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CHELTENHAM CIVIC SOCIETY
Press Release (23.1.08)

Mark Elder to Unveil Gustav Holst Statue on April 4th

The eminent British composer Gustav Holst will shortly be commemorated with a statue in his home town of Cheltenham. The statue, by the sculptor Anthony Stones, FRBS, FRSA, will stand in Imperial Gardens in the centre of the fountain close to the Town Hall where a landmark concert devoted to Holst's music was staged in 1927. Plaques depicting the planets will adorn the octagonal plinth beneath the statue in recognition of the composer's most celebrated work.

The statue is being financed from a bequest made to the Cheltenham Civic Society by one of its members, the late Miss Elizabeth Hamond. (Please note HAMOND is the correct spelling.) Local individuals and organisations together with Cheltenham Borough Council have come forward to provide the additional funding for the plinth, installation and upgrading of the statue's setting.

Anthony Stones, who is based near Lechlade, has completed numerous prestigious commissions both in Britain and abroad, particularly in New Zealand and China where he holds two professorial posts. The statue has been cast in the Pangolin Foundry in Chalford, one of the leading sculpture foundries in Europe. The photograph below shows Mr Stones and the statue of Holst.

The unveiling will be performed on April 4th this year by Mark Elder CBE, the Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra, at 12.15. The Cotswold-based composer Raymond Head (www.raymondhead.com) has composed a special fanfare for the occasion which will be played by pupils of Pate's Grammar School - the school Holst attended as a boy. The Cheltenham Bach Choir will participate in the ceremony singing music by Holst as the fountain and lights are switched on.

In addition to composing, Holst was an inspiring music teacher who held various posts at St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, James Allen's Girls School in Dulwich, Morley College in South London and directed music festivals at Thaxted in Essex which was his home in later years. His birthplace in Clarence Road, Cheltenham (now a museum) welcomes visitors from all around the world.

Contacts
Jenny Ogle (Holst Statue working party leader): 01242 231011; ogle1welly@waitrose.com
Roger Jones (Cheltenham Civic Society): 01242 515533; arle@ukonline.co.uk
Holst Birthplace Museum: 01242 524846; holstmuseum@btconnect.com and www.holstmuseum.org.uk



 


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