Wigmore Hall Commissioning Series
28 Jun 2019

The Radcliffe Trust is proud to be partnering Wigmore Hall in an important series of chamber music commissions.  Initiated as part of our Tercentenary, the series fell naturally into two parts, the first comprising six new string quartets; and the second, a quartet, sextet, and octet commissioned from 2016 through to 2019.

The composers are British, some well-established and some relatively early in their careers, and the performers chosen from amongst the leading chamber musicians of our time.  All nine new works will be premiered at Wigmore Hall.

The commissions were conceived to reflect the Trust’s long-standing interests in both chamber music and composition, and to look to the future with the creation of an important addition to the chamber music canon.

As well as adding significantly to the string quartet repertoire, it is hoped that the commissions will act as “companion pieces” to already-established chamber works for larger ensembles.  By so doing, the new works stand a good chance of finding regular performances in the future.

The series started with a new composition by Mark-Anthony Turnage which was co-commissioned by Wigmore Hall, The Radcliffe Trust and NMC Recordings.

The following performances were premiered at The Wigmore Hall and recorded by the NMC:

  • Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new work for the Belcea Quartet was performed in December 2014
  • Simon Holt’s composition for the JACK Quartet was performed in January 2015
  • In June 2015, the Carducci Quartet with the cellist Guy Johnson performed Anthony Gilbert’s string quintet “Haven of Mysteries”, in a programme which also included the great Schubert two cello quintet in C
  • In July 2016, a commissioned work for string quartet, by Donnacha Dennehy, was performed by the Doric String Quartet
  • Anna Meredith’s commission was premiered by Aurora Orchestra on 24th September 2016
  • Elias Quartet performed Paul Newland’s commission in May 2017
  • Alexander Goehr commission was premiered in September 2017 by the Nash Ensemble Quartet
  • In February 2019 Collin Matthew’s composition was performed by Britten Sinfonia.

The NMC has already released the first volume of these recordings, titled “Bracing Change”, which includes the compositions of Simon Holt, Donnacha Dennehy & Anthony Gilbert.

A further two albums are scheduled to be released in Spring 2020 and Winter 2021.

The final event of the Commissioning Series will be on 10th July 2021 at Wigmore Hall, performed by Heath String Quartet.  It will be the European premiere of the Helen Grime quartet composition.

The statue of Dr John Radcliffe at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford
28 Jun 2019

The 25th September 2018 marked the unveiling of the statue of Dr John Radcliffe, situated at Green Templeton College, Oxford.

The Radcliffe Trust has a long history with the city and University of Oxford having provided funding to build the Radcliffe Camera, the Radcliffe Observatory and the Radcliffe Infirmary. Given the Trust’s Tercentenary, it seemed appropriate for this connection to be commemorated with a statue in memory of Dr Radcliffe.  To that end, The Radcliffe Trust commissioned Martin Jennings to produce a suitable portrait of the doctor.

Martin Jennings is a well-known and celebrated sculptor, having created works of many famous people including Mary Seacole, situated outside St Thomas’ Hospital; Charles Dickens in Portsmouth; and George Orwell outside Broadcasting House.

The unveiling was a huge success with individuals from both The Radcliffe Trust and Green Templeton College there to celebrate this fitting new display. Felix Warnock, the Chairman of The Radcliffe Trust at the time, reflected on Dr Radcliffe’s legacy and how it remains relevant today. You can read his comments here.

This statue was commissioned as part of the commemoration of the Tercentenary of The Radcliffe Trust, together with:

For more information about the unveiling of the statue of Doctor John Radcliffe, please use the following links:

The Oxford Mail :  John Radcliffe is honoured with bronze statue in Oxford

The University of Oxford News: New statue of John Radcliffe unveiled

The Balfour of Burleigh Tercentenary Prizes for Exceptional Achievement in Crafts
24 Nov 2015

In 2014-2015 the Radcliffe Trust (RT) is commemorating the 300th anniversary of its establishment by Dr John Radcliffe of Oxford.  As part of its Tercentenary, the Trust has celebrated the achievements of the many extraordinary organisations and individuals it has supported over the years with the Balfour of Burleigh Tercentenary Prizes for Exceptional Achievement in Crafts. These prizes are named in honour of Lord Balfour of Burleigh who retired as a Trustee in 2014 after 40 years’ distinguished service to the Radcliffe Trust and, in particular, to the Trust’s Heritage & Crafts programme.




