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A Visual Symphony Concert for Children

The Three Bears: A Phantasy by Eric Coates (1928)

This lively and high-spirited Symphony piece by Eric Coates has now been made even more accessible for children with illustrations made by Helga Arnalds.

The piece is based on the classical fairytale about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

The story lends itself especially well to picturesque instrumental treatment and the fact that every hearer is familiar with it will make this work easily understandable without words.

In this version by Eric Coles, we get to watch Goldilocks stealing quietly down the stairs and listen to the ticking of the clock which suddenly strikes five beats. When she is walking in the woods and enjoying the awakening of nature, exciting music is heard and her nock at the door is accompanied by the Robbin's warning but the girl walks in without hesitation and the arrival of the Bears is unmistakable. 

The rich ink-painted illustrations are projected on a big screen behind the orchestra so the audience can follow and rest deeper in the musical experience.


Duration: 10 min.

Age group: 3 - 9 years

Composer: Eric Coates

Illustrations: Helga Arnalds

The concert with the illustrations by Helga Arnalds was first performed by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra in Harpa Reykjavik in 2017 conducted by Bernhard Wilkinson.


The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra is in charge of extensive educational activities. Every year the orchestra offers series of concerts of high quality for children and their families. Through the years the orchestra has aimed to cooperate with outstanding artists working in various art fields in order to make the experience of the concert even more memorable and to introduce music in diverse ways.

The orchestra´s cooperation with Helga Arnalds has been both creative and rewarding.

This cooperation included two works: The Three Bears and the Monster my little Sister. Helga illustrated the Three Bears in an impressive way and made an old dream come true - the possibility to play this music by Eric Coates for children where illustrations are in the role of the storyteller.

Helga´s story about the Monster my little sister is an extremely artistic work and it was like magic to see it develop into the world of music. The work deals with feelings and love in a unique and human way and the result was a powerful and beautiful experience returning the orchestra´s audience home in a joyful mood. 

Hjördís Ástráðsdóttir

Educational Director

Iceland Symphony Orchestra 

Wonderful to be able to participate in this elegant concert.

Preschool Principal

We had a fascinating moment with the Symphonic Orchestra

Preschool Principal

When I saw the theatre performance about Bjartur getting a little sister who turned out to be a monster, I was fascinated by this modern fairy tale. The magic that Helga Arnalds created with paper images is unforgettable. Now the story has been turned into a symphony with Eivör Pálsdóttir’s music and the magic continues allowing children of all ages to travel with Bjartur and the little monster through this emotional and exciting adventure all the way to the end of the world and back again. 

In the second part of the concert where Goldilocks and the Three Bears are in the main roles, there is again this paper magic created by Helga Arnalds who decorated the work with paper puppets, a magic that strengthens our experience of the music.

I can easily recommend this concert for children between three years and one hundred.

​Jóna Björk Guðnadóttir spectator

This was superb. The children and the teachers are completely blown away. 

Preschool Director

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