Create an opera in a day? No problem!

Yasmin Hemmings is the LSO's Discovery and LSO Live Trainee, and has been working at the LSO for just a few weeks. Create an Opera in a Day was one of her first projects to be involved in, and she gives us an account of the day.

On Saturday 1 November, families arrived at LSO St Luke’s for the LSO Discovery Family Day, LSO in Wartime: Create an Opera in a Day. The Family Day was part of a weekend of events organised by the LSO which commemorated the centenary of World War I. Formed in 1904, the LSO had just celebrated its tenth anniversary when war broke out and 41 musicians who had played with the LSO, or were to play with them in the future, served in the war.

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The LSO in World War I: commemoration weekend round-up

This weekend we reached the first of our moments of commemoration of the World War I centenary:

Friday 31 October: Lunchtime Concert

Post-graduate student singers from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama sang songs from the war, including works by George Butterworth and William Denis Browne, both of whom were killed on the battlefield. Rachel Leach tied it all together with stories of LSO musicians who served in the war. We were delighted to see so many people, and particularly younger audience members joining us during half term.

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The LSO in World War I: Eli Hudson

If he were alive today, there is no doubt that the flautist Elijah Rennison Hudson would be referred to as a child prodigy.

From a musical family, he played in the Hudson family band on the pier in Skegness. They were a well-known act at the time and Eli was presented to the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited the town and played for the German kaiser when he was 12 years old. At the age of 17 he was offered an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music, and on 2 May 1895 he moved from Prospect House in Skegness to 14 Oakley Crescent in Chelsea to begin his studies.

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The LSO in World War I: The Sad Tale of Adolph Borsdorf

So far on this historical journey, there have been stories of men from within the ranks of the London Symphony Orchestra who went to fight, some of whom were never to return.

One story that we have uncovered however, is tragic, but in a completely different way. Jo, Libby and I were delighted to meet recently with two of the the grandchildren of horn player and founder member of the LSO, Adolph Borsdorf. Between us we were able to fill in gaps in each others' knowledge to complete a very sad chapter in the history of the Orchestra.

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The LSO in World War I: Elgar's Carillon and how the repertoire changed

Our series of blogs about the LSO during World War I has so far concentrated on the musicians of the Orchestra that were called to active service and how the war affected them. But for those left behind - either too old to serve or physically unable to fight - and still trying to make a living from music, the war would make its mark just as indelibly.

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