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Passenger Seats:
The Natural World


Morning Mood "Morgenstemning"

Edvard Grieg

Grieg was a Norwegian composer who loved to capture the beauty of nature in his music. In this piece he takes us on a journey through the magical atmosphere of a peaceful morning in the countryside.

If you listen carefully you’ll hear the gentle sounds of nature waking up in the early morning. There are birds chirping, leaves rustling and the murmur of a distant stream. Listen for the lower strings as they play a calm, soothing melody. This melody represents the sun’s rays peeping through the clouds. They case a soft glow over the sleepy world as everyone starts to wake up, ready for the new day.

Then the woodwind instruments join in with their own melodies. There’s a delicate flute and sweet oboe, playing together, like birds singing their early morning songs and filling the air with joyful tunes.

Soon the music becomes livelier and more playful, as if all the wild creatures are joining together in a dance to celebrate the beauty of the morning.
You might notice times when the music becomes a bit more mysterious and exciting. This is because Grieg wants us to remember that even in the calmest of mornings, there are surprises and adventures waiting to unfold, like hidden treasure, just waiting to be discovered.

Towards the end of the piece, the music grows stronger and louder and the entire orchestra comes together to create a majestic sound that captures the grandeur of the morning sky. It’s like the world is shouting for joy to announce the arrival of a brand-new day. Let your imagination free as you listen to Grieg's music as it transports you to a world where mornings are filled with beauty, excitement, and endless possibilities. We hope it inspires you to embrace each new day with excitement, wonder and curiosity.


In Nature's Realm

Antonin Dvořák

Dvořák was a Czech composer who had a special gift for capturing the beauty and wonder of the natural world in his music. We’re going to play the first section of this musical adventure that takes us through forests, meadows, and rivers to explore the enchanting landscapes that inspired this fabulous piece.

The music begins in the strings, it sounds like a gentle breeze rustling through the leaves, setting the stage for our adventure. The woodwind instruments join in to play their tunes like birds singing and calling to one another, filling the air with their joyous melodies. Can you hear their sweet voices? They tempt us deeper into the magical world of nature.

Very soon the music becomes grander and more majestic as the brass instruments join in. It's as if we’ve stumbled upon a breathtaking landscape filled with vibrant flowers, rolling hills, and dancing butterflies.

"In Nature's Realm" invites us to explore, to marvel, and to cherish the beauty of our planet. Let Dvořák's melodies fire your imagination and love for the great outdoors. We hope it inspires to protect and cherish our precious planet Earth for us all to enjoy.


A Spring Morning (D'un matin de printemps)

Lili Boulanger

Welcome to the world of Lili Boulanger's “Of a Spring Morning”.

Lili Boulanger was a talented French composer who created beautiful music at a young age and this is a piece that she first wrote for violin and piano that takes us on a musical journey through a vibrant and joyful spring morning. Composers seem to like mornings....

Listen carefully for the delicate sounds of the flute and clarinet as they dance and play, imitating the birds chirping happily in the trees. It's as if the whole world is waking up, and nature's creatures are joining in a cheerful chorus to celebrate the arrival of spring.

You might notice moments of playfulness and surprises where the music becomes mischievous, with unexpected twists and turns. It's like nature playing tricks on us—whispering secrets and hiding surprises around every corner. Can you catch the playful melodies as they dance from one instrument to another?
The entire orchestra comes together, creating a joyful and energetic sound as if we are running through a meadow, feeling the soft grass under our feet and the breeze in our hair.

Can you imagine the colourful flowers swaying in the wind? This piece invites us to embrace the joy and renewal that comes with every new day. Let it fill your hearts with the magic of a spring morning. We hope it inspires you to embrace the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

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The Lark Ascending

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Vaughan Williams was an English composer who had a deep love for nature, and in this piece, he takes us on a musical journey inspired by the graceful flight of a lark.

The solo violin is the lark, singing its delicate and gentle song. If you close your eyes you can imagine that you’re soaring above the countryside alongside the lark.

Just like the lark soaring through the open sky, the violin melody glides above the orchestra as if it has wings oustretched, dancing in the wind. You might notice quieter moments where the violin’s melody becomes softer, as if the lark
is pausing in mid-air taking in the beauty of the world and the harmony of nature. At other times it’s as if the lark has reached the highest point in the sky, singing its song for all to hear.

