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Bewick Orchestra Concert

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Bewick Orchestra Concert

16 Oct 2021

Bewick Orchestra Concert

Richard Strauss - Horn Concerto

Bizet - Symphony in C

Tickets £10  (under 18s free): Available from Morpeth Tourist Information Centre (The Chantry: 01670 623455). Tickets will also be available on the door if not sold out - though social distancing restrictions limit the the capacity of the venue.

The Bewick Orchestra is coming out of hibernation of nearly two years to continue its series of charity concerts with another attractive programme and welcomes Chris Griffiths as soloist in the first horn concerto by Richard Strauss. The concert, originally planned for May 2020, also includes the rarely heard overture 'King Stephen' by Beethoven and one of the most joyful symphonies ever written - Bizet's Symphony in C. Conductor for the concert will be Robin Forbes, Head of Music at the King Edward VI School in Morpeth.

The chosen charity this time is a little-known but vitally important one supporting those who suffer from CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease), a genetic condition that damages peripheral nerves, which is sometimes better known as Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathy. Because of the nerve damage it causes, people with CMT may find that their muscles, particularly in their feet and hands, become weaker over the years.

Our soloist, Chris Griffiths, suffers from this disease and 12 years ago elected to undergo bi-lateral, below-knee amputations to remedy the crippling effects of the disease. 

On the positive side, he recalls that it was almost by chance that he originally took up the horn at the age of eleven. If it had been any other instrument, he probably would be unable to continue playing as he does now. 

As he points out, "With the horn, you really only need three fingers for dexterity of movement around the instrument. The other crucial aspects, embouchure and breath support muscles are unaffected by the disease.” 

Chris receives support from “Help Musicians”, the Royal Society of Musicians, the Paraorchestra, Motability and Access to Work. 

He is well-known locally, having played with Royal Northern Sinfonia for over 25 years and has conducted many performances of the “Cobweb Orchestra” of which he was co-founder.

Chris studied French Horn with the late Barry Tuckwell at the Royal Academy of Music and was appointed Principal Horn with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. During his time in Scotland he played with every music ensemble and orchestra in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Since leaving Royal Northern Sinfonia, he continues to appear with orchestras and groups throughout the UK including the British Paraorchestra.

The Bewick Orchestra, based in Morpeth, was formed in 1994 by Michael and Sarah Doswell and conducted by Michael for 20 years. Sarah still runs the orchestra with help from members and plays in the cello section. Members come from throughout the region and give their time freely for rehearsals and the concerts.