Concert showcases world premiere to help fight cancer

A UNIQUE concert featuring a music world premiere has been organised to raise money for a Royal Free Hospital charity. Composer Cecilia McDowall has written a new work which will be showcased at the event at St John's, Smith Square in Westminster on April

A UNIQUE concert featuring a music world premiere has been organised to raise money for a Royal Free Hospital charity.

Composer Cecilia McDowall has written a new work which will be showcased at the event at St John's, Smith Square in Westminster on April 27 in aid of Cancerkin.

The inspiration behind the concert is Hampstead woman Helly Bliss, who began fundraising after her own brush with cancer six years ago.

Ms Bliss said: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was advised to have a mastectomy. This was a huge shock to me.


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"Through the subsequent treatments which, although necessary, were harsh and invasive, Cancerkin nurtured and comforted me, supported me and gave me hope."

After making a recovery, Ms Bliss wanted to give something back to the people who had cared for her so well. So she began to organise concerts to raise money.

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Her first performers were some of her talented musical neighbours, then her daughter's flute teacher Hannah Lang got involved.

In a concert at St Anne's Church in Highgate, Ms Lang was accompanied by her husband Peter Hewitt on piano. Together, they managed to raise more that £5,000.

Ms Bliss said: "Last year Hannah said she would like to organise another concert in aid of Cancerkin and Peter asked the composer Cecilia McDowall to write a piece especially for the concert.

"It is a great privilege to have this piece of music by Cecilia.

"She is well known in the world of music and has recently written pieces for Ely Cathedral and The Presteign Festival of Music and The Arts in Wales," she said.

The new work is entitled Strange Violin, Are You Following Me?, which is inspired by the Rilke poem. The concert will also feature works by Prokofiev, Brahms and Faure.

"It's a lovely way to raise funds as everyone gets to enjoy themselves and hopefully the Cancerkin coffers will be swelled by the efforts," said Ms Bliss.

The concert begins at 2.30pm with a talk by composer Ms McDowall.

o For tickets, priced £18 (£15 concessions) call 020-7222 1061.

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