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There’s an extraordinary, lyrical and emotive section in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ favourite (though seldom heard) oratorio, Sancta Civitas, when the melody from a solo violin soars bewitchingly around and above the choir. It recalls the composer’s best-known work, The Lark Ascending, which was written a few years earlier.

There’s a rare opportunity to hear that magical solo and the thrilling oratorio of which it is part this Saturday, 1st April, in London’s Cadogan Hall (, with the Thames Philharmonic Choir and Thames Festival Orchestra. Playing the solo is the new leader of the Orchestra, Alison Kelly, who takes over from the recently retired Adrian Levine.

Alison is a distinguished violinist: she studied at the Royal Academy of Music,where she won the Academy's highest award for violin. She studied with Ralph Holmes, Emanuel Hurwitz and Nelli Skolnikova, and her subsequent career included roles as director, soloist, leader, recitalist and chamber musician at major venues and festivals throughout the world. She has had a long association with orchestras such as English Classical Players, City of London Sinfonia, Northern Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Vivaldi Concertante, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and more recently with the London Philharmonic. She has been co-leader of the Thames Festival Orchestra with Adrian Levine for some years. In 1998, Alison was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Alison was a founder member of Britannia Chamber Players, Viva Piano Trio, Docklands Sinfonietta, Triangulus, Fairfield String Quartet, Pro Arte String Trio, Corinium Trio and English Classical Players. She is on the soundtrack of Phantom of the Opera and several films, has recorded with Chandos, Meridian, Emi, Decca, Deutsche Gramophon and Linn Records, and broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.

THE CONCERT also features the unique, lively and tuneful Messa di Gloria, by Puccini - he moved rapidly on to working on operas such as La Boheme and Madame Butterfly. After its highly acclaimed first performance in 1880, Messa di Gloria wasn't heard again until 1952, as Puccini didn't get around to publishing the score.

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