Music at The Firs

There is no doubting Elgar’s musical genius. He believed ‘there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require’.

Growing up as a child at Lower Broadheath he was constantly surrounded by music, in the family home and in his father’s shop, and throughout his life he immersed himself in musical performance.

This is our wish for his birthplace, to fill the property and gardens with the joyous sounds of live music, music in all its forms from cello to dulcimer. 

Our emerging programme has got off to a fantastic start with the development of an innovative residency with Volante Strings.

Members of the group perform in various ensembles or as soloists in our performance space or in the beautifully tranquil cottage garden to surprise and delight our visitors. 

We have an active calendar of performances at the Firs, please have a look at our events page to see what might take your fancy

Below you will find information on the various groups that are and will be performing at Elgar's Birthplace.

Volante Strings - Member profiles

The Carice String Quartet

During December members of the Carice String Quartet performed original and arranged Christmas themed music by English composers for: string quartet, violin and piano, cello and piano and voice and piano.

The Carice quartet are made up of Graham Longfils (Violin), Anita Porter (Violin), Dorthy Wilson-Longfils (Viola) and Caroline Nuttall (Cello).

We hope to host them again soon.

Read about the Carice String Quartet here >>> (PDF / 0.3MB) download

The Malvern Piano Quartet

The quartet is made up of; Irena Percy (piano), Megan Webb (violin), Amanda Salmon (viola) and Janet Geerlings (cello).

The Malvern piano quartet is made up of members and associates of Volante Strings. Megan (violin) founded Volante Strings along with the late Angela Richey in 1999, having studied at Exeter University with the Dartington String Quartet and spending some years in Ghana studying African music.

Irena (piano) was born in Warsaw and studied at the Conservatoire there, achieving an MA in piano performance, followed by further studies at the RNCM.

Among her chamber music performances were piano trios with Angela, as well as teaching and accompanying in the Malvern area.

Amanda (viola) studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London, subsequently working at the BBC chamber orchestra in Bristol and later studying with Bruno Guirrana in Dortmund before settling in Worcestershire.

Janet (cello) studied at the Royal College of Music, London and later continued her studies with Joan Dickson. She went on to form chamber music groups in Milton Keynes and Brittany, before returning to the Three Counties where she now plays and teaches. 

They all share a passion for the riches of chamber music and hope this comes across in today's performance.

Members of the Malvern Piano Quartet
members of the Malvern Piano Quartet

Vocal Variations

Vocal Variations was founded in February 2004 by Pat Pennington who shared a passion for music in group form and solo singing at The Elgar Birthplace Museum. In 2016 we moved to Holy Trinity Church, Malvern and have performed with their church choir on many occasions. We have also performed during the August event at Worcester Music Festival (2008 – 2016) in the Lumby Room (Deansway School of Music)  raising money for Leukaemia Care.  I had the pleasure in taking the group over in 2017.

Vocal Variations is a group of amateur singers who have a love of music, performance and solo singing. We sing individual songs on a theme accompanied by professional accompanists. Everyone supports everyone else helping to develop confidence and expertise.

We all have a great time together at our meetings and once our singing has completed we enjoy a social cup of tea and homemade cake.We meet once a month, locally and are always looking for new members to our group.

For more information please contact Julia Winkworth ATCL on 07752 886204, email or check out our facebook group page under “Vocal Variations”

Janet Thomas (viola) and Ann Marshall (piano)

Janet studied at what was then the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the Royal Northern), before returning home to Birmingham to do her Cert.Ed. She was a string teacher with Solihull Music Service for 36 years, until her retirement in 2010. She is still very active as a player in various local orchestras and ensembles, including Volante Strings, of which she has been a member since 2001. 

Janet Thomas
Janet Thomas (Viola)

Hailing originally from Cheshire, Ann also studied at the RMCM, jointly as a violinist and pianist. She then lived and taught music in various places around the country, before eventually settling on the Worcestershire / Shropshire border.

We first met there in 2002, at a chamber music session. We have been playing together regularly ever since, both in the Bianchi String Quartet and as a duo.