Monday 15 January 2018
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor
Tippett A Child of Our Time
Edward Gardner conducts a glittering line-up of stars including violinist Hilary Hahn, and singers Sophie Bevan, Alice Coote, Toby Spence and Brindley Sherratt with Members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir & Friends, in a concert to raise money for the Refugee Council’s Children’s Section
A host of leading artists from the world of classical music are mounting a major performance of Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at London’s Royal Festival Hall to raise funds for the Refugee Council and their work with unaccompanied children arriving in Britain having fled war, trafficking and persecution.
Well over 3,000 children sought refuge in the UK in 2016. These children were forced to flee their homes due to conflict, political instability or persecution and arrived in UK completely alone. The Refugee Council’s Children’s Section works to safeguard and improve the lives of these children in England and this concert – the brainchild of classical music professionals Tamzin Aitken and Libby Papakyriacou – has been devised especially to support its work. All of the musicians and concert organisers are giving their time and energy to this cause for free.
Having opened the BBC Proms in 2017, Edward Gardner leads a stellar ensemble including multi-award winning violinist Hilary Hahn performing Mendelssohn’s much-loved Violin Concerto. Then, four of Britain’s most celebrated singers, Sophie Bevan, Alice Coote, Toby Spence and Brindley Sherratt, join the specially-assembled choir and orchestra to perform Tippett’s A Child of Our Time. Written as a response to the atrocities of World War Two, this extraordinary music recognises the power of oppression while ultimately offering a message of hope and reconciliation. Special guest Judith Kerr joins to read a short excerpt from one of her books.
Edward Gardner says: “People often talk about the power of music to change lives, so it’s great to have the opportunity to put our skills on the concert stage to use for such an excellent cause. It's heart breaking to consider the depth of trauma and the challenges endured by so many child refugees through no fault of their own and I’m pleased to be involved in something that may make some difference to their lives. I’m delighted to be joined by such a world-class set of musicians to create what we hope will be a poignant response to these children’s experiences, and a way to raise money and support the Refugee Council’s Children’s Services.”
Toby Spence says: “We live in a world where dire consequences force people to leave their homelands, risk their lives and trust in the kindness of others to help them find a better life. A Child of Our Time is a work about humanity's strength to prevail in hard times. I'm honoured to sing in this concert, to do my bit and to show that we care.”
Tamzin Aitken and Libby Papakyriacou, concert producers, say: “The idea for this concert was born out of an increasing frustration at feeling powerless to positively impact the extraordinary and growing plight of refugees the world over. Music can be transformative at a personal level and at the level of community. Given our mutual professional experience we both felt we had a responsibility to try to harness this transformative power and contribute more than just concern to this growing challenge. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone we have approached to be involved in this concert – from the classical music community and beyond. We are inspired and humbled by the work of the Refugee Council and the positive difference they are making in the lives of refugees. We are hugely grateful to be able to help make a contribution to their invaluable work in this way, and especially grateful to the commitment of all of the artists involved in this concert.”
Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, says: “We are thrilled to be the beneficiaries of this incredibly special and very exciting concert. A Child of Our Time promises to be a wonderful evening that showcases classical music at its finest, at the same time as raising essential funds in aid of our vital work with child refugees in the UK. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has worked so hard and so generously to make this event possible and we are looking forward to what will surely be a singular night at the Royal Festival Hall next January.”