Hitchin Symphony Orchestra to perform McCabe and Arnold this weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:58 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 17 May 2018

Viola soloist Helen Sanders-Hewitt, who is originally from Hitchin. Picture: Hitchin Symphony Orchestra

Viola soloist Helen Sanders-Hewitt, who is originally from Hitchin. Picture: Hitchin Symphony Orchestra

Archant

With a well-earned reputation for the imaginativeness of its programming, Hitchin Symphony Orchestra will be performing two rarely-heard modern British works at its concert on Saturday.

First will be John McCabe’s Concerto for Chamber Orchestra, after which the orchestra will be joined by Helen Sanders-Hewett as soloist in Malcolm Arnold’s Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra.

Helen grew up in Hitchin and was a pupil at Hitchin Girls’ School – where she was a pupil of Paul Adrian Rooke, conductor of the orchestra. Her first violin teacher was Janet Hicks, the orchestra’s leader.

Helen soon began to realise that the viola was really the instrument for her and, after graduating from Birmingham University and the Royal Academy of Music, she now enjoys a busy career in London as performer and teacher.

“We are delighted to be performing Sir Malcolm Arnold’s Viola Concerto with Helen,” said Paul.

“It is so gratifying as a music teacher to see pupils progressing in the world of music and making a name for themselves and Helen is such wonderful player.

“She comes from a well-known Hitchin musical family with both parents playing an active role as performers and teachers.

“She also spent some time as a lodger in the house of Katherine Arnold, Sir Malcolm’s daughter – who will be present at the concert – so that is an especially apposite connection.”

Monica McCabe, widow of composer John McCabe, will also be at the concert. Of his Concerto for Chamber Orchestra, she says: “It is an early work – composed when John was 23, before I met him – and is rarely played, so I am really looking forward to hearing it.”

Also in the concert will be two works by Mendelssohn – first the Wedding March, with a nod towards the day’s earlier events.

“We were hoping to be called to Windsor to play this piece for Harry and Meghan, but the invitation must have got lost in the post,” said Paul.

The final item will be Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.3, often nicknamed ‘Scottish’.

The concert will start at 7.30pm and end by 9.30pm. Tickets are available from the Hitchin Initiative, 01462 458614 or wegottickets.com (search for ‘Hitchin Symphony Orchestra’).

Tickets cost £14 each, £12 for concessions, with under-16s getting in free. There is a £2 discount on tickets bought before Wednesday.

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