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The concerts Manchester Camerata are putting on to celebrate half a century of music-making in 2022

The ensemble is marking its milestone birthday with collaborations, performing new works and making its debut at a top London concert venue

The Manchester Camerata on stage

A Manchester classical music ensemble is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has started revealing its programme of events to mark the milestone in 2022.

Manchester Camerata will celebrate half a century of music making with collaborations, performances of new works and a debut at a prestigious London concert hall.

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The ensemble will also continue with its venture into short films and with some of its ground-breaking community projects.

Here are some of the shows you won’t want to miss as the Manchester Camerata gets ready for a very special birthday.

What is the Manchester Camerata planning for its 50th anniversary in 2022?

The Manchester Camerata will kick off the year working with its resident artist, saxophonist Jess Gillam who reached the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.

They will be at Manchester’s Stoller Hall on 11 March and will then make their debut at the Wigmore Hall in the capital on 20 March.

Cumbrian musician Gillam will take the solo part in Alexander Glazunov’s Concerto in E-flat major and the programme will also include Be Still by Daniel Kidane, a work the ensemble premiered last year.

Saxophonist Jess Gillam rehearsing with the Manchester Camerata. Photo: Duncan Elliott

The orchestra also releases the sixth volume of its popular Mozart, Made in Manchester recording series with music director Gábor Takács-Nagy and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet on 1 April.

The series also returns in concert form, with performances at Stoller Hall on 25 March and 23 September.

In November different generations of Mancunians from Gorton, where the ensemble is now based, will be involved in a programme which will include the world premiere of a new commission by composer Alex Ho.

The Camerata takes to the stage with Manchester-based music duo Space Afrika for a performance of Steve Reich’s minimalist masterpiece Music for 18 Musicians at Stoller Hall on 14 May and will team up with Manchester composer, producer and DJ Afrodeutsche on a new project.

Hacienda Classical. Photo: Craige Barker

The orchestra will also blend classical and pop music when it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the hugely-successful Hacienda Classical at the Royal Albert Hall on 13 May and Castlefield Bowl on 8 July and will team up with Peter Hook for The Sound of Joy Division Orchestrated at the 02 Apollo in Manchester and the London Palladium in October.

Other highlights include a trip across the Pennines for a performance of Bach’s St John Passion in Huddersfield.

What is the Camerata doing involving film and community projects?

The Camerata is also continuing to explore the relationship between music and the screen.

The next instalment of UNTOLD, its short film series which uses music to share personal stories, will see music director Gábor Takács-Nagy discussing his monumental move from playing the violin in the renowned Takacs Quartet to conducting.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to watch a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 silent film The Kid with the Camerata performing the score live at HOME in Manchester on 16 June.

The ensemble also continues its ongoing partnership with the Royal Northern College of Music where it takes part in chamber music workshops and a conducting weekend.

And following its move to The Monastery in Gorton the ensemble continues to embed itself in the local communities with its Music in Mind programme for people with dementia and their carers.

The Manchester Camerata’s Music Cafe at The Monastery in Gorton. Photo: Duncan Elliott

It will also continue partnering with Gorton’s Hideout Youth Zone to continue its creative song-writing choir and plans a series of workshops in St Peters High School in Longsight to bring together students and multi-genre artists in grime and hip hop.

Composer Lavender Rodriguez leads the Camerata’s Hidden Histories schools project, which celebrates the works of underrepresented composers of the past.

What has been said about the anniversary programme?

Bob Riley, chief executive of Manchester Camerata, said: Our 50th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate what has happened so far as well as our plans for the future.

“Everyone leaves a mark at the Camerata, be that a musical style, a way of thinking, or something else distinctive.

“We have countless anecdotes, recordings and community projects as part of our collective legacy. We want to invite our audience to join us as we reflect on our history and initiate new partnerships across the year to come.”

Jess Gillam said: “It’s always an absolute pleasure and honour to work with the orchestra - the musicians and the whole wider team alike.

“The ethos and spirit of the organisation and their commitment to sharing the wonders of music with every part of society is extremely inspiring.

“I’m looking forward to joining them on stage as part of their anniversary celebrations - here’s to the next 50 years!”