A tale of two musicians

Two of Cornwall’s most outstanding young musicians astonished audiences at this weekend’s concert in Truro Cathedral.

‘Music for a Coronation’ was performed by Truro Choral Society with Truro Symphony Orchestra. In addition, two Orchestral pieces played by Imogen Dowse (Truro School student) and Eleanor Sullivan (Truro School alumni CO16) completed the evening.

Imogen Dowse performed a beautiful solo of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Imogen attends Truro School and is the lead cello of the SW Youth Orchestra. She has also worked with top professionals at the very prestigious IMS courses at Prussia Cove. Imogen recently played the cello for The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, on their first official visit to Cornwall since taking their new titles. After performing at the Royal Albert Hall with the Cornwall Youth Choir, Imogen enjoyed this weekend’s event in her home city where she has been a Cathedral Chorister for five years. Following A-Levels, she intends to continue her music studies next year.

A few years ahead of Imogen in her career is Eleanor Sullivan who performed Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto. Eleanor Sullivan comes from Feock and went to Truro School where she studied oboe with Tamsin Robinson, piano with Lucy Melluish and singing with Naomi Carne. She decided she wanted to be an oboist while playing with the Cornwall Youth Orchestra at the age of 12 and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for three years, ending up as Principal Oboist.

Ellie was awarded scholarships to the Royal Academy of Music for both her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, winning its prestigious Oboe prize and Cor Anglais during her time there and was supported by scholarships from the Charlotte Fraser Foundation and the Cornwall-based Radford trust. Her final concert before graduating last July was playing principal in the Royal Academy’s bicentennial concert at the Royal Festival Hall in Mahler’s Third Symphony Under Semiyon Bichkov.

Ellie now enjoys a busy freelance career, playing regularly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Liverpool Philharmonic and Welsh National Opera.

For each soloist, the music is one of their very favourite pieces. Eleanor first learnt Vaughan Williams’ lilting, pastoral piece while at Truro School and quickly fell in love with it: she associates it with Cornwall’s beautiful landscapes. Elgar’s melodic writing was influenced by his birthplace, Malvern – and our cello soloist Imogen was born there so she is particularly excited to be able to perform this work. She is inspired, like so many cellists, by Jacqueline du Pre’s definitive performance of the concerto.

Ellie commented, “The musical opportunities and superb teaching I received at Truro School were key to my musical development and it’s great to see other musicians like Imogen benefiting from such support and encouragement as well. I really enjoyed playing alongside her at the concert.”

“Music for a Coronation” was performed by Truro Choral Society with Truro Symphony Orchestra. The evening opened with Parry’s glorious and famous “I Was Glad”, the start of British coronations for over 100 years. The choir’s main piece was Mozart’s “Coronation Mass”, so called because of its use in imperial Austria.