May update from Cambridge Philharmonic

We hope you are keeping well and making up for the complete lack of live classical music with the wealth of material available online and on the radio – from Radio 3 and Classic FM to YouTube and Operavore.

If you are an opera buff there is an enormous choice of free live streaming of productions from Covent Garden, The Met in New York and Vienna State Opera  whilst for fans of orchestral music, the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra (amongst many others) are generously offering online concerts for no charge.


Lockdown struck just as we were to begin rehearsing for our 23 May concert – The Bells (Bartok Dance Suite, Rachmaninov Three Russian Songs, Mussorsky Songs and Dances of Death and Rachmaninov The Bells). Sadly we have had to cancel this concert and we continue to consider carefully the time at which a return to public performances will be safe for our musicians and our audience alike.

Our Music Director Tim Redmond is currently planning our 2020/21 season. As ever he has some truly imaginative ideas and we look forward to sharing them in due course!


Usually, the Phil Orchestra rehearses on Monday evenings and the Chorus on Tuesday. Even though we can’t get together in person right now, during lockdown we have continued to meet every week via Zoom for a series we’ve called In Conversation. Tim has devised a fascinating series of on-line interviews and discussions with orchestra musicians, opera singers, international soloists and broadcasters.

Guests so far have included Fraser Gordon, contrabassoonist of the RPO, Tony Alcock, principal double bass of the CBSO, Tim Jackson, principal horn of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and violinist superstar Matthew Trussler – a regular soloist with the Cambridge Phil. The chorus have met conductor and Radio 3 favourite Jeremy Summerly, distinguished ensemble singer Gwen Martin and the celebrated tenor Ben Johnson – all of whom have proved most entertaining raconteurs! The relaxed interview format, led by our chorus master, Tom Primrose, leader Paula Muldoon, principal cellist Joshua Lynch and our maestro, Tim, has proved popular with guests and online audience alike.

All very refreshing and valuable, I’m sure you’ll agree – and we have plans to make some of our future interviews available to our online audience as well.


As many of you know, Tim Redmond will leave us at the end of the 2020/21 season after 15 years. Tim is an inspiration and has turned the Phil into one of the leading Societies of its kind in the UK. We have been overwhelmed by the quantity and calibre of applications for the post.

The plan is that each person on the shortlist will be asked to conduct a Phil concert next season giving Members of the Society and our audience the chance to have a voice in who we appoint, whilst Tim will conduct all the other concerts including a grand finale in July.


We are using this time between concerts to refresh our Friends of the Philharmonic and we look forward to welcoming even more people into the scheme in time for next season. We’ll be increasing the benefits we offer, including a personalised concert experience and the chance to get to know some of our amazing musicians and guest artists even better. Like all arts organisations with charitable status, we derive our income from many sources – including ticket sales, business sponsorship and the support of many individuals. We look forward to telling you more about how, as a Friend of the Philharmonic, you can be a part of this extraordinary organisation and in the process help ensure we can continue to be as ambitious and musical adventurous as ever.

It goes without saying that you, our Phil supporters, are a vital part of our music making. We miss the chance to see you in person at our concerts, but we hope that you have enjoyed this brief Newsletter: the first of what will be a series.

If you have any ideas of what you would like to hear about from the Phil do please let us know. In the meantime we hope you keep well and are enjoying lockdown music at home!