Radcliffe Trust grantee organisations were invited to nominate individuals they felt had demonstrated exceptional achievement in crafts and excellence in a particular field. For our purposes, by the term Crafts we intend the whole sector currently covered by the Radcliffe Trust Heritage & Crafts grants programme: designer-making, heritage crafts, rural crafts, building crafts, conservation crafts and artefact conservation.

We received a wonderful response to this call.  All the letters spoke of excellence and expressed the exceptional dedication, skills and achievements of the individuals concerned in all fields of crafts and conservation.  They also spoke with moving warmth and respect of their colleagues. This was a tribute both to the individuals and to the organisations who have supported and nominated them.

Given the very high standard of the nominations, the Trustees recognise that to have received a nomination constitutes, of itself, an outstanding distinction and all nominees have received certificates of excellence to mark their achievements. In addition to this, a number of special prizes were presented in person by Lord and Lady Balfour at a celebratory dinner held in London on 24th November.  Sir Christopher Frayling was our special guest and toasted the health of the Radcliffe Trust as it moves into its fourth century of operations.

The Radcliffe trustees offer their thanks to the nominating bodies and their sincere congratulations to all nominees and prize winners.



The nominees were:


Organisation Nominee Organisation Nominee
Ashmolean Museum Timothy Newbery National Trust Ksynia Marko
Bishopsland Educational Trust Penelope Ann & Oliver Makower* National Trust Trevor Hardy
Bodleian Libraries Sabina Pugh* North Lands Creative Glass James Maskrey
British Film Institute Felicity Nesbitt Norton Priory Altomont Townsend
Canal & Rivers Trust Hayley Garrod Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment Jonny Anderson
Canterbury Cathedral Darren McCulloch-Smith Prince’s Trust Catherine Keenan
City & Guilds of London Art School Kirsten Walsh Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust Shem Mackey
Cockpit Arts Vanessa Swann* Royal School of Needlework Jenny Adin Christie
College of Arms Christopher Harvey Scottish Lime Centre Scott MacAskill
Edward Barnsley Educational Trust Hamish Low Scottish Stained Glass Symposium & Trust Douglas Hogg
Gloucester Cathedral Pascal Mychalysin* St Mary’s Cathedral Sarah Grotain*
Guildhall Art Gallery Judith Wetherall* Textile Conservation Centre Karen Finch*
Heritage Craft Association Gail McGarva* Victoria & Albert Museum Alan Derbyshire
Heritage Craft Association Lida Kindersley Weald & Downland Open Air Museum Roger Champion*
Heritage Craft Association Hector Cole West Dean College Shayne Rivers
Heritage Craft Association Ewan Clayton York Glaziers Trust Nick Teed*
ICON Elizabeth Neville York Minster John Sutcliffe
Lettering & Commemorative Arts Trust Harriet Frazer* Yorkshire Artspace Cameron Maxfield

* special prizes.


30 Nov 2014

A new composition by Orlando Gough, developed through research in the Respiratory Medicine department at the Churchill Hospital. The composition highlights breath as an essential part of the human life cycle. This new piece of music theatre was performed at The North Wall by three women who sing about breath from birth to death.


“Remembering Radcliffe: 300 years of science and philanthropy”
28 Nov 2014

The Bodleian Libraries’ winter 2014 exhibition celebrated the life and legacy of John Radcliffe, a physician and philanthropist who left a lasting mark on the University and city of Oxford.

The exhibition considered his legacy to Oxford, and the three buildings in the city which bear his name: the Radcliffe Infirmary, the Radcliffe Observatory, and the Radcliffe Camera: the first circular library in Britain, and one of the country’s most distinctive and recognisable buildings. The exhibition also looked at Radcliffe’s ongoing legacy in the work of the Radcliffe Trust as it marked the 300th anniversary of his death.

The exhibition ran from 28th November 2014 to 20th March 2015.

Link to The Bodleian website for more information.