Saturday’s concert

Dear Chamber Academy members!

Saturday’s concert was a tremendous success.  The orchestra accompanied our marvelous soloist with both delicate and muscular support.  It couldn’t have gone much better.  The Brahms Concerto is a
very difficult piece so we can all be proud.  And of course Hilary’s terrific solo in the slow movement was a highlight.

The Beethoven did not disappoint in the second half.  Another challenging piece that we performed with aplomb.  Plenty of positive feedback was shared in the after party.  We hope you are all recovered.

Next term we take a new direction with more theatrical music of childlike fantasy.  We open with a Suite by Faure called ‘Masques et bergamasques’ (Masks and bergamasks, bergamask being a rustic dance). The Overture actually heralds from an earlier abandoned Symphony by Faure (

For our Concerto we are joined by pianist Niel du Preez who will be performing Schostakovich’s famous second concerto that he wrote for his son.  The slow movement is particularly sumptuous and worth a listen to if you are ever feeling down (

Our main item is the exquisite ballet suite by Ravel called ‘Mother Goose’.  Originally composed as a piano duet for youngsters he later orchestrated it.  A link to a youtube version is below, plus parts are available from IMSLP via the link below.,_Maurice%29

Next term’s concert is on Sunday the 22nd March.  Rehearsals start on the 8th January.  Please check your diaries for any clashes in advance and let us know if there are dates you won’t be able to make.  It’s worth remembering that despite our rehearsals spanning a 10 week period, we don’t rehearse more in terms of hours than your average well-funded professional orchestra, so regular attendance is something we must aspire to!

Have a marvelous Christmas and we look forward to seeing you on the 8th January.

Thomas and Abi

congratulations on a wonderfully rewarding concert

Dear Chamber Academy Orchestra members,

Apologies for not sending this email to you all sooner.

A big congratulations on a wonderfully rewarding concert on Saturday 6th July.  It was a lot to put together in one day with all the various components so thank you for your stamina throughout that long rehearsal!  We had some phenomenal singers to work with which I hope made it worthwhile.  The final top note from our emergency tenor in Nessun Dorma was the crowning moment of a terms hard work.  It felt like scoring a winning goal in the last minute of the world cup.

It was a big challenge, and would not have been possible without so much help from our wonderful members helping with our concert day arrangements.

Next term promises to be a lot more straight forward when we return to our overture/concerto/symphony format. The Brahms Violin Concerto is one of my favourite pieces of all time, and we have a terrific soloist who incidentally, came to hear us on Saturday.  This will be paired with Beethoven’s wonderful 3rd Symphony the Eroica.

Our next term will start on September 25th with a half term break on Thursday 30th October and our end of term concert on Saturday December 6th.

Have a terrific summer and thank you again for your energy and commitment.

All the best,

Thomas and Abi

Summer 2014 rehearsals

Dear Chamber Academy members!

Thank you for your work so far on a very varied and challenging program.  I am sorry if we have not been able to stick exactly to our rehearsal schedule thus far and thank you for your patience.  We will start rehearsing with singers from the 19th June so the schedule from then on should be fairly accurate.

As you can see from the schedule, we only have one go with each singer on each item.  This means several things. Please please please familiarise yourselves as much as possible with the music, both by listening to the links below and practising any tricky passages.  I want us to take full advantage of our time with the singers to shape the music rather than learn the notes.  Attendance is also critical as important decisions may be made during these sessions and we won’t have time to do more than run the items on the day of the concert.

The church is free from 7.30pm every Thursday and if we could all start getting ready from then we should be able to start playing from 7.45pm.  Next week we will start with small sectionals.  All upper strings downstairs and everyone else in the church.

Here is a reminder of our program order.  It would be helpful to pencil in the item number on your parts to keep order.  Se vuol ballare and our Puccini finale that includes the Humming chorus and Nessun dorma will be available from next week.

Finally, we need the following for our concert: Harp, 3 trombones and tuba, 2 trumpets, 1 double bass and a few more string players.  If you know anyone who may be interested in this program please put them in touch.

Remember to bring an audience!

See you all next week. Happy practising.

Thomas and Abi

Chamber Academy Opera Gala concert 5th July 2014

1. Rossini Barber of Seville Overture,_Gioacchino%29
2. Rossini ‘Una Voce Poco Fa’ Ee Ping Yee
3. Mozart ‘Parto, parto’ Norma Fender
4. Mozart ‘Se Vuol Ballare’ Ashley Mercer
5. Mozart ‘Voi che Saptete’ Norma Fender
6. Mozart Der Holle Rach (Queen of the Night) Aria Amy Worsfold,_K.620_%28Mozart,_Wolfgang_Amadeus%29
7. Mozart Papageno, Papagena Alexa Mason and Ashley Mercer,_K.620_%28Mozart,_Wolfgang_Amadeus%29
8. Bellini Quante Volte from Capulet & Montagues Natalya Beam
9. Smetana Polka from Bartered Bride (go to arrangements),_JB_1:100_%28Smetana,_Bed%C5%99ich%29


10. Verdi La Forza Del Destino Overture,_Giuseppe%29
11. Verdi Don Carlos ‘Tu Che le Vanite ..’  Kirsten Sharpin
12. Puccini O Mio Babbino Caro  Ee Ping Yee
13. Bizet Pearl Fishers Duet Roberto Garcia Lopez and Ashley Mercer
14. Massenet Meditation
15. Dvorak Song to the Moon Ee Ping Yee
16. Puccini Madam Butterfly Humming Chorus
Puccini Nessun Dorma Roberto Garcia Lopez

