Author Archives: Phil

Song Stories comes to a rousing conclusion

Endymion Song Stories

We recently completed a four-week long devising and performance project with Primary schools in Westminster as part of its Song Stories outreach strand.  Around 120 children in Year 4 and Year 5 from St Barnabas’ Church of England Primary School and St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School  in Westminster, London took part in a series of workshops based upon the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and the opera Orfeo by Monteverdi.  The workshops were led by the spirited Animateur John Barber, and supported by Endymion musicians Adrian Bradbury, Jenna Sherry, Massimo Di Trolio and Rebecca McChrystal  and students from the Royal Academy of Music.   Students from the Academy were involved to participate in the project to gain work experience and to absorb and refine their outreach and education skills.

The project, called I am Orfeo, enabled the children at both schools to devise and compose their own songs around the story of Orpheus, and rehearse them to perform at a gala concert.  They also had a chance to learn about the instruments from our quartet (percussion, clarinet, cello and violin) and watch mini-performances by these solo instruments and in duos.

Both schools came together on Thursday 13th March at St Clement Danes Church in Aldwych, central London, to perform the complete story of Orfeo, with arrangements of Monteverdi by John Barber and interspersed with performances from us.  The two schools sang one massed song all together, and their own original songs based on the story.  The event was a huge success, with parents and public attending, and a wonderful sharing experience between the two schools and the musicians from Endymion and the Royal Academy.

We are incredibly grateful to the many trusts who supported this work, in particular the Ernest Cook Trust and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, without which it would not have been possible.

Endymion at the Ashbourne Festival


Endymion will be appearing on 29th June at the Ashbourne Festival, performing one of our most popular programmes, the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets. It’s our first appearance at Ashbourne so we’re delighted to continue to meet new audiences, even after 34 years of performing!  You can get tickets for the concert here.


Endymion at Wigmore Hall, Temple Church and Cheltenham Festival in July

Endymion has a busy few weeks ahead, with performances at Cheltenham Festival, Temple Church and Wigmore Hall.

We will be joined by the BBC Singers for a Radio 3 broadcast concert on 5th July at Cheltenham International Music Festival, with a world premiere by Judith Bingham and a piece by John Tavener.   Tickets can be bought here.

On 11th July we’ll be performing one of our most popular programmes at Temple Church, featuring the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets.  Tickets for that are available here.

On 15th July, we’ll be making our first ever appearance in the prestigious Wigmore Hall Coffee Concert series, performing Brahms’ Clarinet Trio and Horn Trio.  Don’t miss it!  Tickets for that concert are only £12, with concessions available, and they are selling very well, so book quickly.  Tickets available here.

Photo from Aberdeen

We just received this photo from an enthusiastic member of the audience who was at our concert in Aberdeen on 12th November.

Bryan Watson is a very good amateur photographer and music fan, and was kind enough to send us this copy of his photo.  You can check out his photostream here.

Endymion and EXAUDI at Sound Festival

Endymion performing Fratres by Arvo Pärt at the Southbank Centre

Here’s another video of us performing at the Southbank Centre in September.  As part of our celebration of Arvo Pärt, we performed several well-known chamber works by the 76-year-old composer, including Summa for string quartet and Fratres, on this video, in the version for string quartet.  We also teamed up with EXAUDI to perform his wonderfully contemplative Stabat Mater – a video of that is coming soon!

You can see us perform all three of these wonderful pieces again on Saturday night at the Sound Festival, Scotland, alongside three great new commissions by Philip Venables (Endymion’s Artistic Director), James Weeks (EXAUDI’s Artistic Director) and Andrew Hamilton.  Tickets are available here!


Arvo Pärt – Summa

Here’s a wonderful video of our performance a few weeks ago at the Southbank Centre of Arvo Pärt’s ‘Summa’ for string quartet.

We’re playing this beautiful piece again on 4th November at Opera North, 12th November at Sound Festival in Scotland and on 6th March 2012 at City Music Society at the Bishopsgate Institute.  Do come and join us to hear it again!


Guardian review of Music for People 1 at Southbank

Our first instalment of Music for People went off wonderfully last night at the Southbank Centre.   From the serene opening of Fratres to the atmospheric premiere of Joanna Bailie’s new piece to the quirky, joyous commission by Philip Venables and Pärt’s masterpiece Stabat Mater, all went tremendously well and we were delighted to share the stage with the incredible EXAUDI singers.

