A musical feast to mark 150 years of John Lewis

Monday 24 November 2014

The John Lewis Partnership, which also owns the Waitrose chain of supermarkets, has commissioned world renowned composer Bob Chilcott to write a unique piece of music to mark John Lewis' 150th anniversary.

The special composition will be performed this Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall by the Partnership's orchestra, the Cavendish Ensemble. Singers will come from Waitrose and John Lewis branches up and down the country.

'In a business that has music in its DNA, this is a unique, special way to close a year of celebration,' said Andy Street, Managing Director, John Lewis. 'Now members of the public, as well as Partners from Waitrose and John Lewis, will be able to witness the world premiere of Chilcott's Wenceslas.'

Chilcott, a former member of the Kings Singers, principal guest conductor of the BBC Singers, and Oxford University Press composer, was commissioned by Manvinder Rattan, the Partnership's Musical Director.

The music tells the story of the tenth Century Czech legend of a King (Wenceslas) and his page (Podiven), delivering alms on a bitterly cold winter's night with the traditional verses by J.M Neale interwoven with text by poet, and good friend of the composer, Charles Bennett.

Bob Chilcott said, 'Music is part of the fabric of the John Lewis Partnership, with voice and instrumental tuition available to those who work for Waitrose or John Lewis. When composing the piece, I couldn't help think that the journey of King and Page could be one taken by delivery drivers in foul weather to ensure that customers get their groceries!'

'The Partnership has a long established involvement in music and we are proud of that,' said Manvinder Rattan, the Partnership's Musical Director.

The evening will also feature orchestral seasonal classics including Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.

Notes to Editors

Tickets to the John Lewis Partnership Christmas Concert are available now from the Royal Albert Hall.
Royal Albert Hall box office on: 0845 401 5034.

The John Lewis Partnership - The John Lewis Partnership operates 43 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores, 10 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2), johnlewis.com, 331 Waitrose shops, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £10bn. It is the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 90,000 staff are Partners in the business.


For further information please contact:

Neil Spring
Group Senior External Communications Manager
Telephone: 020 7592 6296