Major new Contrabassoon Solo premiering at London’s Cadogan Hall

We were delighted to receive the following press release from the Mozart Symphony Orchestra regarding forthcoming exciting performances this December!

Premieres, it seems, are like London buses. 2020 has seen very few new works for orchestra and yet Cadogan Hall is to host two in one concert on 21st December. Both are written with children in mind and both are for narrator and orchestra.

Since March 23rd all theatres and concert halls in the UK have been shut as a precaution against COVID-19. This is all starting to change, very gradually, and one of the concert halls at the forefront of this change is Chelsea’s Cadogan Hall. The hall has recently launched a series of socially-distanced concerts for the run-up to Christmas, including a very special family concert featuring a new Gruffalo, The Snowman and Kipling’s Just So stories.

There will be six performances in total, on December 21st and 22nd, as each performance will only be able to accommodate one third of the usual numbers to comply with COVID-19 rules.

Great news for Gruffalo fans

The Gruffalo is a brand new version of Julia Donaldson’s wonderful tale of the mouse who comes face-to-face with a monster from his own imagination! Philip Mackenzie has written this new piece for narrator and orchestra in the style of Prokoviev’s Peter and the Wolf, in that each character in the tale is represented by a different instrument of the orchestra. Whereas Prokofiev used standard orchestral instruments for each character in the story, Mackenzie has opted to use the peripheral instruments from the woodwind section, so the mouse becomes the piccolo, the snake the cor anglais, and the fox the Eb clarinet. The real star of the piece however, is the Gruffalo on the contrabassoon, who gets an extended solo at the beginning of the piece with an optional cadenza, in which the contra player can do what he likes to show off this extraordinary instrument, preferably in an amusing and engaging way. The soloist for these performances will be Stanley Kaye-Smith – a contra and contemporary music specialist who will be making the most of the cadenza! The idea for the Gruffalo came to Philip when he was reading the classic tale to his three-year-old son.

Snowman on-screen

The Snowman will be projected onto a large screen with the orchestra providing a live soundtrack to the film which famously includes the song Walking in the Air, performed on this occasion by 12-year-old Alice Mackenzie.

It might be Just So…

The inspiration for the Just So stories comes from Kipling’s original, but with brand new comic poetry by Mark Webber and music by Louis Mander. Louis is a British composer and graduate of The Royal College of Music in London. His music is internationally performed and includes a prolific output of chamber opera, vocal music, and music for film. Past commissions include his collaboration with actor and writer Stephen Fry on a full-length opera The Life to Come for the Oslo Opera House in 2017, and most recently a collaboration with poet Pam Ayres on a new musical based on J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

Tickets are available from and 020 7730 4500.