We are a group of friendly, enthusiastic musicians based in East Finchley, North London. Founded in 1998 by Stephen Kersley and Stuart Allen (SWON’s conductor at the time) with a start-up grant from Barnet Council, we have now been producing varied and exciting music for two decades for the interest and enjoyment of the local community. Our current membership comprises around 50 musicians and our musical director and conductor is Matthew Hardy.
We rehearse on Wednesday evenings 7.45pm-9.45pm at Martin Primary School in East Finchley. We have three terms per year with a concert at the end of each term. Our current concert venue is St. Martin’s Church, Gospel Oak.
Aside from our principal concerts, we also regularly take part in festivals and joint concerts with other ensembles. We have taken part in the National Concert Band Festival, in which we earned gold awards for three years running in 2014, 2015 and 2016. We have also been fortunate to enjoy working closely with other wind orchestras and choirs from London, Italy, and Liverpool.
Aside from performing regularly in North London, we enjoy taking our music further afield. Past tours have included concerts in Antwerp in 2007, Reims in 2013, Liverpool in July 2017 and Poole/Bournemouth in June 2018.
SWON is keen to nurture young composing talent, and as such we held a ‘Young Composers’ Competition’ in 2013. We were rewarded with three outstanding pieces of repertoire that formed the backbone of our 2015/16 concert season.https://canadian-pharmacy24-7.com
We are committed to producing high quality and enjoyable performances both for our members and the local community, whilst being accessible to all who wish to be involved.
About Our Conductor
Liverpool-born musician Matthew Hardy graduated from the orchestral conducting masters programme at the Royal College of Music in 2018, where he studied with Peter Stark, Howard Williams, and Martyn Brabbins. He was also a conducting scholar at the 2017 Dartington International Summer School, studying with Sian Edwards, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Cardiff Conducting Days course in 2018. During his time at the RCM he assisted Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Martyn Brabbins, and Jac van Steen.
2018 performances at the RCM included Variations on a Theme of Haydn by Brahms, Dance Suite by Bela Bartok, Debussy’s La Mer, and smaller works such as Tristan Murail’s Winter Fragments, Octandre by Edgard Varèse, Ragtime by Igor Stravinsky, and These Broken Wings by David Lang. He also gave the premieres of Sungji Hong’s alto flute concerto, Transfigurations, with flute soloist Carla Rees, and Edward Nesbit’s Songs for a Dying World with mezzo soprano Rachel Maby.
He is the artistic director of East London Music Group, which he helped found in 2015. With ELMG he has given performances of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and Walton’s Façade, as well as commissioning and premiering new works from Edward Nesbit – Strange Joy, and Robin Haigh – 1936: An East London Uprising which tells the story of the Battle of Cable Street in music and narration. The group has focused particularly on the
equal pairing of music and acting and is committed to the development of new works. ELMG is also committed to community and educational work and has led several large scale projects with primary school children in Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, exploring local history and contemporary issues.
Matthew has been heavily involved in community music making and is musical director of the St Albans Rehearsal Orchestra, the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of North London, Bowes Park Community Choir, and East London Community Band. He recently appeared on BBC Radio 3 discussing the piece Barricades by Lee Westwood, which was commissioned by Making Music’s Adopt a Composer scheme and premiered by East London Community Band in 2016.
In the past he has also been musical director of choirs, orchestras, and bands at Imperial College, University College London, Queen Mary University of London, and University of the Arts London. On a freelance basis he has recently worked with Imperial College Symphony Orchestra on their 2018 tour to Prague, University of London Symphony Orchestra, Stockport Symphony Orchestra, London Moonlight Symphony Orchestra,
National Schools Symphony Orchestra, Croydon Youth Orchestra, Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival Orchestra, Hale Barns Festival Orchestra, and Pigotts Music Camp.
Prior to taking his place at the RCM Matthew worked as a trumpet player and studied with renowned Danish pedagogue Kristian Steenstrup. He is a committed educator and maintains a number of brass and conducting students.