Even less colour 17th Sept Apollo mock up

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A unique sound wave sculpture spearheads the final stage of St George’s Bristol capital fundraising appeal Building a Sound Future.

St George’s Bristol has secured the support of two world leading artists to create a stunning unique glass sound wave sculpture as the focus of attention for the final stage of its major capital development project Building a Sound Future. Commissioned by St George’s, the sculpture, titled Apollo (for the Greek God of Music) will hang as the centrepiece of the concert hall’s new extension.  Designed by internationally recognised Bristol based installation artist Luke Jerram and based on a musical score composed by Philip Glass, Apollo consists of 100 glass roundels, each one associated with an individual donor to St George’s capital appeal.

To read the story of Apollo in full, and to find out how you can support the sculpture, head over to the Building a Sound Future mirco-site.



Apollo poster4

Artist impression of ‘Apollo’ in situ

Posted by & filed under The Music.

It’s wonderful to have her back! Here Catrin Finch answers our questions before her concert on Friday 9 October.


You most recently performed at St George’s with Seckou Keita, our audiences LOVED the concert we got some amazing feedback. What makes a good musical collaboration?

The main thing that makes a good collaboration, I think, is mutual respect for each other as musicians, an open mind to new ideas, and of course good ears for listening! Collaborations are never guaranteed to work, and more often than not after a few performances, musicians will part their ways and continue as they were. With this partnership it was different and obvious from the very beginning of working with Seckou that we had that unknown musical link and willingness to make it work, and with some patience, dedication to the project and a lot of respect for each other’s cultures and musical upbringings, it developed into the collaboration that you see continue to see today.

How do you find St George’s as a venue, and Bristol audiences?

I love St George’s Bristol, and it is always a great pleasure to come and play for your audiences there. It has a special atmosphere, and is a little gem of a concert venue!

How is performing solo with your own band different, is it more nerve-racking or do you feel more liberated?

It’s not that much different from performing my normal classical shows to be honest. As it’s mostly music I have composed there is a slightly different feel to it, and yes, it is a little more liberating for me to do and play as I wish to some extent, and there is a strong element of improvisation. But I have always performed a big spectrum of different musical genres, and so I guess it’s a fusion of all these genres and musical experiences. I play quite a bit of piano and sing a bit also in the show, so that side of it is certainly different and new for me …. and yes, makes it a little more nerve-racking than just playing my harp!!

You are performing pieces from your exquisite solo album Tides, what inspired you in the writing of it and how long did it take to complete?

I started writing a few years ago and have very much enjoyed developing a style of music and the freedom to put down in dots what I am thinking and feeling!! I worked on the album over a period of probably about 6 months. I’m lucky that I have access to a studio pretty much on demand, and so when I had some down time from performing I would spend it working on ideas and developing them with my producer Lee House. It was a most enjoyable process and we had no deadlines at the time, so I didn’t ever feel the pressure of having to complete by a certain time. Composing is a sideline at the moment to my performing career, but I hope at some point to be able to invest a little more time in it and do more of it!!

You have gifted the track Changing Tides to Water Aid, tell us what attracted you to this charity and what you hope the funds will achieve.

I very much admire the work of WaterAid, and as this album had it’s inspiration from where I grew up by the sea, and the idea of water, it seemed fitting that we should work with them on this album release. I had the humbling experience of going to see the work they do in communities in Ethiopia back in February, and I take from the trip memories and experiences that I will never forget, and met the most inspiring people.

You have started your own record label and released Tides under it. Why did you do this, are you looking to sign other artists to the label?

I started my own label because we have our own studio facility and so it was easy to set up. We are since releasing another album by the soprano Shan Cothi at the end of October, and hope to build it from here. Let’s wait and see what happens!!

Could you recommend some music for our Autumn playlist In The Moment, this list is inspired by the music that takes us to a special place and makes the world melt away!

Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto; Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Song to the Moon from Rusalska, by Dvorak.

Click here to book tickets



Posted by & filed under Learn with us.


We are delighted to announce that St George’s Bristol is now an official ‘Children’s University Learning Destination’ Hooray!

What does this mean?

When children aged 5 – 14 come to events here, they can now gain credits towards a Children’s University graduation, celebrating the learning that they are involved with outside of school.

What is the Children’s University?

The Children’s University (CU) is a trust that believes children can learn when doing all sorts of activities, that children learn best when they decide what they want to learn, when and where and most importantly, have FUN whilst learning.

