TOMORROW The Anvil will host a special party to mark 25 years since opening.

In the quarter of a century since the concert hall open its doors to the people of Basingstoke and further afield it has created memories for all those who have stepped inside.

On May 3 the Philharmonia Orchestra will bring some of the brightest new stars of the music world to The Anvil.

One of these is composer Samantha Fernando who has been commissioned to write a piece especially for the birthday concert.

And for Fernando the honour of writing the piece has added value as she spent a lot of time at the venue as a child and it helped sparked her interest in orchestral music.

She told the Gazette: “I grew up in Wokingham and when I was at school, I was part of the choir and we used to do a lot of concerts at The Anvil.

“Every year we would do something with the Basingstoke symphony orchestra, where the choir would take part in the first half of the show and it would be orchestral music in the second half.

“Some of my first experiences of orchestral music were at the Anvil where I got to sit in the stall behind the orchestra and I was riveted to what they were doing, and I was just amazed at being that close to this thing.

“So, it was really nice to get asked to do this and write something for the venue I spent a lot of time as a child.”

The piece Fernando has written is called Breathing Space and is based upon the premise of a mindfulness meditation technique.

The exercise itself is a three-minute mini mediation, which the composer has used as a base to influence her piece.

She added: “The idea is focusing on the breath and I wanted to use that as the basis, so the piece starts very busy and then it has a bit of a calmer centre and at the end of the piece it is like re-entering the world after this calmer period.”

Along with Breathing Space, the celebration concert will feature Elgar’s cello concerto Brabbins’ Here and There and Elgar’s Enigma Variation.

For more information on the concert visit