Karl Jenkins
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Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Lesley Garrett Talks About Her Involvement with Royal Armouries 100 Days to Peace Gala Evening

Lesley Garrett Talks About Her Involvement with Royal Armouries 100 Days to Peace Gala Evening

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lesley Garrett CBE has given an interview to the Royal Armouries about her decision to get involved with 100 Days to Peace gala evening on 6th September.

Talking about what music means to her and in particular, why she wanted to host the event Lesley gives some very moving tributes to those, like her grandfathers, who gave so much to the country.

Four separate videos are available which highlight what she will perform, her association with mental health charities and the importance of music in today’s society.

The Royal Armouries special performance of Sir Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, as part of 100 Days to Peace, is a gala evening of music and reflection to mark the centenary of the end of First World War hostilities hosted by Lesley Garrett.

In addition to hosting the evening, Lesley Garrett will also give two performances. The first is one of her favourite songs, ‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’ a WB Yeats’ poem published in 1899 and Sir Karl Jenkins originally wrote the music for Lesley. Her second performance is the opening lines from ‘For the Fallen’, written by Laurence Binyon in 1914 and often referred to as the ‘ode of remembrance’. This has been adapted for Lesley by Sir Karl for 100 Days to Peace.

Proceeds from evening will go to three charities - Help for Heroes; Combat Stress; and Heads Together-The Royal Foundation’s Campaign and Mental Health Initiative – all of whose work supports military veterans suffering from mental health conditions.

Commenting on her involvement with 100 Days to Peace, Lesley Garrett says: “I am so looking forward to performing with Sir Karl Jenkins. Being part of the Royal Armouries’ event in September has struck several chords with me, not least because both my grandfathers served in the war and the stories they told have given me a really personal connection with how terribly affected soldiers were by war and yet it was not recognised.”

“Music has always been important to soldiers, and the connection it gives is a very powerful one. For many years I’ve been associated with mental health charities and this was another big reason for wanting to be involved.  The charities benefitting from this event are doing amazing work to help veterans and rebuild societies devastated by conflict. Recognising mental health issues, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has come a long way in a hundred years, but it is important to continue to support those affected and I am honoured to be part of an event that champions that.”

Lesley was born in Doncaster. Her grandfather was a classical pianist and his father was a travelling musician entertaining troops on the piano during the war. As a young girl, she washed dishes in the Officers’ Mess at the nearby RAF station.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Lesley went on to become principal Soprano at the English National Opera. She is currently featuring in the Welsh National Opera’s 'Rhondda Rips It Up!', based on the life of famous suffragette, Margaret Haig Thomas and will also guest artist at two Proms concerts in August.

Acclaimed composer Sir Karl Jenkins will take the stage with the Royal Choral Society and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He will also be joined on stage by British mezzo-soprano, Kathryn Rudge, who will perform a solo against a backdrop of Hefin Owen’s film of The Armed Man.

Kathryn Rudge is currently a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and is a Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) artist alumni. After making her professional debut in 2011, she was featured as The Times ‘Rising Star of Classical Music’ 2012 and was nominated in the Young Artist category of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2016. She has recently been appointed to the ambassadorial role of Honorary Associate Artist at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied between 2002-2011.

On the evening, music lovers will be treated to other notable performances which will form an incredible programme of music and reflection, including Samuel Bordoli’s The Great Silence, written in memory of choristers killed in the First World War, with the charity Remembered, featuring their 2018 Armistice installation There But Not There

Sir Karl Jenkins composed The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace in 1999 when he was commissioned by the Royal Armouries to write a piece of music that marked the start of the new millennium and reflected the hope for the future.

Since its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2000, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is now performed, on average, twice a week around the world and has been performed over 2,000 times in 20 different countries. Sir Karl’s work explores themes of war, peace and racial and religious tolerance, and incorporates, in words and music, cultural influences from all over the world.

100 Days to Peacewill be held on the evening of Thursday 6 September 2018 at Central Hall, Westminster, London. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster: www.ticketmaster.co.uk/100-days-to-peace.