Concertante Press Release

DECO ConcertanteLichfield’s Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra takes to the stage in the wonderful surroundings of Lichfield Cathedral on Saturday 24 October at 7.30pm for an uplifting evening of music by Haydn and Mozart.

Entitled Concertante, several of DECO’s musicians will be stepping into the limelight as soloists in a pair of works with intriguing stories attached. The programme opens with Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon, written in competition with a rival composer in eighteenth-century London’s lively concert scene. Mozart’s work of the same name for violin and viola, which originally demanded the viola’s strings to be tuned a semitone higher than normal, will close the concert. Those taking to the stage as soloists include DECO’s artistic director Alex Laing, cellist Jane Salmon and oboeist George Caird, all of whom have made well-received solo appearances with the Orchestra in recent years.

Completing the programme, conductor Philip Scriven will treat the audience to Haydn’s rousing Symphony No. 73 ‘The Hunt’, written in 1781 by the older Haydn immediately after meeting a young Mozart.

Now in its seventh year, and with performances on national radio and with international soloists under its belt as well as frequent appearances with other local groups, this concert is testament to the friendly ethos at DECO’s heart. With opportunities aplenty for its own musicians to shine, and at least one very talented Lichfield teenager amongst the Orchestra’s ranks, it’s a spirit which shines through in top quality music-making.

“These professional musicians play together with an affection that makes every concert feel like you’re listening to a group of friends sharing something they love.”

                                                                             Lichfield Mercury, May 2013

Concertante, Saturday 24 October at 7.30pm in Lichfield Cathedral

To book tickets: visit Lichfield Cathedral Shop, 9 The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD in person, call 01543 306150 or email

Prices: £16/£14 adults; £5 children (reserved numbered seats in the nave) £12 adults; £4 children (unreserved seats in the side aisles) NO CONCESSIONS


You can download the PDF of this press release by clicking here.

Notes to editor:

  • The Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra was founded by artistic director Alex Laing in 2009. As well as performing, Alex is committed to passing the love of music to the next generation. He is currently Head of Strings at Uppingham School, teaches violin at the Royal College of Music’s Junior Department, and works with the National Children’s Orchestra as conductor of their East region orchestra and a violin tutor on their national courses.
  • DECO’s principal conductor is Philip Scriven, now Organist in Residence at Cranleigh School in Surrey, and formerly Organist and Master of the Choristers at Lichfield Cathedral.
  • DECO gratefully acknowledges valuable support from the Kathleen Hannay Memorial Trust and the Arimathea Charitable Trust. For interviews, quotes or further information please contact:
  • Meredith Laing • Tel.: 07796 617666 • Email:

An Evening of Bach Review

DECO_EveningofBach_A5-1THE Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra has always felt like a family affair.

These professional musicians play together with an affection that makes every concert feel like you’re listening to a group of friends sharing something they love.

With the orchestra slimmed down to just ten players and performing standing up, the all-Bach concert on Saturday, May 11, directed by Philip Scriven, took that experience to a new level.

And the family feeling was literal in the centrepiece of the concert as DECO’s artistic director, violinist Alex Laing, joined his uncle, oboist and former Birmingham Conservatoire principal George Caird in Bach’s double concerto BWV 1060.

It was a delightful pairing; Caird’s lyrical sound providing a lovely foil to Laing’s gutsy tone.

Framing the concerto were two nicely-contrasted solo cantatas, each performed by a Lichfield Cathedral extended musical family member.

Francis Ambrose was wonderfully expressive in “Ich Habe Genug” bringing both light and shade to the sombre (and tongue-twisting) text.

And Harriet Hunter managed to combine vocal exuberance with poise in the joyous “Wedding Cantata”.

Judging from the alert and colourful accompaniments, her colleagues found it infectious.


by Richard Bratby