5 Reasons why you should go to Royal Albert Hall’s Classical Coffee Mornings

Royal Albert Hall’s Classical Coffee Mornings in the Elgar Room, a Sunday music event I’ve been following for a while now, began the year 2017 on a fabulous high note with a performance by Pierre Frapier and Jennifer Hughes from the Royal College of Music.

img_0752

I always enjoy this series and come out of it invigorated but this last experience was so good, I had to write up this piece and spread the word about it. So here goes… 5 Reasons why you should go to Classical Coffee Mornings:

  1. Classical can be casual

Yes, it’s great to go to fancy piano recitals at Wigmore Hall and dress up every now and then. And the musicians there of course deserve that respect of not showing up in torn up jeans. But classical music can also be leisurely enjoyed in sneakers with a cup of coffee and a pastry. Personally, I also occasionally feel like aside from the actual music, there’s some “see and be seen” going on at larger concerts, which takes away the focus from the music. That’s definitely not the case at Classical Coffee Mornings, where you just grab the best table available and sometimes share one with others who are all there to enjoy an hour of music on a Sunday morning.

  1. Get a glimpse of the future of classical music

We all know who the living greats are. Even if we may not necessarily be able to pick them out ourselves, the fact that they are at the Barbican, the Royal Albert Hall or other great venues with critics and a lifetime of success that confirms their greatness, we know what we’re getting. Some of them can be very young too and some performers at this series have also played in those halls. But at this concert series, you’re always presented with young musicians from the Royal College of Music. No beginners of their craft with impressive resumes for sure but certainly still at the beginning of what is hopefully a very long career. You can become one of their earliest fans and look forward to follow their growth. Isn’t that fantastic?

  1. It’s just an hour (and £12.50)!

Going to an evening concert always makes it the foimg_0813cal point of the day. You don’t just pop by, this is what you’re going for. While I do enjoy a full concert that goes on until half past nine, it does also require from the audience a whole lot of energy and focus. After twelve hour days at work that start at 7am, I’m not always in the mood for that and can’t handle it too often. An hour on a Sunday morning though? Easy enough. Also, if you have a loved one or friend who might not be too familiar with or finds classical music too boring or stiff (I’m not one of them! But let’s be honest, enough people feel that way), they might be put off by the idea of a concert. Why not gently introduce them to this beautiful world with a shorter performance? You can even tell them about Elton John’s Big Red and lure them in with that pop connection!

  1. Challenge and inspire yourself with diverse repertoire

I must confess that I’m not the most educated classical musician, so one of my New Year’s resolutions was that I wanted to expose myself to more diverse music and push myself to listen to more and new music I don’t know. At the Classical Coffee Morning series, there’s so much diveimg_0749rsity. One day I heard Natsumi Ikenaga perform well-known pieces such as Bach’s Partita No. 2 and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. But on my favourite Sunday so far, I had the pleasure to experience an American themed piano and violin performance with compositions by Dvorak, Ravel, Provost and Frolov. If I had to summarise this repertoire, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. So much beauty I didn’t know! So, whether you’re a musician yourself or not, go and find fresh creative inspiration here and take home some of that youthful energy from these wonderful performers.

  1. Make it a day out in South Kensington

The Classical Coffee Morning could be your energising creative start to a day out in South Kensington. My last one was followed by a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970” (until Feb 26) which was fittingly an exhibition driven by music. There are so many other choices within walking distance such as the Science Museum’s new mathematics wing, the Winton Gallery or the Natural History Museum’s “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” (which I check out every year), there’s bound to be something for you. I completed my day with a lunch at Bumpkin. There are plenty of other delicious options to pick from to complement your day, where you can sit down, discuss and digest your morning experience alongside good food. And while in the winter months, this might not be recommendable, you can always walk it all off with a stroll through Hyde Park. There you go! Your full Sunday planned!

So, here are my 5 reasons to check out this music series! Three more events scheduled until April. I hope to see you there and perhaps even share a table with you soon!

Advertisements

We Own The Night

nike

  • When: 17 May 2013, 20:00
  • Where: Victoria Park
  • Number of participants: 3386 (though run open to up to 7000)
  • Distance: 10km (2 loops)

Over 3000 women (and the occasional man) all wearing the same orange t-shirt running 10km on a beautiful Saturday night through Victoria park. That was the setting of my last Saturday.
I must say I was a bit concerned… As my roommate went to pick up the documents at the Nike store, no one seemed to be able to point her in the right direction, making her wander up and down in their flagship store on Oxford Circus.
Additionally, as it didn’t say anywhere on the papers whether there is a baggage drop-off, I called in, where again, no one could really tell me… Customer service however made the effort to find out for me and called me back a few hours later. Still, it’s a bit surprising such a major event, with the good Nike name on it is that disorganized.
On the actual day though, organization seemed to run smoothly, with helpers right from Mile End pointing us in the right direction. The runner’s village that was set up was quite impressive and the thousands of girls all warming up together under a very energetic MC were overwhelming. I chose to remain on the sidelines for that one…
The actual run was divided into three groups depending on targets being either a top runner leading the flock, realizing a PB or just being there to finish it.
On the upside, the atmosphere was absolutely amazing and definitely contributed to me marking my PB.
On the downside, the event was definitely overcrowded… It took me and my friends up to 10 minutes to get through the first kilometer…
But what’s with all the wristbands?? a light pink one as goody before the run, a dark pink one with a “We Own The Night” golden plate on it and… finally a color blinking band depending on targets. (Oh, I forgot the paper band to record emergency contacts.)
Anyway, I almost forgot to mention the absolute highlight of this run! As I fought my way through the first loop, I just saw the shadow of a women rushing past by me in an instant and vanishing ever so quickly on the reverse side… Turns out, that was Paula Radcliffe!! Even if an hour later, it was an absolute highlight to run on the same course as her.
Another upside to this run: most cheerers are men who came with their girlfriends or wives, so the cheering fire power is absolutely brutal!
If you’re not a super competitive female runner and can enjoy a slightly crowded run in good company, keep this date free next year!