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An Evening in Fairyland

Guest conductor Ellie Slorach talks about the Passenger Seats Fairy Tales programme.


Putting the programme together was quite simple – I love a themed concert, and I really wanted to do the Ravel ‘Mother Goose’ suite; this concert includes some of my very favourite music. The Fairy Tales idea easily generates a programme, and one perfect for the Passenger Seats format,

which is designed to attract a wide audience including families and children.


The piece everyone is wondering about, however, is the Grace-Evangeline Mason, ‘The Imagined Forest’. One reason for choosing it was to include very recently written new music for the players to get stuck into and, hopefully, a fresh new listening experience for our audience.


Another reason is that I have a close personal connection with this piece. But

above all, it’s in because the forest in question is the archetypal fairy tale setting.

The piece was a BBC commission for the Proms in 2021, performed by the Royal Liverpool

Philharmonic Orchestra. You can listen to it here:



Grace and I were at the Royal Northern College of Music at the same time and I have

conducted several of her works over the years. Then I actually conducted the very first RLPO

play-through of ‘The Imagined Forest’, as the conductor, Domingo Hindoyan, was unable to

be there. Those were strange times, just post-pandemic, and the orchestra was spaced out

in a huge hall. And here was this magical, evocative music. You can read Grace’s programme notes here.


They describe an enchanted landscape, ever-changing, with light effects, animals rustling in

the undergrowth, and dreamlike experiences. It’s well worth reading these notes, and

looking at some of the work by the artist who inspired the piece.


I am grateful to Hallam Sinfonia for inviting me back, and giving me the opportunity to

present this wonderful programme. Come along and spend the evening with a procession of

well-loved memorable characters, including Beauty and the Beast, Tom Thumb, Hansel and

Gretel, the Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. If we can find our way out of the forest, we’ll all

go to the ball!


Ellie Slorach and Hallam Sinfonia perform Fairy Tales: A Passenger Seats Concert on Saturday 29 June at 7.00pm, at High Storrs School. Tickets available here - arrive early to sit near the section of the orchestra you'd most like to!

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