Elgar was a first violinist in William Stockley's orchestra during the years 1882 to 1889. His first involvement with the festivals was in 1885 when the orchestra played at the festival in a performance of a new work by Stanford, “The Three Holy Children”.
His relationship with the festivals as composer commenced in 1900 when his “Dream of Gerontius” received it's first performance at the festival with Richter conducting. Details of the difficulties surrounding this performance are well documented elsewhere so I won't go into any detail here.
Three of his great oratorio's received their first performances at the Birmingham Festivals.
1900 – The Dream of Gerontius
1903 – The Apostles – Elgar conducted.
1906 – The Kingdom – Elgar conducted.
At the 1906 festival he also conducted a performance of The Apostles on the evening before The Kingdom was first performed. It is also worth noting that the last work performed at any of the festivals was him conducting The Apostles on 4th October 1912.
Other performances conducted by him at the festivals were:
Four of his Sea Pictures on 2nd October 1900 with Clara Butt as soloist. This was the evening before the first performance of The Dream of Gerontius.
We Are The Music Makers on 1st October 1912. This was at the same concert that Sibelius conducted the first performance of his 4th Symphony and Moritz Rosenthal played the Liszt Concerto. Quite a concert!