May 30, 2019
Pavel Šporcl
Pavel Šporcl

Hot on the heels of their acclaimed performance at Kings Place, Kenneth Woods and the Worcester-based English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) return to London on Sunday, 9 June 2019, for their debut at Cadogan Hall. The programme features the world premiere performance of English composer Matthew Taylor’s Symphony No. 5, the latest instalment in Woods’ and the ESO’s innovative 21st Century Symphony Project, alongside Beethoven’s perennial Fifth Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto featuring Czech violinist Pavel Šporcl.

The 21st Century Project was initiated by Kenneth Woods and the ESO in 2017 with the goal to commission, premiere and record no fewer than nine new symphonies by leading international composers. The series launched with Philip Sawyers’ Symphony No. 3, hailed by Classical Source as “a masterpiece”, and continued with a sold-out premiere performance at St. George’s, Bristol of David Matthews’ Symphony No. 9, a work whose melodic foundations have gained widespread admiration – “utterly beguiling … a highly impressive composition … splendidly served by Kenneth Woods and the English Symphony Orchestra, who turn in a highly assured performance,” according to MusicWeb International in a review of the premiere recording released this month by Nimbus Alliance.

Matthew Taylor's Symphony No. 5 explores issues of human loss and pays tribute to two close friends and the composer’s mother all of whom died in 2018. Scored in four movements, the work ends with an expansive Adagio which is the same length as the first three combined. It culminates in a colossal, resonant climax before receding gradually, combining motifs from all four movements recalled as if distant memories.

“I first became aware of Matthew Taylor’s work through the recording of his Second Symphony, which is an absolute tour-de-force,” remarks Woods. “When we launched the 21st Century Symphony Project, I knew Matthew, who has really established himself as one of the leading British symphonists of his generation, was someone we had to work with. His Fifth is a searing work, full of big emotions, and very much worthy of its place alongside Beethoven’s Fifth on this concert.”

The charismatic Czech violinist Pavel Šporcl joins the orchestra as soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Says Woods, “Since our first collaboration in the Czech Republic in 2017, Pavel and I have built a very satisfying working partnership, celebrated most recently with a tour of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in the UK and Prague. He maintains a unique position in Czech musical and cultural life, as a leading virtuoso, TV personality and statesman. He is an exceptionally compelling and communicative artist, as I’m sure our Cadogan Hall audience will agree.”

Closing the programme is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, possibly the most popular and iconic work in the classical music repertory.

Kenneth Woods’ and the ESO’s second London appearance in as many months finds their fruitful partnership hitting new highs. Their late-April performance on the Kings Place Venus Unwrapped series was feted by Classical Source as “Intelligently planned, intriguingly varied.” The concert, which featured the Partita for Piano and String Orchestra by Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová, earned the ESO a “Sirens” grant from the Association of British Orchestra for programming of music by female composers, one of only five orchestras to receive such recognition.

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For further information about Kenneth Woods please visit

For further information about the English Symphony Orchestra please visit

For further information, image, interview or ticket requests please contact Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International, +44 (0) 7788 662 461,

Sunday, 9 June 2019 – 3:00 pm
Matthew Taylor (b. 1964) Symphony No. 5 (world premiere performance)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
     Pavel Šporcl violin
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

Kenneth Woods
English Symphony Orchestra

Cadogan Hall
5 Sloane Terrace
London SW1X 9DQ

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