Award-winning classical trumpeter Alison Balsom is to star at a gala concert for the Forces Children’s Trust on May 16th. Alison will perform alongside the Docklands Sinfonia, an exciting and dynamic new symphony orchestra, for this special one-off event at Guildford Cathedral in Surrey.

Alison Balsom

The concert aims to raise money for the Forces Children’s Trust, which raises awareness and funds for children whose parents have died or been badly injured whilst serving in the UK’s Armed Forces. Its activities range from organising days out to theatres to arranging counselling for bereaved children.

Alison, who was named Female Artist of the Year 2009 and 2011 in the Classical Brit Awards, will be performing Joseph Haydn’s virtuosic trumpet concerto under the baton of conductor and founder Spencer Down.

Docklands Sinfonia, which has enjoyed incredible success with performances at Buckingham Palace for the Queen and at the Royal Albert Hall, will also perform Gustav  Holst’s dramatic ‘The Planets’ suite with the Skolia choir.

The concert is the brainchild of Lawrence Clark who, prior to joining the RAF, used to be a professional musician.

While Sergeant Clark was serving in Helmand in Afghanistan as a Chinook helicopter crewman, a Warrant Officer in the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment was killed by a Taliban improvised explosive device. Tragically, he was due to fly home just days later for the birth of his first child.

As a father of two, Sergeant Clark began to wonder what help there would be for his family if anything should happen to him. That’s when he discovered the Forces Children’s Trust.

Clark said: ‘I began to wonder what help might be available to my children if the worst should happen to me. I did some research on the internet and found the Forces Children’s Trust website. I decided that I would like to support the charity in any way I could.

Spencer Down‘The idea of a fundraising concert seemed a natural one to me, bringing together former friends and colleagues to perform in order to raise funds to enable the charity to continue its valuable work and also to try and create something positive out of a tragic situation.’

Denny Wise, founder of the Forces Children’s Trust, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that this wonderful concert has been organised to raise money to help children who have lost parents while serving their country and are grateful for all the musicians who are giving their time and their talents to benefit this worthwhile cause.’ The evening will also feature Eric Coates’ rousing ‘Dambusters March’ and the orchestral world premiere of British composer Peter Meechan’s heart-rending ‘Lament’.

Docklands Sinfonia’s conductor and musical director Spencer Down said: ‘When we discussed the idea of a charity concert with the orchestra, everyone jumped at the oportunity to support the tremendous work done by the Forces Children’s Trust. Our musicians are thrilled to be taking part in this exciting concert with renowned trumpeter Alison Balsom.’ 

Concert information:

Gala Concert in aid of the Forces Children’s Trust
Wednesday May 16th, 7:30pm
Guildford Cathedral, Surrey

Docklands Sinfonia
Conductor – Spencer Down
Soloist – Alison Balsom

The Dambusters March – Eric Coates
Lament (world premiere) – Peter Meechan
Trumpet Concerto – Joseph Haydn
The Planets Suite – Gustav Holst

Tickets from:
Guildford Tourist Information Centre
155 High Street, Guildford, GU1 3AJ
Tel: 01483 444334

£20 (£15 concessions), £15 (£10 concessions), £10 (£5 concessions)

For further information please go to:

Alison Balsom

Forces Children’s Trust

Docklands Sinfonia

For inquiries, please contact:

Spencer Down, Docklands Sinfonia musical director: 07931 387101
or email

Clare Walker, Docklands Sinfonia press office: 07768 663 566 or


Alison Balsom

Recently crowned ‘Female Artist of the Year’ for the second time at the Classic BRITs, Alison Balsom has cemented an international reputation as one of classical music’s great ambassadors and is ranked among the most distinctive and ground-breaking musicians on the international circuit today. Balsom has also been honoured with numerous awards by Classic FM, Gramophone and ECHO Klassik.

In 2009 Alison Balsom headlined one of classical music’s most celebrated concerts – The Last Night of the BBC Proms – which reached its biggest ever global television audience of an estimated 200 million. In December 2010 Balsom went on to make her US television debut with the Orchestra of St Luke’s on The Late Show with David Letterman – a platform few classical artists have gained access to.

The 2011/12 season sees Balsom make return visits to China where she performs with Lorin Maazel and the National Symphony Orchestra and to the Los Angeles  philharmonic with whom she makes her Hollywood Bowl debut. Other season highlights include concerts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Wiener Symphoniker, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Further ahead, Balsom will embark on major international tours with
I Musici di Roma, the Scottish Ensemble, Kremerata Baltica, kammerorchesterbasel and Concerto Köln.

Balsom’s highly distinctive sound earned her much recognition in her early career when she mainly reached her audience through radio broadcasts under the auspices of the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme. While represented by the Young Concert Artists Trust, Alison caught the ear of EMI Classics with whom she records exclusively. Her internationally celebrated Bach Trumpet and Organ disc of 2005 was quickly followed by ‘Caprice’ which won her further critical acclaim. Alison’s third album, featuring the great pillars of the trumpet repertoire, the concertos of Haydn and Hummel, firmly established her as one of the world’s leading trumpeters.

