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City of Peterborough Symphony Orchestra

Spring Concert
17th March at 3.00pm
Conductor: Bjorn Bantock

Queen Katharine Academy


Vaughan Williams - English Folk Suite
Martin Bright - Apkallu:Protector

(CPSO Commission)
Edward Elgar - Enigma Variations
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Next Concert

Next Concerts

Summer - 22nd June 2024

Brahms - Academic Festival Overture

Dvorak - Symphony No. 9

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2

Programme Note


Vaughan Williams was an avid collector of English folk song, helping the survival of many beautiful tunes. The three movements of the English Folk Song Suite include traditional melodies such as Seventeen come Sunday, the lovely oboe solo in My Bonny Boy, and Blow away the Morning Dew in the rousing finale.

Apkallu:Protector is a dramatic work by Martin Bright for orchestra and five percussionists with marimbas and drums, inspired by the beliefs of the ancient Assyrians and their protectors, the extraordinary Apkallu, part-man, part-animal, seen in exquisite carvings in the British Museum. There are dances, processions and moments of quiet reflection, finishing in the realm of the gods themselves and their eternal breaths of life. The composer studied at the Royal College of Music in London, has performed in the Albert Hall, St Paul’s cathedral and West End theatre productions, and currently teaches percussion in Peterborough. The piece will be performed with musicians from the Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians (PCYM).

Elgar dedicated his Enigma Variations “To my friends pictured within, Malvern, 1899”. The opening Enigma theme is followed by fourteenvariations reflecting his friends’ idiosyncrasies. From his gracious wife, Caroline, through the heart-felt Nimrod (Jaeger), to the finale with the composer himself, vigorous and confident, arriving at a magnificent climax. Elgar suggested there was another unplayed theme to partner the original theme, but he never revealed its identity. The many suggestions have included Luther’s “Eine Feste Burg”, Mozart’s Prague Symphony and even “Auld Lang Syne”.

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Bjorn has an extensive performance schedule conducting ensembles and orchestras internationally. He is principal conductor of the Irish Memory Orchestra and has been a guest conductor for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town, the European Bienniale in Naples and the Svanker Music Festival. Bjorn was also principal conductor for the  St Albans Symphony Orchestra, the London Medical Orchestra, the Huntingdonshire Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Europa Ensemble and the Film Score Spectacular Orchestra and the International String Orchestra Festival in Malta.

Passionate about teaching, Bjorn runs the Conducting Course for the National Schools Symphony Orchestra course in Malvern College and the Conducting Course for the Open Strings Festival in Denmark.  He also founded and is principal conductor for the London Chamber Strings which showcases London’s finest string professionals. Hand-picked specifically for their musical integrity and stunning virtuosity the London Chamber Strings are led by David Juritz.

Bjorn regularly conducts the Hertfordshire Philharmonia and worked as conductor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the London Contemporary Dance School and the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. He has broadcast live on the SABC, BBC and S4C and has recorded and produced CD’s for the Kingsway Record label. Bjorn studied conducting with Colin Metters, Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has won numerous prizes, bursaries and scholarships including first prize in the Sir John Barbirolli competition, RNCM Contemporary Music Performance Prize
 and a Full International ABRSM Scholarship.


Martin Bright LGSMD studied percussion and composition at the Royal College of Music in London and is a licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


He has performed in professional orchestras, in West End theatre productions and has recorded broadcasts for BBC Radio 2, 3 and TV as well as commercial CDs. 


His compositions have been performed in several venues including the South Bank Centre in London. He has also studied Afro-Cuban percussion in Havana.


Martin runs a variety of percussion sessions for both adults and children (including Inset) and teaches class music and composition lessons. As freelance percussionist, drummer and bandleader he performs in a wide range of venues from small locations to large festivals and concert halls around the country and abroad.

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