A noteworthy date for your diary

Château de Valençay in the Loire Valley: Photograph by Pat Pelmore

A noteworthy date for your diary

1st August 2019

The Lydian Youth Orchestra perform in Tonbridge this weekend. Ahead of their performance the group’s publicity manager Chris Jutting explains more about the history of this prestigious orchestra

The Lydian Youth Orchestra perform in Tonbridge this weekend. Ahead of their performance the group’s publicity manager Chris Jutting explains more about the history of this prestigious orchestra

A West Kent-based youth orchestra The Lydian will give a homecoming concert this coming Saturday in Tonbridge on their return to the UK after a tour of western France. The performance will be the final act of a five-concert tour, with the other four concerts taking place in France during the preceding week. 

At the heart of the programme is Hector Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été (Summer Nights), a song cycle based on poems written by the 19th-century French poet Théophile Gautier. Accomplished local singer Isabella Chambers will perform the solo.

By the time they return to Tonbridge Parish Church for their final concert, the orchestra will have performed in venues including churches and towns in the Charente-Maritime region. This will culminate in a performance at Dol-de-Bretagne cathedral in Brittany before their return to the UK. 

The Lydian Orchestra was founded in 1976 by violin teacher June Clements and consists of young musicians  between the ages of 14 and 21. It gives 3 concerts a year in West Kent and over the years has also toured to Germany, France, Belgium and Scotland as well as two more recent tours to Wiesbaden – hence the connection with tonight’s conductor, Christoph Nielbock, director of the Wiesbaden Music and Art School since 1991.

Christoph is also the chairman of the Association of German Music Academies and Conservatories, and has significantly shaped the development of the traditional conservatory into a modern music school. He hosted the Lydian Orchestra on a recent tour to Wiesbaden, twin town with Tunbridge Wells. Members of the twinning committee of Tunbridge Wells and Wiesbaden will be present at Saturday’s concert.

Tonbridge Parish Church, the venue for the concert, is one of Tonbridge’s hidden gems, and played host to the orchestra’s spring concert in April. The original church was built soon after Tonbridge’s Norman castle on the site of an old Saxon site of worship, with the modern-day architecture dating from the 13th century. 

The Lydian Orchestra, now in its 43rd year, is run with the core aim of giving young musicians the opportunity to experience a broad orchestral repertoire. However, the orchestra’s social side is no less important. Players often form lasting friendships during the week-long music courses which take place three times per year. The orchestra is a registered charity and is run entirely by volunteers.

Saturday promises to be a magical evening, with something in the programme for everyone and we would love you to come along.

Tickets for the concert will be available on the door, priced £12 for adults and £6 for students. U18s pay £1.

Lydian accepts new players providing that they are proficient to grade 7-8 standard (strings)/grade 8 standard (wind and brass). Courses take place in spring, summer and winter (dates at www.lydian.org.uk) and cost £20 per player. Contact the orchestra at play@lydian.org.uk for details.

Follow the latest developments on the Lydian Orchestra Twitter account at @LydianOrchestra.

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