The CU provides and signposts opportunities to take part in exciting and creative learning outside of the normal school day. Activities can be before school, during play and lunchtimes, after school, at weekends and during the school holidays.

You can work through lots of CU Award levels. Starting with your Bronze Award for 30 hours of CU Learning Activities up to a Gold Fellowship Award for 1,000 hours.

You might see children at the venue with their learning passports. Which look like this…

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To get your passport stamped, just ask the lovely people in our box office. They have two special Children’s University stamps ready for your visit. If you forgets to bring your passport, don’t worry. We can stamp and date a piece of St George’s notepaper for you to stick in at home, so you will still get your credits.

Look out for this badge on our family events…


For more information about Children’s University please visit their website by clicking here

Celebrating your achievements is very important to everyone at St George’s Bristol so we would love to hear about how you are getting on with your CU awards. you can get in touch by emailing our Education Manager Laura Tanner at Laura.Tanner@stgeorgesbristol.co.uk

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Emily Wright
Tammy Payne
Katya Gorrie
Nadine Gingell
Lucy Moon
Molly King
Victoria Klewin

The George Cooper Trio:
George Cooper  piano
Will Harris  bass
Matt Brown  drums

Seven of Bristol’s very best female vocalists join forces for this special show commemorating the legacy of Jazz Dames like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan.

Backed by the George Cooper Trio – Emily Wright, Tammy Payne, Katya Gorrie, Nadine Gingell, Lucy Moon, Molly King and Victoria Klewin will perform classics from jazz’s ‘Golden Age’ when nightclubs and concert halls reverberated to the sounds of the Great American Songbook.

The glorious, natural acoustics of St George’s will provide the perfect setting for this powerful, yet intimate performance where each of our guest vocalists will choose three songs associated with the great Jazz Dames.

This is a unique opportunity to hear some of Bristol’s finest vocalists – each a star in her own right – perform together for the first time.

This special concert will also see the official launch of Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival’s 2016 line-up.




Posted by & filed under Cosmos, Learn with us.

Wow – what a fantastic first rehearsal at Cosmos! Last Thursday we welcomed 33 singers into the small hall at Knowle Park, and were delighted to hear some old and new voices. Everyone present was engaged, and worked very hard to learn two new songs. After some vocal warmups, we started begun work on some old favourites including the theme from the James Bond film Goldfinger, and Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, which I’m sure some of you will remember from the Disney film Song of the South.

We will be starting on some new numbers this week (which I’ll reveal in my next post), and we are hoping for the same amount of enthusiasm as we had last week! Additionally this, we’re going to start harmonising the pieces we learned last week, which will be a fun and rewarding challenge!

This week we will also be handing out Cosmos folders, which will be for children to put their word sheets in. Singers, please make sure you bring these to rehearsal! If you do, there will be special Cosmos stickers available for you at the following rehearsal.

Signing off from Cosmos HQ,


Click here for last week’s blog!

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Kathryn Price cello
Charles Matthews pianoforte

Debussy Sonate pour Violoncelle et Pianoforte
Chopin Nocturne in C# minor, Op Post
Schubert Sonata ‘Arpeggione’
Rachmaninov Sonata in G minor, Op 19

Kathryn Price and Charles Matthews have received widespread international critical acclaim for their long established cello and piano duo, and their double-memorised recital work together.

They return to St. George’s, Bristol, for another memorised programme, including sonatas by Debussy, Schubert and Rachmaninov.

Posted by & filed under The Music.


An Interview with Barb Jungr…

Barb Jungr is one of the UK’s most acclaimed music exports, enjoying great success on both sides of the Atlantic.  The Rochdale-born chanteuse is a captivating performer and we’re thrilled to be welcoming her back to St George’s this month for an evening of songs by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.  Barb is famous for her sass, style, vocal pyrotechnics and an amazing talent for teasing out meanings from poetic lyrics that other singers can’t even guess at. We caught a few minutes with her recently to talk music, returning to Bristol and politics.

You talk a lot about songs telling stories, what can we learn from the stories of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen?

Well we learn a lot about their deep seated morality, about their relationship to religion and to humanity. To masculinity and to manhood, and conversely therefore to the feminine. They both approach the world from a very different poetic/lyrical stance but they have drunk, in their own personal histories, from the same well.

What drew you to these artists?

They are for me some of the greatest writers of popular song of the last 100 years. Post Great American songbook they redefined the songbook and the song, and of the relationship of the songwriter to the material. They are not alone in this of course, but as they were in the first wave they are seminal and for me, have never been equaled – like many of their peers. I’d include Mitchell in that, and of course Jimmy Webb, Neil Diamond and more.

