Ensemble26 is a collective of musicians founded by three friends, Ellie Fagg, Tom Norris and Eleanor Meynell. Ellie and Tom play the violin and Eleanor plays the piano. They are professional musicians living locally who love to play classical chamber music together. They invite other wonderful instrumentalists to join them as their concerts which are made up of pieces with different combinations of instruments. Their aim is to bring high quality chamber music to their local community so that music lovers don’t necessarily have to travel into London and so that it’s easier for prospective music lovers to come and see what it’s all about. There are many professional musicians living locally who play with the top London orchestras and chamber groups so it’s nice for them too to play in a local concert.
Eleanor met Tom at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and later in life kept meeting at film sessions every now and then. They wanted to play chamber music together so they organised a couple of concerts. Meanwhile, Tom and Ellie met in the London Symphony Orchestra, got married, had 3 children and moved down to Sydenham which is where Eleanor was also living. They all bumped into each other in a local supermarket one day and realised that they shared the same dream of creating a platform for great chamber music within their community in Sydenham. This resulted in them forming enSEmble26 and performing concerts in collaboration with Sydenham Arts.
Their dream is to be able to play all over SE26 and the surrounding areas – and anywhere that’s large enough and has a piano. They have performed at St Bartholomew’s church and at St Christopher’s Hospice and this year 2020 will perform the complete violin sonatas by Beethoven to celebrate his 250 anniversary year. The first takes place on Friday January 17th at St John the Evangelist church, Upper Norwood, Sylvan Road, SE19 2RX where Eleanor has a concert grand Steinway. The 410 bus takes 5 mins from Crystal Palace and the bus stops directly outside the church (Vicarage stop). They also have several concerts with Sydenham Arts, a return visit to St Christopher’s Hospice on March 5th and their children’s concert The Swan and the Enchanted Lake at Fairfield Halls, Croydon during half-term on Thursday February 20th. They would like to do smaller ensemble concerts involving just strings in alternative venues such as wine bars and cafes in order to widen their reach into the community and also outreach concerts into schools and care homes in the area.
Their message to young people learning or wanting to start an instrument is that the effort and rigour of regular practising pays off and brings an enormous sense of achievement, fun and self-esteem. It is worth sticking at and persevering. There are other benefits too such as improved concentration, social skills, co-ordination and you get to meet great friends along the way!
Future concerts in the series at the same venue and time:
Friday February 21st
Friday March 27th
Friday April 24th
Friday May 15th
Friday June 5th
Friday September 18th
Friday October 23rd
Friday November 20th
Friday December 11th