NEC Chamber Orchestra: Finzi, Bridge, Britten

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

The NEC Chamber Orchestra was created to provide the students with an opportunity to apply the principals of chamber music in a small orchestral setting.  The participants are chosen by audition at the beginning of the academic year and remain together throughout. As the ensemble rehearses and performs without a conductor, leadership responsibilities are rotated for every work performed. This affords the students an opportunity to develop communication skills, take responsibility for musical decisions and broaden their aural and score reading capabilities. Participation in the program also allows them to explore a wide range of the incredibly rich chamber orchestra literature.

Donald Palma is Artistic Director.

This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here:


Program note

For our final program of the season, I’ve chosen to highlight a few extraordinary works from the rich tradition of English string music. Gerald Finzi’s poignant Prelude, composed in the 1920s, was to be the first movement of a chamber symphony entitled The Bud, the Blossom and the Berry. A great lover of nature, apple orchards, and the countryside, Finzi’s works never fail to reach the listener in a most intimate way.

Frank Bridge was an eminent figure in the musical life of post-Victorian England.  A composer, a conductor and a violist, Bridge was one of the first English composers to inspire a young Benjamin Britten. He was Britten’s teacher, mentor, sometime tennis partner and life-long friend. The Suite for String Orchestra, composed in 1909-10 and typical of his earlier style, combines several light-hearted romps through the English countryside offset by forays into the deep recesses of human emotion.

As a tribute to his mentor, Britten took a theme from Bridge’s Three Idylls for string quartet and created one of the finest string orchestra compositions of the 20th Century. Composed in 1937 and premiered at the Salzburg Festival, Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge brought Britten international attention. The work includes an introduction, the theme and ten variations with each variation being a nod to a specific quality in Bridge’s personality.                                                          – Donald Palma

  1. Gerald Finzi | Prelude, op. 25

  2. Frank Bridge | Suite for String Orchestra, H. 93



  4. Benjamin Britten | Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, op. 10

    Introduction and Theme
    Aria italiana
    Bourée classique
    Wiener Waltz
    Moto perpetuo
    Funeral march
    Fugue and Finale

  5. Personnel

    Cameron Alan-Lee   
    Bowen Chen **
    Hannah Goldstick
    Harin Kang §§
    Hyun Ji Lee ‡
    Nikki Naghavi ‡‡
    Liyuan Xie   
    Mitsuru Yonezaki §
    Helen Yu *

    Chiau-Rung Chen
    Corley Friesen-Johnson *
    Joy Hsieh ‡
    Aadam Ibrahim §

    Yuri Ahn
    Bennet Huang §
    Soobin Kong ‡
    Shannon Ross  *

    Misha Bjerken
    Daniel Slatch

    Principal players

    § Finzi
    * Britten

    Double symbol for principal 2nd violin