‘Italian Concertos’ which is made up of Balsom’s own arrangements of Italian Baroque Concertos became EMI Classics biggest selling album of 2010.

In addition to transcribing and arranging existing works for her instrument, Alison is increasingly active in commissioning new works for trumpet. Following her world premiere performance of James MacMillan’s Seraph at Wigmore Hall in February 2011, the work went on to become the title track on her latest release for EMI Classics.

Alison studied trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music, the Paris Conservatoire, and with Håkan Hardenberger. She was previously a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Alison was a concerto finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition in 1998 and received the Feeling Musique Prize for quality of sound in the 4th Maurice André International Trumpet Competition. She is Visiting Professor of Trumpet to the Guildhall School of Music. Alison performs a wide range of recital and concerto repertoire, from Albinoni to Zimmermann and performs on both modern and baroque trumpets.

Forces Children’s Trust

The Forces Children’s Trust is charity devoted to helping children whose father or mother has died, or has sustained life changing injuries whilst serving as a member of the British Armed Forces. The FCT, by reason of its aims and size, has the flexibility and ability to make decisions and offer help as needed, with minimum fuss and
consequent time-loss.

The scope of its ability to help both an individual and a group of children in similar circumstances is illustrated by two recent cases.

It provided special software for a dyslexic young boy who had sadly lost his father and a laptop computer for another bereaved child. The cost of these items were beyond their mother’s in their present circumstances and not available from other sources.

The immediate response by the FCT enabled the young children to instantly improve their educational skills. In contrast, the Trust funded and enabled a trip to London for a group of young children to see the hit West End show ‘’Shrek the Musical”. This included an overnight stay and Christmas Party with lots of presents for all including their
mothers, presented by Duncan Bannatyne OBE who is a FCT Patron.

In addition, a dream came true for many children and the trusts founder Denny Wise with a special trip to see ‘The Sound Of Music’ at the London Palladium, leading to an even more magical surprise with Noel Edmonds. The Forces Children’s Trust was founded in 2004 by Mr. Denny Wise who, with his extensive show-business
background and contacts, has spent many years giving so much time to fund-raising for so many good causes and charities, most of which have a strong Service background and include the Royal Star & Garter Homes.

Following the many heart-breaking stories that have emerged from the losses in Afghanistan and Iraq, Denny was concerned that the subsequent needs of the affected children, were not being fully addressed. He was particularly moved by the number of children who were left without a parent.

Discussing the situation with his contacts, he decided that a charity solely dedicated to helping the individual needs and problems of the children would help fill a niche in the charitable field of family care. The Trust recognises that each child is special and unique, and should an individual require help not provided directly by the FCT, the Trust can assist where appropriate.

Docklands Sinfonia

Docklands Sinfonia is a young and exciting new symphony orchestra which has become a major cultural force in London’s dynamic Docklands.

Since its formation in January 2009 by musical director Spencer Down, the orchestra has enjoyed incredible success with performances at Buckingham Palace for the Queen and at the Royal Albert Hall.

In November 2010, Docklands Sinfonia performed the world premiere of Grammy award winner Imogen Heap’s ‘Love The Earth’ to a sell- out audience at the Royal Albert Hall. The event was live-streamed over the internet to over 400,000 people worldwide.

In May 2011, the orchestra was honoured to perform a special concert for the Queen to celebrate youth in the arts in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace in front of a 500-strong celebrity packed audience.

Docklands Sinfonia has played alongside artists from the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House and National Youth Theatre as well as pop stars Joe McElderry, Rumer, DJ Ironik and Sara-Jane Skeete.

Just weeks after its first rehearsal, it was asked to perform on the BBC1 series ‘Clash’ and it has performed a number of sell-out concerts featuring major classical artist including cello virtuoso Leonard Elschenbroich, baroque soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, trumpeter Rex Richardson, saxophonist Christian Forshaw, the Raven string quartet and LSO principal trumpet Philip Cobb.

The orchestra also has a strong track record of commissioning and showcasing new works by up and coming British composers including Andrew Keenan, Christian Forshaw, Mick Foster, Jeremy Holland- Smith, the Raven string quartet, Peter Meechan and Robert Davies.

Docklands Sinfonia is proud to have recently collaborated with the Hackney Learning Trust and Hackney Borough Youth Orchestra in an educational project to help promote classical music in the East End of London.

The orchestra is thrilled have also recently made its first appearance at Chelmsford’s prestigious M&G civic concert series. Other recent concerts include performances at Cadagon Hall and the Claygate Music Festival.

Docklands Sinfonia is honoured to have Admiral Lord West as its patron. It rehearses on Wednesday nights from 7pm to 9:30pm at St Anne’s Church, Limehouse.