The cellist Irene Enzlin, who is now well established on the European concert circuit, will be playing with the Marlborough Concert Orchestra for their Christmas concert in St Mary’s Church on Saturday, December 14.
She’ll be the soloist in her favourite concerto, but she has another and very important reason for coming back to Marlborough – and it’s the story of how her musical career really began.
Irene was born in Holland and aged fourteen, having just won a Dutch Young Musician of the Year award, she was in Manchester at the International Cello Festival. In a very noisy exhibition hall she was trying out one of instruments on show.
Carol Irby heard her and alerted her husband Christopher to the wonderful sound she was producing from the instrument. The three got talking and Irene told them how unhappy she was at her school in Holland which provided no music studies.
She was getting up at 5.00 in the morning to practice on her own and had no musical friends. Christopher suggested she approached the famous Yehudi Menuhin School at Stoke d’Abernon. Irene took him at his word and applied.
Christopher Irby says that he and his wife were privately worried they had set her off on a dangerous path and that she could well be disappointed: “However, she auditioned and was accepted for a 3-day trial at the school to see how she fitted in. By April 2008 she had started at the school and was loving every moment.”
Mr and Mrs Irby saw a lot of Irene during her three years of top class teaching at the Yehudi Menuhin School – each term they would collect her at the airport and take her back to her studies.
Christopher Irby, now in his eighties, is the Marlborough Concert Orchestra’s conductor and he was delighted to persuade Irene to play with the orchestra in 2009 and 2011. Now she will be flying in from Salzburg where she is continuing her cello studies at the Mozarteum University, to play with them again.
She will be playing Antonín Dvořák’s ever-popular Cello Concerto in B minor, Op.104.
Irene told Marlborough News Online: “Auditioning and getting into the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School changed the course of my life completely. I owe so much to Christopher and Carol Irby.”
“Therefore coming back to Marlborough and playing my favourite concerto of all time with Marlborough Concert Orchestra is another dream come true! I am very much looking forward to the concert.”
Irene has played with the Dutch Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Pro Arte Orchestra of Taiwan.
As a professional cellist, Christopher Irby was a member of the Bournemouth Symphony, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He has played under many well- known conductors including Andre Previn, Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Malcolm Sargent. His wife, Carol, is a violinist and plays with the Marlborough Concert Orchestra.
The Marlborough Concert Orchestra plays light and popular classical music. It aims to hold enjoyable – even entertaining – rehearsals and to perform three concerts a year. Information about its rehearsals and joining the players can be found on its website.
You can find details of the Marlborough Concert Orchestra’s Christmas Concert programme and how to get tickets at our What’s On calendar.