Now in its 65th season, the NPL Musical Society hosts regular (usually weekly) lunchtime concerts at the National Physical Laboratory throughout the year. Concerts take place in the Scientific Museum in Bushy House, a former hunting lodge and one time home of William, Duke of Clarence (later King William IV) with views across Bushy Park. In the summer, when the long sash windows are raised to allow a cool breeze to circulate the room, concerts are often accompanied by the squawking of Bushy Park’s famous green parakeets, or the hum of a mower keeping the surrounding lawns well manicured. The Society owns a fine 1911 Steinway model B grand piano.
The Society is run by a small group of volunteers, and its membership largely comprises existing and former NPL staff. However, at this point I must admit a personal interest as I was appointed to the organising committee in August 2015, as, though not NPL staff, I am “local, a musician and well-connected”. I am a regular at the NPL concerts, usually as a member of the audience and occasionally as a performer, and I would love the society and its concerts to be better known in the local community.
A wide variety of musicians come to perform at the society. Recent seasons have included performances by Joseph Tong, Waka Hasegawa, Kathron Sturrock, Graham Fitch, Carole Presland and Corinne Morris, many of whom give concerts in Teddington ahead of a recital in a larger London venue such as Wigmore Hall or St John’s Smith Square. In addition, the society attracts young performers, often musicians who are about to graduate from conservatoire or who are just embarking on a professional career. We enjoy a great range of music from Baroque to present-day, including premieres of brand new works.
The current season got off to an excellent start: we enjoyed a fine performance by harpsichordist, fortepianist and renowned Mozart scholar John Irving, who brought his own harpsichord (a beautiful modern reproduction of a Flemish instrument made by Andrew Garlick of Somerset). John performed three of Bach’s French Suites and offered an interesting and engaging commentary on both the music and the instrument.
Concerts take place on weekday lunchtimes from 12.45pm and run for around an hour. There is no need to book in advance – just turn up and pay £3 on the door. Or consider joining the society for just £5 per year and pay £2 per concert. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy high-quality chamber music in the heart of Teddington: do come along and sample a concert or two.
If you would like to perform for the NPL Musical Society or wish to be added to the mailing list please contact Frances Wilson on firstname.lastname@example.org