The Lark Ascending Centenary – on demand

Online live broadcast

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A special online concert to celebrate 100 years since the first performance of one of the best-loved classical works of all time – Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

In the 100 years since its premiere, The Lark Ascending has been performed in every single one of the globe’s greatest concert halls, by the world’s finest orchestras and violinists. Now, The Lark returns home: on the centenary of its first performance, Bristol Beacon and Bristol Ensemble present a live broadcast from the very place it was first performed, Shirehampton Public Hall in Bristol.

In a recreation of the original occasion it will be performed just as it was on 15 December 1920, arranged for solo violin and piano, and realised by renowned violinist Jennifer PikeBristol Ensemble and Exultate Singers complete the evening with excerpts from the original programme.

Composed on the brink of World War I and premiered in its aftermath, The Lark Ascending was born into a world that would never be the same again. Based on the poem of the same name by George Meredith, it tells of a bird, soaring high above the English countryside, singing an impossibly beautiful song, unaffected by the turbulent earth below. Despite the context of its writing, this moving work speaks to a return to calm and hope for a better future – a sentiment as vital now as it was at the time it was written.

This will be an intimate performance beamed from this unique setting into the comfort of your own home. You are invited to join us to mark this moment in music history, but more than that, we implore you to just stop, listen, and be transported by the timeless song of The Lark Ascending.

Watch the concert broadcast

This concert is no longer available to watch.

The live broadcast was on Tue 15 Dec 2020, and was available to watch on-demand until 15 January 2021.


Jennifer Pike violin
Roger Huckle violin
Simon Kodurand violin
Helen Reid piano
Marcus Farnsworth baritone
David Ogden conductor
The Bristol Ensemble
Exultate Singers
Dr Jonathan James 

Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending (arr. for violin and piano)
J S Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D minor BWV 1043
C Hubert H Parry Choral Song “Jerusalem”

Programme notes

Click below to download the PDF programme notes for this performance.


Find out more

On Sunday 6 December journalist Andrew Green hosted an online In Conversation event with a number of guests including soloist Jennifer Pike. It is now available on demand.


On Sunday 13 December music educator Dr Jonathan James presented an in-depth guide to the Lark Ascending in an online talk recorded at King’s Weston House, Shirehampton. It is now available on demand.


Read more about The Lark’s Bristol roots and find out more about the original concert.


Follow #Lark100 on social media for the latest announcements.

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Supported by

  • Supported using National Lottery funding by Arts Council England

  • The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust

  • Paragon Music Trust

  • Bristol Ensemble

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