Three evening concerts are to be held this summer in a woodland glade beside Jack's Lake -- a chance to enjoy classical music in the open air while celebrating the popularity and appeal of Monken Hadley Common.


Under their director, New Barnet opera singer Ilona Domnich, a group of internationally acclaimed, award winning musicians and opera singers will perform in June, July, and August.

This is the fourth year that Ilona has organised her well-attended Music by Jack’s Lake events.

Her latest programme of classical concerts is the most ambitious so far -- and is also a chance to help promote the task of preserving and maintaining the woods and common land that stretch from Monken Hadley towards Cockfosters.

Monken Hadley Common Trust, which is run entirely by volunteers – and which is wholly dependent on donations and subscriptions – has worked closely with Ilona in expanding her concerts.

“We are now a charity. It is the trust that owns Hadley Common. We are responsible for its upkeep – not Barnet Council,” said John Hall, one of the trustees.

“Our aim is to build up our membership. Ilona’s concerts by the lake are wonderful way to help publicise our work.”

John – seen above with Ilona – hopes that by helping to stage such events the trust can boost local awareness about the importance of protecting Hadley Wood and its place within Green Belt around Barnet.

“We hope the concerts will trigger an appreciation of what we do and encourage people to become members of the trust. The annual subscription fee is a minimum of £25 and we do need more support, especially with the cost of looking after the trees of providing flood relief.”

The concerts are free, but cash and card donations will be collected. Proceeds will be shared between the trust and heling to finance Ilona’s plan to establish a bursary for a young musician at the World Heart Beat Music Academy in Nine Elms.

Ilona is delighted that support for the concerts has grown since the first was held in 2021.

The first of the 2024 concerts on Sunday 9 June will feature two opera singers, Ilona herself and Jean-Kristof Bouton with pianist and violinist Charles Mutter.

The second concert on Saturday 13 July will feature a repertoire including music for harp and violin and the final concert on Saturday 3 August will be a programme of music for accordion, piano and violin.

Ilona says the popularity of the concerts encouraged her to expand the programme.

“This natural wooded auditorium beside the lake is a magical setting, especially in the early evening with the setting sun.

“When I walk the dog here people now recognise me and keep asking about news of this summer’s concerts.

“When I first had the idea, my aim was to bring the community together to enjoy nature and music and I think we are achieving that with the help of the Hadley Common Trust.”

Ilona’s journey to New Barnet – where her son is a pupil at JCoSS, the Jewish Community Secondary School – helps explain her determination to widen the appeal of classical music and help young musicians.

She was born in St Petersburg in Russia (her father is Ukrainian) and they moved to Israel when she was 13.

Aged 21, she came to London on a scholarship at the Royal College of Music where she trained as an opera singer.

“In my first year I was helped by the late Mrs Marcia Elton who sponsored me and introduced me to London.

“So, I would love to establish a scholarship or bursary to help a young musician who might be struggling financially. The award will be in the name of  Marcia Elton in recognition of the support and assistance that she gave to me. ”

Ilona has performed with various orchestras including English National Opera, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Scottish National Symphony Orchestra.