Parkinson’s UK 50th anniversary celebration gala which will raise vital funds for the charity to continue its incredible research will star the Orion Orchestra under the baton of their new Principal Conductor Gary Matthewman.

The evening will welcome the royalty-approved soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, British baritone Dominic Sedgwick and star horn virtuoso Ben Goldscheider.

On Thursday 5 December, inside the beautiful architecture of St John’s Smith Square in Westminster, Parkinson’s UK will host Fanfare On The Square, kindly sponsored by Symprove, an evening of classical baroque music and readings from iconic British talent.

You will be conducting Orion Orchestra at Fanfare in The Square in celebration of Parkinsons UK 50th anniversary, what can you tell us about the night?

This will be a charity gala with a difference. I was delighted to take on the challenge of putting together the programme of music we’ll be presenting, and we have a rousing selection of works for voice, brass and chamber orchestra, mixed in with readings on the themes of love, marriage and myth in music. Our soloists and actors make quite the starry line-up!

Why were you so keen to support this fundraising gala?

I was especially keen to support this event for three main reasons. First, as with so many of us, I have a couple of close friends/relatives who are living with Parkinson’s, and know what a struggle it can be for them and their families. Second, I love programming, and this was a lovely opportunity to build an engaging selection of music. Third, I love poems and literature, and having the chance to share a stage with readers who are such National Treasures is extremely exciting!

You’ve just taken over as principal conductor of Orion Orchestra, how does that feel?

Taking over as principal conductor of the Orion Orchestra makes me feel both grateful and excited. I love the energy of young players, and having the chance to offer them such vital experience as they set out on their professional paths is a lovely thing. It’s also great experience for me, as someone relatively new to conducting, having worked solely as a pianist all these years.

What are you most looking forward to about the night?

After so many months of planning this event with the team at Parkinson’s UK, the thing I’m most looking forward to about the night is being able to experience the flow and sweep of the programme in full, with these wonderful readings mixed in, and hopefully sensing that special atmosphere that can descend in a hall when the audience are swept along and are right there with you.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to Fanfare in The Square?

To anyone thinking of coming along to Fanfare in the Square, I’d say simply: this concert has something in it for everyone, and by being there you’re helping an incredible charity to carry on with its incredibly important work. See you on Thursday!

Book tickets to Fanfare on the Square here.

Main Image: Gary Matthewman c. Johan Persson

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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