Could Elgar have composed any of his violin concerto in Hull?

We’ll be performing hugely contrasting masterpieces on November 30 at Hull City Hall to illustrate the breadth of genius in early 20th Century classical music composition.

Stravinsky’s ballet suite, The Firebird, and Elgar’s Violin Concerto, both premiered in 1910, and will treat our audience members to a journey in sound, when we’ll be joined by acclaimed young violin virtuoso Callum Smart.

It is not generally known that Sir Edward Elgar conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in Hull late in 1909 when he stayed at the Royal Station Hotel, subsequently writing that he ‘had a great ovation and success’.

The Hull Philharmonic’s musical director Andrew Penny MBE said: “His violin concerto was near completion when he came to Hull on October 26, 1909, and it is entirely reasonable to believe that it was on his mind as he would have been putting the finishing touches to it at this time.

“Admittedly, it is a fanciful notion, but we love to establish a Hull connection to our concerts.

“Sir Edward Elgar was an English gentleman at the height of his powers when he began his violin concerto at the same time Igor Stravinsky composed one of his three major ballets, The Firebird. The suite that most orchestras play from The Firebird, is the 1919 version, so this year celebrates the centenary of this gorgeous, melodic and exciting piece.”

Soloist in our concerto, twenty-three-year-old Callum Smart, won the strings category of the 2010 BBC Young Musician competition and has gone on to perform with leading orchestras in the UK and globally. He performed with the Hull Philharmonic in 2015 and 2017.

Andrew Penny added: “He is a young and popular performer at our concerts who has studied the concerto following my suggestion two years ago that it might suit him. His enthusiasm for the idea has led to this third return visit.”

Continuing the Elgar theme, we will start the concert with the composer’s view of London Town in his overture Cockaigne. Elgar dedicated this piece to ‘members of British orchestras’, a typical gesture of kindness by a composer universally admired by those musicians.

The concert starts at 7.30pm, but ticket holders are invited to attend a pre-concert talk with Andrew Penny and Callum Smart at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced from £10 to £28.50 (discounts available) from Hull City Hall box office, 01482 300306 or online at or

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Posted on 12th Nov 2019 14:17:38 by

Tags: violin concerto.