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Concert to mark 70th season for orchestra

By Alf McCreary

The Studio Symphony Orchestra in Belfast will celebrate its 70th anniversary at the Ulster Hall today with a concert filled with European classics.

It is renowned for taking on large-scale works, and under the baton of David Openshaw - a former principal timpanist with the Ulster Orchestra - will play Mahler's demanding Symphony No1, known as The Titan.

It will also play the ever- popular Schumann Piano Symphony with the distinguished young Ulster pianist Michael McHale.

Bernagh Brims, a long-time member of the Studio Symphony, said: "This will be a special concert for us as we are celebrating our 70th season since the orchestra was founded by Dr Havelock Nelson in 1947.

"We have maintained his objectives for the orchestra which include the provision of opportunities for local amateur musicians to play in a large orchestra, and to give talented young musicians an opportunity to perform a concerto with a symphony orchestra.

"We were initially a string orchestra but we soon became a symphony orchestra, and we have been going strong ever since."

Dr Havelock Nelson, who came from Dublin to join the BBC in Belfast, became one of the best-known musicians in Northern Ireland. He was a founding member of Studio Opera which later became the Castleward Opera.

He was also an accomplished conductor, pianist and composer.

Two of the top Northern Ireland-born musicians, Sir James Galway and Barry Douglas, are among the internationally-acclaimed soloists who played with the Studio Symphony.

The 70th Anniversary Concert tonight begins in the Ulster Hall at 7.45pm with a performance of Wagner's Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin.

Belfast Telegraph

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