Talk of The Town: enSemble 26 Orchestra hitting the right notes in the community

BY JAMES TWOMEY

An orchestra group who want to bring affordable classical music to their local area have a string of concerts coming up this week.

enSEmble 26 are a Sydenham-based chamber orchestra of three friends who perform in venues across SE26 and on June 10-15 they will play four shows at St John the Evangelist Church.

Eleanor Meynell, the pianist of the group, said: “We are professional musicians living locally who love to play classical chamber music together.

“We invite other wonderful instrumentalists to join us as our concerts are always made up of pieces with different combinations of instruments.

“Our dream is to be able to play all over SE26 and the surrounding areas – really anywhere that’s large enough and has a piano.”

Eleanor Meynell and Ellie Fagg, enSemble26 

Eleanor is joined by two friends Ellie Fagg and Tom Norris – who formed their plan in a supermarket – and realised they shared the same dream of creating a platform for great chamber music within their community in Sydenham.

Eleanor went to music school with Tom, a violinist, who is married to Ellie, the other violinist, and both Tom and Ellie performed for the London Symphony Orchestra.

The three are the core members of the group and play alongside a changing line-up of musicians which changes for each concert.

Eleanor said: “Our programmes generally consist of music that we all really love so it is often the case that we have played the pieces before but, as enSEmble 26 is always changing in personnel, it’s really important for us to spend lots of time together in each formation so that we can all feel comfortable and explore the music in the same way.

“There are many professional musicians living here who play with the top London orchestras and chamber groups so it’s nice for them to play in a local concert!”

enSemble 26 have already played around venues in SE26 and want to keep things local and make classical music accessible to those in the area.

Eleanor said: “We’ve done concerts at St Bartholomew’s church and at St Christopher’s Hospice and in June we are performing a series of concerts at St John the Evangelist church, Upper Norwood where I keep my concert grand Steinway.

“We want to bring high quality chamber music to our local community so that music lovers don’t necessarily have to travel into London and so that it’s easier for prospective music lovers to come and see what it’s all about!

“We’re hoping to do smaller ensemble concerts involving just strings in alternative venues such as wine bars and cafes in order to widen our reach into the community.

“In short, we just want to share our love of great music with our friends and neighbours.

We also want to use the concerts as a springboard to reach out to young people and local schools and bring high quality classical music to them too.”

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