Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Orchestra’s bringing classical music alive at the Hexagon

Orchestra’s bringing classical music alive at the Hexagon

THE Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will play the first concert of Reading’s
2019-20 “Classical Music Alive” season at the Hexagon on Thursday (October 31) at 7.30pm.

A spokesman for the orchestra said: “This concert will be a perfect marriage of English and Italian orchestral favourites, opening with Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The rich variety of layers and textures in the work makes it a powerful curtain-raiser.

“Continuing in the same theme of lush Romanticism will be Elgar’s sublime Cello Concerto, performed by rising star cellist Jamal Aliyev, winner of the Sir Karl Jenkins Music Award 2017. Conductor Valentina Peleggi describes the Concerto as ‘both glorious and terrifying’.

“Mendelssohn’s buoyant and cheerful Symphony
No 4, ‘Italian’
, closes this concert with panache and flair. The symphony incorporates native dance and folk rhythms and is a charming tribute to how Italy made him feel.

“Arrive early for a free pre-concert talk about the music in the Hexagon auditorium from 6.30pm.”

Among the musicians performing on the night will be French horn players Philip Woods and Kath Saunders, both of whom grew up in Reading and served their musical apprenticeship in the town.

Kath still recalls her first performance as a member of the South Berkshire Music Centre, part of Berkshire Youth Music Trust and now known as Berkshire Maestros.

She said: “I remember what must have been pretty much my first ever concert, doing a massed beginner brass thing at the Hexagon and thinking it was huge.

“That was back in about 1987. As far as the concert goes, it must have been a right racket with a hundred or so beginners. My brother was plugged into his Walkman for the duration.

“Being involved with Berkshire Youth Music Trust while I was growing up was fantastic. I loved Saturdays playing with the brass band and the Corelli Orchestra — with whom we enjoyed a brilliant tour to Majorca, of all places — and just back in time for Grandstand.

“I was a member of Reading Youth Orchestra, too. I remember having practice on Friday nights and then half the orchestra piling into The Roebuck after it finished.”

As the resident orchestra at the Hexagon, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is deeply committed to its partnership work with Berkshire Maestros — more information about which can be found on the group’s website at www.

Tickets for Thursday’s concert are priced £28, £24 and £17, with concessions available. For first-time concertgoers, there is also an offer to “test drive” a classical concert for £12.

To book, call the box office on 0118 960 6060 or visit

More News:

Latest video from

VIDEO: Tributes paid after rugby player's death

POLL: Have your say