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The South Downs Songbook performed by the Orchestra of Sound and Light

with Rachel Farago, voice

Helen Whitaker, flute

Alison Hughes, clarinet

Lee Westwood, guitar

Rachel Fryer, keyboard

Joe Giddey, cello


A unique evening of specially commissioned songs, poetry and moving images to celebrate the South Downs:

South Downs - A Celebration (2021, film by Sam Moore with music by Ed Hughes for the 10th Anniversary of the South Downs National Park)

Evelyn Ficarra: What Larks (2022, World Premiere, poem by Valerie Whittington)

Ed Hughes: Sky Rhythms (2022, World Premiere, text by Marion Robinson, Mass Observation Archive, 1937)

Rowland Sutherland: Modes from the Downs (2022, World Premiere, based on poem 'Composed During a Walk on the Downs' by Charlotte Turner Smith)

Shirley J Thompson: An Hymn to the Evening (2022, World Premiere, poem by Phillis Wheatley)


The South Downs is a range of chalk hills that extends for approximately 260 square miles across the south-east of England, from the Itchen Valley in Hampshire, to Beachy Head in the East. Here, people have made songs, music, poems, stories and visual art for centuries, inspired by the natural environment and their experiences.

In 2022 Orchestra of Sound and Light commissioned four leading British composers to write brand new songs for solo voice and ensemble. Each composer brings their own style, experience and vision to their composition, reflecting their interests and background, and their responses to the beautiful and fragile environment of the South Downs.

As part of this project Orchestra of Sound and Light is working with young people in schools and colleges to support them developing their own songs. These will be featured in the performances at BHASVIC, Hastings Academy and ESAM.

Additionally Orchestra of Sound and Light is developing digital and online resources to inspire composers to write for the Songbook, and help them to understand how composers work and use different starting points for their work. Resources will be free and available to all.

For more information about the South Downs Songbook please see the Orchestra of Sound and Light's website


Project supported by Arts Council England through National Lottery funding.

Images from film South Downs a celebration © Sam Moore

Dates & Times

  • Monday 20 June, 2022
    6:00pm
Tickets are free but registration is required. Please go to the booking button to register and choose ‘South Downs Songbook Tour 1: Four World Premieres – 20 June 2022’
Campus Community
The South Downs Songbook performed by the Orchestra of Sound and Light
Monday 20 June
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