New BRACE Ambassador and world class violinist Julia Hwang organised and performed in a concert for BRACE at the end of January. It was held in the Old Divinity School at St John's College in Cambridge, where Julia is a student.

The concert was a resounding success and raised £500 on the night. We would like to thank Julia and the other performers, together with the Master of the College and everyone who supported the concert in any way. This follows the announcement earlier in January that Julia had become an Ambassador, a huge boost for the charity. You can read about Julia on her website.

Long standing BRACE volunteers Pat and Roger Higgins, from North Somerset, travelled to Cambridge for the occasion. Pat has kindly sent us a report on the concert, which we have reproduced here:

It was an absolute delight to attend Julia's first concert as an Ambassador for BRACE. The beautifully restored venue is one of Cambridge's main concert halls and was almost full for Julia's performance.

The audience eagerly anticipating Julia's performance were first entertained by the magnificent Gentlemen of St. John's, a world renowned choir. Their choice of songs from Cole Porter to traditional folk was an excellent start to the programme.  The Gents announcing, to the amusement of the audience, it was their privilege to be the “warm up” for Julia.

A very glamorous Julia arrived on stage dressed in a long black sequined gown. Her entrance with Charles Matthews, her accompanist, was met with spontaneous applause. 

Charles is in great demand both as a soloist and accompanist.  He has won numerous international awards.  His most recent solo recording is of Francis Routh's cycle The Well-Tempered Pianist. 

Julia's first piece, a performance of Beethoven's Violin Sonata No.1 Op.12/1, was followed by Subito by Witold Lutoslawski and finally, Fantaisie Brillante sur des motifs de l'Opera Faust de Gounod, Op.20 composed by Henryk Wieniawaski.

These works were met with rapturous applause from an appreciative audience which in turn gave us not one, but two encores.  A measure indeed of Julia's virtuosity on her Peter Guarnerius of Mantua, c.1698 violin.  The obvious musical rapport she shares with Charles was a joy to behold. 

When the applause eventually quietened, Julia said how proud she was to be an Ambassador for BRACE.  This statement was echoed by Professor Christopher Dobson, The Master of St. John's College.  He is so proud that Julia is a student of his College. 

Professor Dobson and his wife, Mary kindly hosted a post concert reception in The Master's Lodge.  I would like to thank them for their hospitality and to also mention that it was a pleasure to meet with so many guests. Among these were Sophie and Nathan Ingram. Sophie, who is the daughter of a trustee, was kindly representing BRACE. 

May I finally say a grateful thank you to Julia and her fellow students who worked so hard to make this concert the most amazing success.