Chapel composition premieres at centenary concert

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A composition commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the University chapel will be premiered at a special concert for staff, students and the public on Friday 5 June.

Three Gloucestershire Dances, composed by former student Douglas Coombes will receive its world premiere as part of the programme, which features the Prince of Wales Brass Ensemble and soloists, Eduardo Vassello and Fiona Brown.

Doug Coombes was the musical director and consultant for the BBC’s recent Songs of Praise competition to find the senior and junior school choirs of the year and conducted at the TV celebratory concerts.

Coombes read music at the Unviersity’s predecessor college, St Paul’s and studied composing and conducting at Dartington College of the Arts in Devon. He has conducted many of the UK’s leading orchestras including The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Scottish Chamber, The London Concert, the BBC Welsh and the Manchester Sinfonietta. A prolific composer whose output includes two symphonies, a requiem, five masses, an Easter Oratoriao, three operas, two ballets, orchestral music, songs and music for children, his new composition for the University of Gloucestershire is based on three traditional Gloucestershire dances.

The Prince of Wales Brass Ensemble consists of 11 musicians from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO.) Under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and currently Andris Nelson, the Orchestra has developed a world-wide reputation. The Ensemble have reached a nationwide audience with performances on Channel 4, Classic FM and Radio 2. They will play recognisable favourites including Procession of the Nobles by Rimsky Korsakov, Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No 8 and Send in the Clowns by Sondheim.

Cellist Eduardo Vassello has been principal cellist with the CBSO since 1989 and co-founded the Birmingham Ensemble. As a soloist, he has given recitals throughout Europe and South America, and is a regular guest lead in the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fiona Brown was an organ scholar at Trinity Hall and Homerton College, Cambridge and has taught music at Repton School and the Cheltenham Ladies College. She is the director of music at St Peter’s church, Winchcombe.

The chapel was built by architects Hodgson Fowler and a service was held on 19 March to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone by the Bishop of Gloucester in 1909. The centenary concert is one of a number of celebratory events taking place throughout the year. Many memorials to former staff and students, including those who lost their lives in the world wars are to be found in the chapel.

University chaplain, Rev Tamsin Merchant said, “To have a unique composition written for the occasion by such a prolific composer as Douglas Coombes is a wonderful tribute. We extend a warm welcome to our former students and staff and local people to join us for what promises to be a stirring evening of musical excellence.”

Money raised by the concert will contribute to the Chapel Centenary Fund which raises money to support refurbishments to the chapel, the work of the chaplaincy team and the University’s Sport Malawi project which is led by the chaplaincy in conjunction with students on the MA course in Sport and Christian Outreach.

The concert is open to all. Tickets cost £12.50, and are available from the University’s online store. To purchase, visit and click on the link for chapel concert tickets. Alternatively email [email protected] or call 01242 714515 for more information.

Friday 5 June 2009 7.30pm, University of Gloucestershire Chapel, Francis Close Hall campus, Swindon Road, GL52 4AZ Tickets £12.50 Tel: 01242 714515

Source: University of Gloucestershire

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