On 16th March I conducted the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall with Sophie Raworth as host and Laura Wright singing, in the very first official event for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. We were introduced to Prince Michael of Kent before the concert and I was most honoured to be there. The concert was held in aid of the Armed Forces Charity - SSAFA.
When I was asked by Michael Traboulsi from 'The Makers Of' to put together a programme I knew that I had to include a good deal of the music used in the Queen's Coronation in 1953 - Walton's Orb and Sceptre, Butterworth's Banks of Green Willow, Holst's Jupiter, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves - but I was also able to add Malcolm Arnold's second set of English Dances, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis, and then Laura Wright came on board so we decided that she should sing Karl Jenkins' Benedictus and Parry's Jerusalem. As she was already singing the National Anthem it became a no-brainer to ask her to then introduce the Ukrainian National Anthem - beautifully played by the RPCO and the audience gave a huge cheer at the end. A feeling of solidarity in these awful times.
I was also really pleased to be able to ask my great friend, Colin Edmonds, to write the script and create a narration for Sophie Raworth to use during the evening.
Photographs by Andy Paradise