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Eleanor Alberga’s 70th birthday celebrations

12 Sep 2019

 Eleanor Alberga’s 70th birthday celebrations culminate in a performance of Roald Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Barbican Hall

On Monday 23 September 2019 | Barbican, London

  • Narrated by Simon Callow CBE
  • Dance elements choreographed by Mark Baldwin OBE and performed by students of Elmhurst Ballet School

Media release: 10 September 2019 – Elmhurst Ballet School join forces with London’s premier youth orchestra, The London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) to celebrate composer Eleanor Alberga’s 70th birthday in a performance of her musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first presented in London 25 years ago by the London Philharmonic and Franz Welser-Möst.

The orchestra recently toured the piece without dancers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and presents the performance at the Barbican Hall in London on 23 September 2019.

For this performance, acclaimed actor, writer and director Simon Callow CBE narrates, and students of Elmhurst Ballet School perform the dance elements by multi award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin OBE.

Mark Baldwin said: “The London Schools Symphony Orchestra are amazing, the energetic sound of youthful enthusiasm mixed with the personality and expert grace of the Elmhurst Ballet School dancers is irresistible. Eleanor Alberga’s music is so exciting and punchy; at turns rapid, spooky, delicate, wicked and celebratory. I appreciate that here we have an exceptionally good score for dance.

The evening marks a welcome return to Alberga’s colourful and exhilarating score for LSSO Artistic Director Peter Ash, who recorded the work for the record label Orchid Classics alongside an all-star cast of narrators including Joanna Lumley, Griff Rhys Jones and Danny DeVito.

Peter Ash commented: “I think Snow White is one of the most exciting and brilliant orchestral works produced in the last 25 years. It’s complex – perhaps more technically complex than anything the LSSO have previously attempted – yet the piece has a charm, ease and infectious joy that delights any first-time listener. There’s nothing in the repertoire quite like it and it deserves to be as well-known as Peter and the Wolf.

Jamaican-born Eleanor Alberga is one of the most fascinating composers at work today, with a palette of sounds that ranges from African and Jamaican dance rhythms to the sophistication of Debussy and Berg. Recent works include her Arise Athena!, which was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop at the Last Night of the Proms 2015. Her opera, Letters of a Love Betrayed, received its premiere at London’s Royal Opera House. She also worked with The London Contemporary Dance Theatre as their Musical Director, before founding the Arcadia festival with husband, the violinist Thomas Bowes.

Alberga commented on her birthday celebrations with the LSSO: “I am thrilled that the LSSO under the very talented baton of Peter Ash will be performing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It will be a wonderful treat for my birthday. I have such fond memories of this collaboration 25 years ago.”

The LSSO presents three Barbican concerts plus a summer tour every year. Courses run during the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays, comprising intensive rehearsals and coaching by London’s top orchestral musicians. The orchestra is generously sponsored by the City of London Corporation and managed by the Centre for Young Musicians, a Division of the Guildhall School, as part of the Guildhall Young Artists Programme.