Celebrating Elgar

A handwritten Elgar score, with parts for violin, viola, cello and bass

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Discover the important stories that Elgar’s sources reveal about his life and works

Join us for a day celebrating the life and music of the great composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934), with a focus on the rich sources of Elgar’s works in the British Library.

Elgar’s sources, ranging from manuscript sketches and scores, printed scores, letters and recordings, reveal important information about his compositional practices and the origin of some of his most famous works, such as the Enigma variations, his concertos, symphonies, and oratorios. They also tell us important stories about his personal and professional life, his close family relationships and friendships, as well as his remarkable personality.


10.00–10.20 Registration with tea and coffee 

10.20–10.30 Welcome and introduction – Richard Chesser (Head of Music, British Library)

10.30–11.15 Keynote – Julian Rushton (Professor Emeritus, University of Leeds)

11.15–11.45 The Elgar Birthplace Museum – Michael Messenger

11.45–12.00 Break

12.00–12.45 The Elgar Sources: an overview – Professor Dan Grimley (University of Oxford)

12.45–14.00 Lunch (not provided)

14.00-14.40 Elgar recordings – Jonathan Summers (British Library)

14.40–15.30 Discoveries in Elgar Sources – John Norris and David Lloyd-Jones

15.30–15.50 Break

15.50–16.30 Biographical Issues in Elgar Scholarship Chair: Dr Jo Bullivant (University of Oxford) Speakers: Jo Bullivant, Dr Sophie Fuller (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance), Dr Nalini Ghuman (Mills College), Julian Rushton

16.30–17.00 Future plans on the Elgar sources at the British Library – Richard Chesser and Chris Scobie (British Library)

You can also come along to a concert with Elgar’s music, Edward Elgar: from Manuscript to Performance on Friday 8 November.

Part of our Season of Sound, the British Library's annual celebration of all things audio.

Explore the British Library’s Sound Archive today and discover over 6.5 million extraordinary recordings covering speech, music, wildlife and the environment.


Name: Celebrating Elgar
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546