VAUGHAN Williams' The Lark Ascending is one of the most the recognisable pieces of classical music on the planet, and, one of the most loved.

On Saturday, May 19 (7.30pm) the Westmorland Orchestra will take to the stage of Kendal Leisure Centre's Westmorland Hall to perform Vaughan Williams' evocative and extraordinary work in the highly regarded ensemble's final concert of its glorious 73rd season.

On the podium will be guest conductor Bob Chasey, picking up the 'wonderful' Westmorland's baton from its usual holder Richard Howarth.

A former violinist with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for 40 years, Bob said he has an overwhelming love for music and believes that once people have experienced the incredible sound of music of an orchestra they will come back: "If you stick your toe in the water of classical music you just might find yourself swimming in the ocean."

Through its concert series, the Westmorland Orchestra aims to encourage younger people to experience live classical music and doesn't charge for concertgoers under the age of 19.

Soloist for Saturday's performance will be award-winning Sophie Rosa, one of the UK's most exciting violinists who will join the orchestra for The Lark Ascending.

Sophie - who studied at Chetham's School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music with Wen Zhou Li - first came to the nation's attention after winning the second prize and audience prize at the Manchester International Violin Competition in 2011. She has appeared with illustrious ensembles such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata, broadcast on Radio 3 and Classic FM, and her debut album, Reve d'Enfant was released in 2016 on the Champs Hill Records label.

As a chamber musician, Sophie has collaborated with notable musicians including Martin Roscoe, Nobuko Imai, and Craig Ogden; she is also a member of Pixels Ensemble and performs with Psappha Ensemble.

Sophie said she is looking forward to sharing the stage with the Westmorland: "I am excited to be performing with the orchestra. The Lark Ascending is unlike any other piece for violin and orchestra; deeply poetic and tranquil in feel and where better to play it than in the beautiful surroundings of the Cumbrian countryside."

The Westmorland's packed programme also includes Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 - Land of Hope and Glory, the Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King and Morning from Peer Gynt, Finlandia by Sibelius and music by Bizet, Sousa and Mascagni.

Tickets are available from Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre on 01539-725133 or at the door on the night.

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