Philharmonia Orchestra brings free performances and virtual reality installations to Bedford in March

Eunsley Park on stage, talking to another player holding her violin
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra is Bedford’s resident orchestra – home at Bedford Corn Exchange since 1995
  • The Philharmonia performs two concerts at Bedford Corn Exchange: Beethoven & Bruch with Nicola Benedetti (12 March) and Beethoven & Mozart with Martin Helmchen (10 May)
  • The Orchestra brings three days of free activity in March, with pop up performances and installations throughout the Bedford community

Over three days in March, the Philharmonia Orchestra will bring pop up performances and installations to audiences in Bedford. Quintets and trios of Philharmonia players will take music outside of the concert hall, as they met audiences in a series of locations throughout Bedford town. The Philharmonia’s activity takes place on Friday 1 March, Saturday 2 March and Saturday 9 March. There will be accompanying VR (virtual reality) activity on Friday 1 and Saturday 9 March. All events are free and open to all.

On Friday 1 March, they will present Just for You – a day of informal performances at the Harpur Centre. Five Philharmonia musicians present short performances throughout the day – meet the musicians and find out what their instruments can do. They will perform popular pieces, and there will be the opportunity for audiences to get involved in the music-making. Audiences can then try the Philharmonia’s immersive VR installation – put on a headset and experience what it’s like to sit in the middle of a world class orchestra.

The following day, Saturday 2 March, the Philharmonia will present Music in Unexpected Places. In collaboration with local businesses, three trios of Philharmonia musicians perform short, free concerts across the day. The venues are the Higgins Museum, Bedford Central Library, Kempston Library, Damiano Hair, the Barley Mow pub, The Standard pub, Samsons Academy Gym, Bedford Bus Station and Queens Park Family Hub.

The timetable for performances is below:

  • 10:30 – Damiano Hair
  • 11:00 – Kempston Library
  • 11:00 – Bedford Central Library
  • 13:00 – Higgins Museum
  • 13:00 – Queens Park Family Hub
  • 14:00 – Samsons Academy Gym
  • 15:30 – Barley Mow pub
  • 16:00 – The Standard pub
  • To be confirmed: Bedford Bus Station

The final day of activity will be Saturday 9 March. A group of Philharmonia musicians will present an Interactive Insight session at St Paul’s Church. The musicians will take the audience on a deep dive into the music of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, which the Orchestra then performs the following Tuesday (12 March) in concert at Bedford Corn Exchange. Audiences will learn about the motifs and structure of the piece in an immersive session of learning. After the Interactive Insight, audiences can again try the Philharmonia’s VR headsets and experience the music of Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams from centre-stage.

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

For more information, images and comment, please contact: Natasha Mallett (