Revised Rehearsal Schedule

First Half 7.45-8.45pm

Second Half 9.00-9.45pm

22 May



29 May

Mozart Parto, parto

Mozart Voi che sapete

Massenet – Meditation

Mozart Queen of the night

5 June

Sectionals from 7.30pm

Strings downstairs

Winds in the church

Puccini – Humming and Nessun Dorma

12 June

Verdi – La Forza

Verdi – Tu che le vanita

Bellini – Quante volte

Mozart – Parto parto

Dvorak – Song to the Moon

19 June

Rossini – Una Voce Poco Fa

Puccini – O Mio Babbino

Dvorak – Song to the Moon

Bellini – Quante volte

26 June

Mozart – Parto and Voi che s.

Mozart – Queen of the night

Mozart – Se Vuol  Ballare

Mozart – Papageno, Papagena

3 July

Verdi – Tu che le vanita

Puccini – Nessun Dorma

Bizet – Pearl Fishers


2.30-3.45 Run 1st half without overture. Trombones arrive at 3.15pm

4.00 – 5.30 2nd Half run plus both overtures at the end.

The New 2014 Spring term

Dear musicians,

We are delighted that the new term is growing closer, and look forward to welcoming you for some more enjoyable music making!

Our first rehearsal of the term will take place next Thursday evening 9th January and our concert on 23rd March at our usual venue of the church of St Mary Magdalene, Munster Square. Our repertoire for the term will be:

Mozart Symphony number 40

Schostakovich Waltz from Jazz Suite No. 2
Mussorgsky PIctures at an Exhibition extracts

Please do have a look on the wonderful website and search for your part by clicking on browse scores, composers, then click on the part that you need from the ‘parts’ section. We will have printed music for the first rehearsal but we know how you like to have a quick run through in advance!

Looking forward to seeing you all again, hearing about your Festive adventures and welcoming new friends to the orchestra.

All best wishes, Abi & Thomas

What a wonderful evening!

Dear musicians,

We wanted to write to thank you not only for a wonderful evening but also for a wonderful term of hard work and excellent music making. We felt very lucky to be working with such a friendly and dedicated musical community. The audience were very excited by the performance and we have inspired some young people to start playing music which is a great achievement!

We would like to write and thank our fantastic soloists so if any of you have any favourite moments or words we might pass to them please do email them over.

Many thanks also to all our helpers on the day and to our opera expert and ‘cellist extraordinary Ted black for all of his help in organising and recruiting the cast. We are hoping to make opera an annual event as this one was such a great success!

Next term our concert is on Saturday November 30th and rehearsals start on Thursday 19th September running each week with a break for half term on 31st October. We will be playing Mendelssohn Hebrides overture, Beethoven’s 4th symphony and Schumann’s piano concerto.

Wishing you all a happy and sunny summer.

All best wishes and many thanks,

Abi and Thomas

Opera at the Chamber Academy!

Dear musicians and friends,

Congratulations on yet another super concert last term! How time has flown during Easter break. I hope you have all had a nice relaxing time and are ready to start the new term refreshed. This term will be a new and exciting experience for us all with our first full operatic concert. Drawing on the stage managing and operatic talents of Ted our lead cellist we will be putting on a concert version of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with a top cast and of course a top orchestra and conductor to match!

Rehearsals start on Thursday 25th April and run each week until our concert on July 6th. A rehearsal schedule is attached to give you an idea of the breakdown of rehearsals. Please note the cuts and have a listen to the numbers we will be performing if possible. It always helps me to know how things sound in advance!

Some of the ‘orchestra only’ sessions will involve sectionals so please do get in touch wind players and let me know if you had any sectional coach preferences. Feedback is always helpful for us to give you all the best musical experience possible. By popular demand we are inviting a professional sound engineer to record the concert for our own private listening pleasure as we have done in previous terms and C.D copies will be made available to members following the concert.

We are hiring the music for this term and are hoping to have this by late this coming week. If you would like a copy to look through before the first rehearsal on the 25th April please do get in touch and I’ll try to find a suitable time and place to hand the copies over.

We are very much looking forward to this exciting new challenge.

All best wishes, Abi & Thomas at the Chamber Academy

Term dates for Autumn 2013

The new term starts on Thursday 19th September with a lovely program of Mendelssohn’s evocative ‘Hebrides’ Overture, Schumann’s sumptuous piano concerto played by the wonderful pianist Sophia Lisovskaya.  The main item will be Beethoven’s 4th Symphony. The concert will be on Saturday 30th November and rehearsals will be at the usual time of 7.45-9.45pm each Thursday at St Mary Magdelene Church on Munster Square. If anyone has a friend who is interested in joining us this term please do ask them to get in touch so I am sure to have the right amount of music and biscuits ready for the first rehearsal!

All best wishes, Abi , Thomas and the CAO team

Welcome to the new site

Welcome to the new look CAO web site.

The site is intended as a means to put us out there for prospective new members to see as well as a place for Abi and Thomas to share news and rehearsal / concert schedules with current members.

You can sign-up to get your own account, which you can then use to subscribe so you will be automatically notified by email when new posts are uploaded and even leave your own  comments on specific posts.