Jump to content

Press Release: Birmingham based Elmhurst Ballet School join in the LSSO celebrations for composer Eleanor Alberga’s 70th birthday in London

Recommended Posts

Eleanor Alberga’s 70th birthday celebrations culminate in a performance of Roald Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Barbican Hall on Monday 23 September 2019 | Barbican, London





  • Narrated by Simon Callow CBE
  • Dance elements choreographed by Mark Baldwin OBE and performed by students of Elmhurst Ballet School




Elmhurst Ballet School join forces with London’s premier youth orchestra, The London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) to celebrate composer Eleanor Alberga’s 70th birthday in a performance of her musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first presented in London 25 years ago by the London Philharmonic and Franz Welser-Möst.


The orchestra recently toured the piece without dancers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and presents the performance at the Barbican Hall in London on 23 September 2019.


For this performance, acclaimed actor, writer and director Simon Callow CBE narrates, and students of Elmhurst Ballet School perform the dance elements by multi award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin OBE.


Mark Baldwin said: “The London Schools Symphony Orchestra are amazing, the energetic sound of youthful enthusiasm mixed with the personality and expert grace of the Elmhurst Ballet School dancers is irresistible. Eleanor Alberga's music is so exciting and punchy; at turns rapid, spooky, delicate, wicked and celebratory. I appreciate that here we have an exceptionally good score for dance.


The evening marks a welcome return to Alberga’s colourful and exhilarating score for LSSO Artistic Director Peter Ash, who recorded the work for the record label Orchid Classics alongside an all-star cast of narrators including Joanna Lumley, Griff Rhys Jones and Danny DeVito.


Peter Ash commented: “I think Snow White is one of the most exciting and brilliant orchestral works produced in the last 25 years. It’s complex – perhaps more technically complex than anything the LSSO have previously attempted – yet the piece has a charm, ease and infectious joy that delights any first-time listener. There’s nothing in the repertoire quite like it and it deserves to be as well-known as Peter and the Wolf.


Jamaican-born Eleanor Alberga is one of the most fascinating composers at work today, with a palette of sounds that ranges from African and Jamaican dance rhythms to the sophistication of Debussy and Berg. Recent works include her Arise Athena!, which was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop at the Last Night of the Proms 2015. Her opera, Letters of a Love Betrayed, received its premiere at London’s Royal Opera House. She also worked with The London Contemporary Dance Theatre as their Musical Director, before founding the Arcadia festival with husband, the violinist Thomas Bowes.


Alberga commented on her birthday celebrations with the LSSO: “I am thrilled that the LSSO under the very talented baton of Peter Ash will be performing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It will be a wonderful treat for my birthday. I have such fond memories of this collaboration 25 years ago.”


The LSSO presents three Barbican concerts plus a summer tour every year. Courses run during the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays, comprising intensive rehearsals and coaching by London's top orchestral musicians. The orchestra is generously sponsored by the City of London Corporation and managed by the Centre for Young Musicians, a Division of the Guildhall School, as part of the Guildhall Young Artists Programme.






Young at Heart

The Centre for Young Musicians (CYM) and the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO), have launched an exciting appeal entitled ‘Young at Heart’, which marks a combined 120 years of music making in the capital by raising one million pounds over the next three years. The money raised will provide bursaries to enable hundreds of talented, but financially less well-off, students to study at the CYM Saturday Centre and benefit from the opportunities of membership of the LSSO over the next 10 years. 

CYM’s gala celebration event will take place at the Barbican on 10 June 2020, which will include a work by CYM alumnus Jonathan Dove. The LSSO will mark the organisation’s 70th in 2021, including commissions by Michael Zev Gordon, Joshua Borin and Eleanor Alberga.



Barbican Concert details:

Date/time: Monday 23 September 2019, 7.30pm

Venue: Barbican, London

Tickets: £9, £15, £20, £26 // 020 7638 8891 // www.barbican.org.uk



Dvořák Scherzo Capriccioso

Britten Sinfonia da Requiem

Eleanor Alberga Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs



The London Schools Symphony Orchestra

Peter Ash, conductor

Simon Callow CBE, narrator

Mark Baldwin OBE, choreographer

With dancers from Elmhurst Ballet School (in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet)


The London Schools Symphony Orchestra


Hailed by Sir Simon Rattle as "an incomparable ambassador for the dynamism and excellence of British youth", the London Schools Symphony Orchestra has for over sixty years been regarded as a potent symbol of the talents and achievements of London's finest young musicians. It was founded in 1951 by Dr Leslie Russell, to give young musicians from schools in London the opportunity to perform with professional conductors and soloists. The current artistic director is conductor/composer, Peter Ash.


The orchestra currently gives three concerts a year at the Barbican Hall. The repertoire is wide and varied, ranging from Baroque concertos to contemporary works commissioned especially for the LSSO. Recent premieres have included major pieces by Jonathan Dove, John Taverner, and Vladimir Tarnopolski's comic cantata based on Roald Dahl's Cinderella.


LSSO concerts over the last five years have given the orchestra's young players the opportunity to play the great masterpieces, including symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, as well as Richard Strauss's mighty Alpine Symphony. They have also presented four one-act operas in semi-staged productions: Ravel's The Child and The Magic Spells, Weber’s Oberon, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle.


Eleanor Alberga, composer


With her 2015 Last Night of the Proms opener ARISE ATHENA! Eleanor Alberga cemented a reputation as a composer of international stature.


Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Alberga decided at the age of five to be a concert pianist, though five years later she was already composing works for the piano. In 1970 she won the biennial Royal Schools of Music Scholarship for the West Indies which she took up at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying piano and singing. But a budding career as a solo pianist - she was among the 3 finalists in the International Piano Concerto Competition in Dudley, UK in 1974 - was augmented by composition with her arrival at The London Contemporary Dance Theatre in 1978. Under the inspirational leadership of its Artistic Director Robert Cohan, she formed a deep understanding of modern dance. Alberga soon had works commissioned and conceived for dance from the company, most notably the piano quintet CLOUDS (1984). Since that time, Alberga has written music in all genres – opera, orchestral, chamber and choral.  A recording of her three string quartets is released this June on the Navona label of PARMA Recordings.


Elmhurst Ballet School is based in Edgbaston, Birmingham and will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. It is a world-renowned centre of excellence in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet and prepares talented young dancers aged between 11 and 19 to become the thinking dance professionals of the future. The school nurtures individuality through a holistic approach to training, education and health, which helps students to become independent, collaborative and versatile artists, ready to take their professional places on the world stage. Elmhurst’s dance training is of the highest quality and is delivered by current and former dance professionals. This training is enhanced by opportunities to work with Birmingham Royal Ballet, visiting choreographers and dance artists. Elite but not elitist, Elmhurst believes that talent is classless and its exceptional training opportunities should be available to young dancers regardless of their financial, social or cultural backgrounds. Whilst Elmhurst is an independent school, typically some 80% of students benefit from Government support to train at the school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...