Let your imagination take flight with the lark and allow Vaughan Williams' enchanting, folk-like melodies to transport you to a world of boundless skies and endless possibilities. We hope this musical journey inspires you to embrace the beauty and freedom of the natural world.


The Moldau (“Vltava”)

Bedřich Smetana

Smetana was another Czech composer who loved his homeland and found inspiration in its beautiful landscapes. In this piece, he takes us on a musical adventure along the banks of the Vltava River which is one of the country's most iconic waterways.

Throughout the piece, Smetana introduces us to scenes along the river's path. These include music from a wedding procession, the playful sounds of water nymphs dancing in the moonlight and the rivers progress over the rapids. Each scene invites us to experience the river’s beauty and the stories it can tell.

There are more peaceful and serene episodes but towards the end, the music becomes livelier and more triumphant. The entire orchestra comes together, playing melodies that symbolize the river as it flows through the city of Prague. The river is celebrating its arrival at its destination and joining in with the vibrant life and culture of the city.

Let the music of "Vltava" transport you to the banks of the river and carry you through its twists and turns to feel its splendour and power.


Breaking Waves ("Bränningsar")

Helena Munktell

Helena Munktell was a Swedish composer who had a passion for capturing the power and beauty of nature in her music. This piece takes us on a musical adventure to the stormy seas and crashing waves.

As you listen, you could imagine yourself standing on a rugged coastline, where the mighty ocean meets the land. You’ll hear the strings playing a swirling and dynamic melody like crashing waves.

Can you feel the energy and excitement in the music?

Woodwind instruments, such as the flutes and clarinets, add a sense of playfulness and lightness, imitating the seagulls soaring above the water. The brass instruments, like trumpets and trombones, capture the power and majesty of the ocean, with their bold and resonant melodies.

There are quieter moments with a change in the melodies in the strings, as it the sea is calm for a time. The composer incorporates different all sorts of musical elements to depict the ever-changing nature of the sea. Percussion instruments, such as the timpani and cymbals, create the sound of thundering waves and crashing surf. The strings play rapid and swirling melodies, mimicking the swirling motion of the water. Can you hear all the different sounds of the instruments mimicking the different elements of the sea?

We hope you enjoy this thrilling musical journey, and hope it inspires you to protect and cherish our magnificent oceans as well.


Helios Overture

Carl Nielsen

Carl Nielsen was a Danish composer who like all the other composers you’ve heard from today had a deep connection with nature and captured its beauty in his music. In this piece, he takes us on a musical journey through the rising and setting of the sun, painting a vivid picture of the changing colours and moods of the day. It is inspired by Greek mythology, namely the god of the sun, Helios.

Listen closely for the woodwind instruments, like the flutes and oboes as they play delicate, playful and sometimes birdlike melodies. The brass instruments, such as trumpets and horns, add a sense of power, representing the majestic presence of the sun.

We’ll be starting as the strings play faster and more energetic melodies evokeing the hustle and bustle of life under the midday sun. But afternoon fades into evening and the music becomes more peaceful and reflective. The melodies become softer, like the sun is slowly setting and casting a warm glow over the horizon. As we reach the end of the piece the entire orchestra comes together, playing melodies that represent the breathtaking colours of a sunset. It's as if the sky is on fire with oranges, pinks, and purples, creating a spectacle that fills us with awe and wonder, until it all fades away.

We hope that the music of "Helios Overture" transports you to a day in the sun, watching its progress through the sky and that it deepens your love and appreciation for the wonders of nature.


George Morton

George Morton studied Music at the University of Sheffield and, since graduating, has settled in the leafy city of Sheffield and continues to enjoy its proximity to the Peak District National Park and locally-brewed beer.

As a conductor, George is in demand across the North of England.  He is founder and Artistic Director of Rep Orchestra, a professional ensemble based in Sheffield which devotes its concerts to exploring innovative and exciting projects.  He is Musical Director of the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra and Nottingham University Wind Orchestra.  He has appeared as Guest Conductor with ensembles including Roma Tre Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Covent Garden Sinfonia, Bombay Chamber Orchestra, Hallam Sinfonia, Stamford Chamber Orchestra, Sounds of the Engine House and the Swan Ensemble.  Over the next year George will make his debuts with Northern Ballet Sinfonia and the Vaasa City Orchestra (Finland) and returns to conduct the Roma Tre Orchestra.