The Guardian reviewed the concert here.  What a ringing endorsement for our project!  We’re delighted.  And we do hope that you all come back tomorrow night for the premiere of our commissions of James Weeks and Andrew Hamilton (both sounding great in rehearsal) and Morton Feldman’s stunning Clarinet Quintet.

Book here:

Joanna Bailie’s commission was generously supported by the PRS for Music Foundation

Endymion and EXAUDI’s Music for People – book now!

Music for People is a new and exciting collaboration between ‘the brilliant Endymion’ and EXAUDI, ‘the extraordinary ensemble of vocal virtuosi’.  We’re joining forces for two evenings of ‘new simplicity’ at the Southbank Centre, with music by Arvo Pärt, Morton Feldman and four exciting new works especially commissioned for this project from four renegade young composers: Joanna Bailie, Andrew Hamilton, Philip Venables and James Weeks.

The first concert, on September 19th, includes two of Pärt’s best known instrumental compositions, ‘Fratres’ and ‘Summa’, as well as the beautiful ‘Stabat Mater’ and the rarely performed ‘Pilgrim’s Song’.  Alongside these, the premieres of ‘Artificial Environment No. 6’ by Joanna Bailie, and ‘numbers 76-80 : tristan und isolde’ by Philip Venables, both for voices, string quartet and tape.

The second evening, on September 21st, features Morton Feldman’s iconic ‘Clarinet and String Quartet’ from 1983 and the earlier pieces ‘Only’, for solo voice on a text by Rilke, and ‘Voices & Cello’.

These are paired up with two new commissions by composers inspired by Feldman – ‘right and wrong’ by Andrew Hamilton and ‘Inscription’ by James Weeks.

The project is being generously supported by the Marina Kleinwort Charitable Trust, the Ernest Cook Trust, the PRS for Music Foundation, the Holst Foundation, the RVW Trust, the Leche Trust, the Golden Bottle Trust and the Golsoncott Foundation.

Check out the flyer here, and book your tickets now through the Southbank Centre website – details below.  There are student tickets from £5 too.

Monday, September 19th, 7.45pm
Arvo Pärt  –  Summa
Joanna Bailie  –   Artificial Environment No.6  (world premiere)
Arvo Pärt  –  Wallfahrtslied (Pilgrim’s Song)*
Philip Venables  –  numbers 76-80 : tristan und isolde (world premiere)
Arvo Pärt  –  Fratres
Arvo Pärt  –  Stabat Mater

Wednesday, September 21st, 7.45pm
Morton Feldman  –  Only, for solo voice
James Weeks  –  Inscription (world premiere)
Morton Feldman  –  Voices & Cello
Andrew Hamilton  –  right and wrong (world premiere)
Morton Feldman  –  Clarinet and String Quartet**

James Weeks – conductor
*Simon Wall – tenor
**Mark van de Wiel – clarinet
Purcell Room
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
£20, £15, £10, concessions 50% off.
Southbank Centre: / 0844 875 0073
Direct booking links:
for Concert 1, Sept 19:
for Concert 2, Sept 21:

Endymion and EXAUDI at Wigmore Hall

We were delighted with our late-night performance of Arvo Pärt a few weeks ago at Wigmore Hall with the wonderful EXAUDI.  We performed in Wigmore Hall’s new late-night series, at 10pm on Friday 8th July.  The hall was really full (busier than for the 7pm concert that night!) and the atmosphere was really serene and concentrated, for four contrasting pieces of Pärt:  Fratres, Summa, Pilgrim’s Song and the Stabat Mater.

Geoff Brown reviewed for The Times:

“One Arvo Pärt work followed another, from the chord sequences of Fratres to the measured sorrows of his Stabat Mater setting: music of rapturous, daring simplicity, vigorously etched by a string quartet drawn from Endymion and three of Exaudi’s fearless voices.”

This was the first performance in a line of Arvo Pärt performances, not least our large Music for People project at Southbank Centre on 19th and 21st September, when we’ll be joining up with EXAUDI again to perform more Pärt, plus some Morton Feldman and four new commissions from James Weeks, Joanna Bailie, Andrew Hamilton and Philip Venables.  More to follow on here soon, but book your tickets now

Monday 19th September: Pärt, Venables, Bailie.

Wednesday 21st September: Feldman, Hamilton, Weeks.

The photo here is us rehearsing the Stabat Mater in Wigmore Hall on the morning of the concert.

Endymion performing Elliott Carter UK Premiere