The Concert for Nepal

Spitalfields Market

September 2015

A Music Marathon in aid of Unicef UK's Earthquake Appeal in Nepal. We are delighted to have raised over £11,000 for Unicef UK's Nepal Earthquake Appeal.

“Every single event in aid of Nepal’s stricken communities and shattered infrastructure is valuable beyond words. My warmest thanks and admiration are with... those playing, and those listening, and all the kind and generous donors who have made this concert possible.”
Joanna Lumley OBE


On Sunday 6th September 2015 Spitalfields Market in London played host to an entire afternoon of classical music, dance and spoken word in order to fundraise for Unicef’s Earthquake Appeal.


Performers from all stages in their careers – from world-class performers to new, young talent – came together in order to raise a considerable amount of money for Unicef’s relief work in Nepal.


Situated in the gateway to the market, underneath the canvas canopy in Bishops Square, audience members were free to come and go as they pleased. The event was entirely free but generous donations were encouraged.


The concert consisted of soloists, choirs and traditional Nepalese dances. Member of the British Gurkha Veterans Association were present in uniform to show their support and encourage cash donations in collection buckets.

Who & What

Producers - Sophie Gilpin, Michael Thrift & Mike Dewis

Conductor - Michael Thrift

Ben Woodward - Assistant Conductor

Pianist - Nigel Foster

Pianist - Kelvin Lim

Pianist - Ben San Lau

Pianist - Ian Tindale

Lute - Jamie Ackers


12:30 - Orchestra & Piano


Flora McIntosh - Mezzo Soprano

Andrew Robinson - Bass

Howard Weyman - Baritone

Oliver Gibbs - Baritone

Claire Wild - Soprano

Samuel Evans - Baritone

Mary Wyn Williams - Soprano

13:15 - Orchestra & Piano


Nepali Dancers

Victoria Simmonds - Mezzo Soprano

Claire Wild - Soprano

Samuel Evans - Baritone

Nichola Bingham - Soprano

Philip O'Brien - Tenor

James Laing - Countertenor

14:00 - Piano


Nepali Dancers

Mike Dewis - Baritone

Caroline Kennedy - Soprano

Maud Millar - Soprano

Stephen Holloway - Bass Baritone

James Laing - Countertenor

Freddie De Tommaso - Tenor

14:45 - Orchestra & Piano


Nepali Dancers

Carleen Ebbs - Soprano

Pamela Hay - Soprano

Oliver Gibbs - Baritone

Rob Gildon - Baritone

Danae Eleni - Soprano

Simone Hellier - Soprano

Stephen Holloway - Bass Baritone

15:30 - Orchestra & Piano


Nepali Dancers

Simone Hellier - Soprano

Millie Forrest - Soprano

Freddie De Tommaso - Tenor

Katie Bird - Soprano

Alex Edwards - Tenor

16:15 - Piano


Nepali Dancers

Mary Nelson - Soprano

Mike Dewis - Beritone

Sandra Porter - Mezzo Soprano

John Milne - Bass

Phillipa Thomas - Mezzo Soprano

17:00 - Orchestra & Piano


Nepali Dancers

Chris Marlow - Baritone

Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Pamela Hay -Soprano

Valerie Reid - Soprano

Graeme Danby - Bass

Justine Viani - Soprano

17:50 - Orchestra & Piano


Nepali Dancers

Danae Eleni -Soprano

Hannah Pedley - Mezzo Soprano

Graeme Danby - Bass

The Earthquakes

Two major earthquakes, on 25 April and 12 May, left more than 8,600 people dead and over 22,000 injured. There have been 75 aftershocks and around 3,000 landslides. The aftershocks and the second quake caused widespread fear and panic in the capital Kathmandu, where at least half a million Nepalese lost their homes and are living in makeshift camps. These events have further traumatised the people of Nepal and presented greater challenges to humanitarian aid operations.


More than three-quarters of the buildings in Kathmandu are classifed as unsafe, Over 760,000 houses have been destroyed, 1000 public health facilities have been damaged and 30,000 classrooms destroyed or damaged beyond use. Road travel continues to be threatened by landslides and unstable buildings.


The window of opportunity to reach all affected children, including in the remote, mountainous areas, is narrowing as the monsoon season is due in mid June. The arrival of the monsoon also increases the likelihood of further landslides. Unicef is developing a contingency plan to reach children in the earthquake-affected and landslide-prone areas during the monsoon.

Photographer: Chandra Shekhar Karki

On 10 May 2015, Saraswoti Karki, auxiliary nurse and midwife (ANM) of Jalkeni health post stands in front of the collapsed health post.

Why We Did This

Sophie Gilpin - our Artistic Director - has a sister who was in Nepal during both earthquakes. She was playing music in Pokhara when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck. Luckily she was safe but many people in Nepal, India and the surrounding areas were  - and still are - not. Phoebe stayed in Pokhara for another month to help with immediate relief work in mountain villages close by that had been cut off from international aid. They rebuilt a school and provided temporary shelter for families left with nowhere to live.


The small team in Pokhara is just one example of the many people across the country who banded together to provide whatever help they could at the time. But this has all been taking place on a very small scale. Supporting a major international charity enabled us to extend our reach further and faster. And what better way to make a difference than utilising the skills that we already have?


Back in May, Sophie connected with baritone Mike Dewis (who performed in HeadFirst's inaugural concert back in 2013) and conductor Michael Thrift to organise The Concert for Nepal. It is not often that professional artists have the opportunity to save lives simply by doing what we do. This was an opportunity to do just that.

"When a country is hit by one earthquake it is a disaster - but to be hit by two is a catastrophe. Those of us who are able need to raise money and awareness to help those who are so desperately in need. Music and, especially singing for me, is a worldwide language and one that I hope will unite many people in performing and giving what they can."

Graeme Danby, baritone

Photographer: Chandra Shekhar Karki

An elderly man saves himself from the rain in front of a house damaged by the earthquake.

What is UNICEF doing?

“We are looking forward – but we cannot ignore the desperate situation that still face so many children across the country. So many young lives have been torn apart and children are still in desperate need of life-saving support, including clean water, health services, nutrition and counselling.”

Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia


An estimated 70,000 children under the age of five urgently need life-saving food to prevent malnutrition. During the monsoon season, children are  at heightened risk of disease and infection. The Ministry of Health and Population has stated that earthquake-affected districts are at an increasing risk of disease epidemics as 74 per cent of water is unsuitable for drinking.


Unicef has over 200 staff working in Kathmandu and the surrounding area, delivering clean water and other life-saving supplies to children and families in danger, However almost all of the hospitals in the affected districts have been destroyed and many of the affected people are in remote areas. 


  • £77 could provide life-saving salts to rehydrate 250 children in an emergencies like the earthquake in Nepal.

  • £55 could provide emergency water kits for 5 families following the devastating Nepal earthquake.

  • £19 could provide 5,000 water purification tablets so children and families affected by the Nepal earthquake have clean, safe water.

Photographer: Chandra Shekhar Karki

On 10 May 2015, Manisha Pariyar uses a mobile phone to speak to psychologist live on air during the UNICEF-supported radio programme Bhandai Sundai while Rabina Shrestha listens nearby.