Supported by

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Supported by the Elgar Society


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Bird on the Wire & the Waves

​Wild Birds Protection85th Anniversary Concert

Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra / Cadogan Hall, 12 May 2019

Further information:

Sponsors’ involvement

The collective aim of the event is to emphasise advances in protection and conservation of avian wildlife in the spirit of Eric Parker’s work, which was influential in the passing of the Wild Birds Protection Act (1933) that came into force 17 May 1934. Eric Parker’s evaluation of trapping birds, culling, and legislation against egg-collecting demonstrated an advancement in world views. The use of technology in the decades since has enabled scientists and conservators to build on the work of Eric Parker (photo, below) and others, and to aid organisations such as RSPB in their vital work towards monitoring human impact on dwindling bird populations.

A pre-concert talk and presentation aspires to exhibit the role organisations such as RPSB, Surrey Wildlife Trust, and others, have concerning national and international issues of ecology and conservation. Highlighting ways in which they are empowered by the application of technology is an important component of the pro-active showcase we aim to accomplish with this event ‘wireless fidelity’ – ‘bird on a wire’.


Concert programme

George Butterworth             The Banks of Green Willow

Edward Elgar                         3 songs: ‘Twilight’, ‘O Soft was the Song’, ‘Pleading’

Frederick Delius                    Summer Night on the River

                                                 On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

Edward Elgar                          Sea Pictures (2. ‘In Haven’, 4. ‘Where Corals Lie’)

                                                 (soloist: Phoebe Haines)


David Lewiston Sharpe      The Song of the Nightingale—world première

                                                 (soloist: Phoebe Haines)

Edward Elgar                          Chanson de nuit; Chanson de matin

                                                 Dream Children, Op. 43           

Ottorino Respighi                  Gli uccelli / The Birds

Overview of financial commitment

For this concert successfully to implement its support of the charities (RSPB / Surrey Wildlife Trust) a total budget of £30,000 is needed (performers fees, rehearsal space for 11-12 May, venue fees). This can be shared among a group of sponsors and individuals.

Rehearsal (11 May 2019)                   £5,400 + VAT

Concert (12 May 2019)                       £13,750 + VAT

Facilities fee (Cadogan)                      £900 + VAT (broadcast)

Broadcast fee (RPO)                           £3,490 + VAT

Soloist fee, Marketing, etc                 £2,000



The concert presents great classics of orchestral repertoire inspired by the natural world, including works by Elgar, Delius, Respighi and George Butterworth. The centrepiece of the performance comprises a new setting of poetry by pioneer conservationist, and promoter of wild birds protection, Eric Parker (1870-1955). The new vocal work,  ‘The Song of the Nightingale’, has been composed especially for the concert and will be performed by mezzo soprano Phoebe Haines (English National Opera / Salzburg Festival / Lincoln Center, New York), with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Lewiston Sharpe.


Charitable aims—85th Anniversary, Wild Birds Protection Act (May 1934)

The performance aims to fundraise for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Surrey Wildlife Trust. The latter organisation’s involvement establishes a connection to conservation in the county in which Eric Parker lived and worked.

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Nightingale, Croatia
(Orchi / Wikimedia)

Eric Parker (1870-1955)