’

Timothy Day

As part of the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester, Timothy Day will examine the history of English Cathedral Music and the part played by Elgar in this genre. Timothy Day’s most recent book I saw Eternity the other night was recently launched in the Chapel at King’s College Cambridge with the choir under the direction of Stephen Cleobury. Tim’s talk will include a number of historical recordings. The event will be followed by the Elgar Society Lunch. Full details will appear on the Three Choirs Festival website from whom tickets must be obtained. There will be an evening performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto by Natalie Cline and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.


Saturday, 14 September 2019, 2.30 pm

‘A Cathedral musician’s reflections’

Robert Green

Robert, who has worked as assistant organist at both Lichfield and Hereford Cathedrals, will talk about his life in music.

‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace.

Saturday, 12 October 2019, 2.30 pm

A Concert by the Elgar Chorale

Founded in 1980, the Elgar Chorale is one of the leading chamber choirs in the West Midlands. They are a mixed voice choir of about 40 singers, many of them professional musicians, based in Worcester.

‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace.

Saturday, 16 November 2019, 2.30 pm

‘Grania and Diarmid’ and ‘Caractacus’

Andrew Neill

Formerly Chairman of the national Elgar Society, Andrew explores the background and musical influences behind George Moore’s Irish play ‘Grania and Diarmid’ and then turns to the music of ‘Caractacus’ (who may not have been Celtic).

‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace.

Saturday, 7 December 2019, 2.30 pm

‘One of the old school, solid, and good, and a gentleman’

Dr Jim Berrow

A Worcester Cathedral, between 1814 and 1950, there were only four incumbent organists and William Done served for 51 years. His pupil and successor, Hugh Blair, uncharacteristically survived for only two years. Done (1815-95) lived through a period of great change in the social, liturgical, and musical conduct of the English cathedrals and  had his fair share of difficulties with the Three Choirs Festivals, in particular an upset with Jenny Lind. The Elgar family regularly played for him and he provided generous access to the cathedral music library for the young Edward Elgar. This talk draws on many sources to paint a picture of the cathedral close in the second half of the nineteenth century and discuss some of Done’s pupils and their subsequent careers.

‘The Firs’, Elgar’s Birthplace.


Location of St. Leonard’s Church of the Beauchamp Community, WR13 5AX

The location of St. Leonard’s is just off the main Worcester-Malvern Road (A.449) and is shown on the map below. There is no visitor parking on site, but there is ample parking on the road by the church. After arrival go through the big iron gates and, in front of you, will be big wooden doors. Go through the wicket-gate and turn left. The door you need to get to the Board Room will be clearly marked ‘ELGAR’. Someone will be there to guide you.


Link to Ross Classical Music Society click here

Link to Chandos Symphony Orchestra click here

Link to Malvern Festival Chorus click here

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