West Midlands Branch




Branch Contact

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

Tel: 01684 438358



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 (see below). Up until August 2016 our meetings have been held in the Carice Elgar Room, at the Elgar Birthplace, Crown East Lane, Worcester, WR2 6RH. Because the Birthplace is currently closed for refurbishment (opening again during the summer of 2017), some future meetings will be at the venues given below.

 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.

Programme for 2017

Saturday, 11 February 2017, 12.30 for 1.00 pm

Annual Branch Lunch

Our usual Branch Lunch and Quiz at Christchurch Hall, Avenue Road, Malvern, WR14 3AY. Booking via the winter 2016/2017 Branch Newsletter. Guests of honour will be the distinguished soprano, Teresa Cahill and composer, Robert Saxton.

Saturday, 11 March 2017, 2.30 pm

Branch AGM and a short talk by the soprano, Linda Tolchard.

Some members may remember the excellent rendition of some of Elgar’s songs which Linda gave us last year. Venue: St. Leonard’s Church of the Beauchamp Community (details below).

Tuesday, 14 March 2017, 7.30 pm

‘The Enigma Variations – beyond the Score’

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé are to be joined by narrator Gerald McBurney to explore the Enigma Variations. Elgar dedicated his work to ‘his friends pictured within’ but this is more than just a musical Who’s Who of turn-of-the-century Worcestershire, and this performance delves into the personalities – and secrets – of those closest to Elgar. Actors bring the story to life, with a complete performance of the Enigma Variations by the Hallé in the second half.
The Branch is organising a coach and block booking of tickets for this concert at Symphony Hall. Full details and a booking form will be included in the winter 2016/2017 Branch Newsletter.

Saturday, 1 April 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Elgar in America’ 

Richard and Joan Smith

Elgar visited North America four times. His initial visit was quite a happy one, but later he began to dislike many aspects of the country. Nevertheless, two of his greatest friends were American. In their illustrated talk, Richard and Joan explore these apparent discrepancies. St. Leonard’s Church of the Beauchamp Community (details below).

Saturday, 13 May 2017, 2.30 pm

‘The Art of song-writing – a life’s work’

Ian Venables

A talk by the well known Worcestershire composer, Ian Venables whose recent song-cycles have been met with approbation at Malvern Concert Club and the First World War Commemoration ceremony at RGS Worcester.  St. Leonard’s Church of the Beauchamp Community (details below).

Saturday, 17 June 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Elgar’s first and the modern symphony’

John Pickard

A talk by John Pickard, Professor of Composition and Applied Musicology at Bristol University and himself a composer of five Symphonies amongst other major works. Venue to be decided.

Saturday, 8 July 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Herbert Howells and Edward Elgar’

Dr Jonathon Clinch

A talk by the organist Dr Jonathon Clinch, teaching fellow at Birmingham University Music Department and Research Associate of the Cambridge University Music. Venue to be decided

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Elgar Day at the Three Choirs Festival

“A glorious and unexpected revelation – Elgar’s music demonstrated to me that young and old people’s education can and will bring not just a job but a joy” The Elgar Society Lecture by Ralph Allwood MBE, Director of the Rodulfus Choir, the Eton Choral Courses, Queen’s College, Cambridge Chapel Choir, Old Royal Naval College, Trinity Laban Chapel Choir and formerly Director of Music at Eton College: 10.30 am at the King’s School Lecture Theatre, Worcester.

The Elgar Society Lunch at the King’s School Boathouse at 12.45 pm

(The day concludes with a evening performance of “The Dream of Gerontius”)

Tickets for all Three Choirs events from the Festival Booking Office only.

Saturday, 16 September 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Elgar and English Cathedral Music’

Timothy Day

A talk by Timothy Day, for many years a music curator at the British Library. He is a cultural historian and has written most recently on the history of Hereford Choral Society and of King’s College, Cambridge. Carice Elgar Room, at Elgar’s Birthplace, Lower Broadheath, Worcester.

Saturday, 14 October 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Songs of Elgar and his contmporaries’

Alex Poulton and Simon Watterton

A recital by Alex Poulton (baritone) and Simon Watterton (piano) Carice Elgar Room, at Elgar’s Birthplace, Lower Broadheath, Worcester.

(Tickets £6 – ES Members £3 from David Parkes on 01432 840737 or by post – including a stamped addressed envelope -to 2 Blackberry Lane, Little Dewchurch, Hereford, HR2 6PZ or on the door)

Saturday, 18 November 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Old England’

Hannah Roper

A recital by Hannah Roper (violin) and her accompanist to include the Violin Sonatas of Elgar and Coleridge Taylor with some of Elgar’s salon pieces among a range of other works. Carice Elgar Room, at Elgar’s Birthplace, Lower Broadheath, Worcester.

(Tickets £6 – ES Members £3 from David Parkes on 01432 840737 or by post – including a stamped addressed envelope -to 2 Blackberry Lane, Little Dewchurch, Hereford, HR2 6PZ or on the door)

Saturday, 12 December 2017, 2.30 pm

‘Elgar’s influence on my musical thinking’

Robert Saxton

A talk by the acclaimed composer, Robert Saxton, Professor of Composition at Oxford University and Fellow and Tutor of Worcester College, Oxford, Carice Elgar Room, at Elgar’s Birthplace, Lower Broadheath, Worcester.


Location of St. Leonard’s Church of the Beauchamp Community.

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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