George is also an arranger and orchestrator; his reductions have been performed to great acclaim at venues across the world and are published by Universal Edition, Schott Music, and Boosey & Hawkes.   George is the founder and director of Steel City Music Publishing, an independent publishing house that specialises in producing arrangements, orchestrations and transcriptions for chamber orchestras and ensembles.  

Twitter: @george_conducts

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Hannah Thompson-Smith

Hannah was born in South Devon in 1981. She moved to Birmingham in 2000 and in 2004 gained a 2:1 degree in violin performance at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Here she studied with soloist Philippe Graffin, Jacqueline Ross, and Baroque violinist Nicolette Moonen. After graduating, she moved to Manchester to complete a PGCE and postgraduate studies at the RNCM studying with soloist Leland Chen. She then moved to Sheffield and began her busy teaching and playing career whilst continuing to develop her violin skills with Robin Ireland, former player from the Lindsay String Quartet.

Hannah now enjoys a very varied career of teaching and performing. She is currently Music Coordinator at Westbourne Junior School where she leads and
teaches the music curriculum and continues to teach the violin and coach young musicians and ensembles. As a freelance violinist, she plays locally and
wider afield for several orchestras and ensembles performing orchestral, string
and choral accompaniment repertoire. A large part of Hannah’s orchestral
career consists of leading orchestras, including the Hallam Sinfonia and chamber groups. Hannah regularly performs with Sheffield based quartets and
trios and also enjoys performing solo and in duo. She has given solo recitals in
the St Andrew’s Festival in Sheffield, the Worksop College recital series, the Doncaster lunchtime recital series and has performed in duet with Robin Ireland in the Broomhill Festival in Sheffield. She has appeared as soloist with the Rotherham Symphony orchestra, the Hallam Sinfonia, Sheffield Sinfonietta and has recently performed the Four Seasons with Cheltenham Sinfonietta.

Hannah enjoys playing a wide range of musical styles and takes part in many diverse engagements. She appeared in the BBC Christmas Carol Special 2020 accompanying Aled Jones. Hannah and her pianist have recorded works by local composers, performed on Radio Sheffield and recorded with local artists in a range of styles from Country and Western to music of the 80’s. She has appeared on tour with international tribute artists celebrating the music of George Michael, Whitney Houston and Queen in leading venues such as the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Nottingham Symphony Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Sheffield City Hall and the City of Birmingham Symphony Hall.

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Andrew Knowles

Images used in the video during our evening performance are very kindly provided by Andrew Knowles Photography.


Andrew has held the position of Principal Trombone with the Hallam Sinfonia for a number of years. Originally classically trained in London, Andrew then spent 35 years working in the corporate world until deciding 3 years ago
to leave that behind and concentrate on his music activities and photography.


As a photographer Andrew concentrates on landscape work. Having grown up in the heart of the Peak District he has a huge affinity with this outstandingly beautiful national park right on the border of Sheffield. He also spends time in the Lake District and intends to take his camera to the Scottish Highlands to further develop his skills.

Andrew says: ' It's a great honour to have my work shown as part of the Passenger Seats concert. I hope when people see the images, they get a sense of my love for landscapes and woodland, and especially light which I spend much of my time trying to predict and capture. '



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Hallam Sinfonia


Violin 1

Kate Fehler, John Cooper, Catherine Pugh, Richard Gilbert, Tom Davies, Richard Allen

Violin 2

Mary Dougherty, Matthew Cobbold, Rachael Evans, Catherine Bowman, Holly Ormrod-Stebbings, Hannah Watson


Charlotte Kenyon, Helen Mather, Kiri Smith, Laura French


Charlie Hardwick, Joy Paul, Sue Dumpleton, Nat Blakesley, Jeremy Dawson, Amy Gould, Dominic Smith, Matthew Moore


Stuart Wilson, David Shearn, Christie Harrison


Judith Ennis, Tony Jones, Kath Hathaway


Vicky Holmes, Carolyn Bean, Helen Jenkinson (Cor Anglais)


Karen Burland, Catherine Murray, Becky Stroud (Bass Clarinet


Dawn Allenby, Liz Versi


Jo Towler-Wareham, Anna Campbell, Gill Hillier, Emma Drury


Matthew Redfearn, Jocelyn Allsopp, Alex Burns


Andrew Knowles, Sophie Anderson, Richard Dixon


John Pullin


Mick Godber, Tommy Roberts, Gareth Widdowson


Alley York


Chris Noble

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