Will you be performing the songs live in the order on the album? How do you decide the order that the songs should go in?

No. Live is so different in terms of the story from the album. I still assume – because of the generation I am from – that people listen to albums in the order of the songs, consequently on an album I order the narrative of the songs in a particular arc. But live we are performing the songs and the narrative becomes a different one though the songs are in the same arrangements. I love ordering the albums, and the shows – but its always tricky! And of course you think about pace and keys and dynamics. They all play a role.

You’ve played St George’s before, do you remember the venue and have you performed anywhere else in Bristol?

I love St George’s, its a great venue and the sound is wonderful there. I’ve played in the theatre in town, the big one when I toured with Julian Clary all those years ago in The Spectaculars, and also the smaller theatre some time ago, and the Tobacco Factory, Bristol has a great live music scene and a great music audience. I’m thrilled to be back at St George’s and really looking forward to singing this material there.

What is your favourite venue to perform in and why?

Oh I love so many – I’ve always loved the Purcell Room in the South Bank Centre in London, and I love playing at The Town Hall in New York – legendary venue, you stand on a stage that has hosted some of the greatest names in live music ever there. I loved playing Cafe Carlyle in New York for much the same reason, and did 2 seasons there. Every venue is special if the night is right and the sound is good and the audience is with you.

You are very popular internationally, in New York in particular, what are the audiences like over there and do you change your performance in any way to suit the different audiences?

No I don’t change anything for different countries. I assume they want to come for the same reasons people come everywhere else. We give them the best music and song we can give on a  given night. I’ve been really fortunate in working in the USA and they’ve been gorgeous to me.

Unlike many artists you don’t shy away from political engagement, what issues concern you presently?

Where would I start! Housing is a big bugbear for me as I live on a Peabody Estate and have watched local communities being eroded by changing housing laws and greed in Central London. Health and education, of course. Foreign policy, Fracking. War. This list will be endless. I am a libertarian humanitarian, with socialist leaning. I want better for more, because I think a fairer society is a safer, more productive and kinder society. I grew up in the sixties and early seventies and I suspect that the possibility of a better world seemed closer then. I would like that for the young now. Worldwide.

Corbyn, Cooper, Burnham or Kendall?

I have voted. And from the above you will know for whom. It certainly wasn’t for Kendall.

What are you looking forward to?

I look forward to singing every time I can do it. I am looking forward to performing the new album in the US later this month for PBS television. I’m looking forward to all the new projects I’m doing and all the ones already there that I’m out playing. I had a seriously traumatic time over the last decade where I lost nearly all of my immediate family, my best friend of 40 years, my ex husband and his mother, my 20 year musical collaborator and more. It was chastening. I look forward to every single day.


Barb Jungr is performing at St George’s on Friday 25 September…



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An Inside View of the Syrian Revolution

Diana Darke, an Arabic speaker with over 30 years’ experience of living and working in the Middle East, is the author of ‘My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Revolution’. Those who have read it will testify that it is a remarkable book, giving human context to the Revolution and explaining the extraordinary complexities of Syrian society.

During this illustrated event, she will share her strongly held belief that neglect of the personal dimension in the Syrian crisis has led to refugees quite literally washing up on the shores of Europe. She will also speak about Palmyra and other cultural heritage sites throughout Syria, arguing that Syrian identity and cultural heritage are inextricably linked.

With the ongoing Syrian crisis a daily headline, but public perceptions finally changing, Diana has become a regular contributor to BBC news programmes. The event will end with an open Q&A session in which she will also address issues relating to the broader political situation.

Promoted by St George’s Bristol in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas


Proceeds from this event will go to both Syria Relief and The Said Foundation


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with Joshua Bishop and Caitlin Alais Callahan

Continuing on from their success earlier in the year, Crash Bang Workshops are back for a second season at St George’s. Josh and Caitlin bring you more tantalizing rhythms from around the world! Come and join then for five sessions, starting with a spooky Hallowe’en special. No prior musical experience is required for any of the sessions, and we guarantee that you’ll be drumming, dancing and desperate to come back!



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with Joshua Bishop and Caitlin Alais Callahan

Continuing on from their success earlier in the year, Crash Bang Workshops are back for a second season at St George’s. Josh and Caitlin bring you more tantalizing rhythms from around the world! Come and join then for five sessions, starting with a spooky Hallowe’en special. No prior musical experience is required for any of the sessions, and we guarantee that you’ll be drumming, dancing and desperate to come back!