Aims of the Ensemble

In 1996, Geoffrey Richardson founded the Horsham Wind Quintet. In 1998 it became a decet (now New Harmonie) comprising 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons and 2New Harmonie also performs as a trio, quartet, quintet and octet with players drawn from the decet. The ensemble is augmented to include a piano or additional wind players when required for particular repertoire.

The aims/objects of New Harmonie are set out below:-

  • to further education in, and appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of, music and related arts by the performance of public concerts, especially in rural communities, and by the encouragement of the composition of new musical works for inclusion in such performances;
  • to relieve people who are elderly, sick or disabled by organising concerts, music workshops and similar activities in residential homes, nursing homes, hospitals, care homes and other institutions and places and by providing opportunities for such people to participate in those activities;
  • to promote, maintain, improve and advance education and encourage participation in music, drama, music theatre, dance and related arts by organising concerts, workshops and other educational activities in schools and with groups of children and young people in the community;
  • to carry out such other wholly charitable activities that are beneficial to the public and consistent with the objects above as the trustees shall in their absolute discretion determine from time to time.

New Harmonie Wind Ensemble
Picture courtesy West Sussex County Times

Who are we, and why New Harmonie?

The members of New Harmonie, which is based at Horsham in West Sussex, share an enthusiasm for performing and promoting wind ensemble music.

New Harmonie is a non-profit-making company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. ‘Harmonie’ is a term commonly used in Germany and France for an ensemble of wind instruments. In Mozart’s day, Harmonie groups comprising pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns (flutes were added later) gave performances and provided background music for their patrons at the great European courts as well as playing in public places. ‘New’ because we play music from the 18th to 21st century, including new compositions and arrangements of music not originally intended for this combination (such as Abba, Beatles, Billy May, Glen Miller and Duke Ellington).

The Ensembles

DECET and OCTET
Between 1999 and 2004, a decet ( 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns) gave between three and five concerts each year. Venues included “The Capitol” Horsham, “The Hawth” Crawley, “The Landmark Centre” Teddington, “The Arts Centre” Cranleigh and “Chequer Mead” East Grinstead. With funding from South East Arts, New Harmonie commissioned new works for wind by Dominic Sewell, Liz Lane and Ben Pope. One of the largest projects was “Why cats sit on doorsteps in the sun” (The Capitol, Horsham 9.11.03) a children’s music/dance project from Liz Lane . With funding from Youth Music, another major project was “The Wisdom of the Animals” (The Capitol, Horsham 7.3.04) with music by Ben Pope with lyrics by Ges Lonsdale. Clips from this performance are on this site. The project brought senior players and members of our junior quintet together to form an ensemble of fifteen and a specially recruited choir of over seventy children from rural junior Sussex schools.

New Harmonie Wind Ensemble
"Courtesy Mark Dean"

Since the summer of 2004, New Harmonie as taken the decet on tour to some of the excellent village halls and churches throughout Sussex. For a number of years, the programme was " Something old, something new". A typical programme of music included pieces from the classical repertoire during the first half to be followed by music from the shows (eg South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof) and more modern arrangements by Ben Pope (eg medleys of songs by Abba, the Beatles, Billy May, Glen Miller and Duke Ellington). Arrangements of music (with narration), such as “Hansel and Gretel”, “Peter and the Wolf” and “ A young person's guide to the wind ensemble" are part of the move to attract younger audiences. In 2010 a new programme was introduced " The Golden Age of popular song and dance” which proved particularly popular with elderly audiences remembering the music of the 1920s to 1940s. In 2011, West Sussex County Council funding support was withdrawn the larger wind groups ( octets, decets and a group of 13) met occasionally to allow players to keep in touch with the repertoire and enjoy playing it. Larger groups of 13 instruments performed Mozart's Gran Partita at Billingshurst Village Hall and for Horsham Music Society.


“The World War Two Quintet"

The quintet can be extended to a sextet by the addition of a pianist, allowing the group to play music composed for piano and five wind instruments.

New Harmonie Quintet

New Harmonie Sextet

QUINTETS, QUARTETS AND TRIOS

  • There are several quintets, quartets and trios within New Harmonie. Quintet concert tours such as "The Story of World War Two in words and music" and more recently " “From Tin Pan Alley to Abbey Road ” have proved a great success the latter playing to audiences in 25 venues through out Sussex. These concerts bring quality live music to local communities, reducing the need for elderly folk in particular to travel to larger centres and encouraging local ‘champions’ to promote arts events in their church or village hall, retaining most of the ticket proceeds for a good local cause. The concerts are possible through generous funding from Trusts and Foundations such the D'Oyly Carte. Clips from one concert are included elsewhere on this site.

  • Quintets and quartets have run workshops in residential homes, day care centres, nursing homes for elderly folk many of whom have a dementia. These include music for exercise, dancing, singing, reminiscing and relaxation. Groups have worked in Hospital clinics using live music to stimulate patient interest in exercise and more recent with patients in the locked Iris Ward of Horsham Hospital. Future projects will include palliative care once funding is secured. None of these projects could take place without the generous funding by sponsors.

  • Musicians have run several music/drama projects in Special Schools (e.g "the Circus", "Mini Beasts", "the Grand Ball", "The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games") and music drama projects in mainly small, rural primary schools and aftyer school with Brownies ("Pied Piper", " St Leonard and the Dragon of Horsham" "A Sussex Smugglers Tale"). New Harmonie is seeking funds to run a sequel project in Special Schools " the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation"

New Harmonie Octet
Courtesy Mark Dean


New Harmonie Decet
Courtesy Mark Dean