Manchester’s classical musicians come together after attack

Musicians from the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester Camerata came together on Thursday night to play a benefit concert at Bridgewater Hall for the victims of last week’s bomb attack. The concert was led by Mark Elder and Stephen Bell, with guest appearances from Alice Coote, Clare Teal and Guy Garvey.

The programme included popular classical pieces such as Holst’s The Planets: Jupiter and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, alongside pop songs like Burt Bacharach’s What The World Needs Now as well as three of Garvey’s own compositions.

While the concert was free, donations were requested, with Hallé sponsor PZ Cussons giving GBP50,000 (€57,300) to the #WeStandTogetherManchester fund. So far more than GBP2.2m has been raised by the fund, with all money going to the families of those affected by the attack.

Clearly moved by the rapturous reception from the crowd, Elder thanked the audience profusely and praised the ability of classical music to bring people together. “I Hope one day ‘the e word’ will be disallowed,” said Elder, “there is nothing at all elitist about an event like this.”

Floral tributes in St Ann's Square
Floral tributes in St Ann’s Square

A second benefit concert will be held on 4 June at Emirates Old Trafford with acts including Ariana Grande, Coldplay, Miley Ray Cyrus, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Pharrell Williams, Usher, Black Eyed Peas and Take That.

The bomb detonated at Manchester Arena on 22 May after a concert by Grande killed 22 people, including the attacker, and injured 120.

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