Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More for Moore!

Over at the South Bank, the magnificent Gillian Moore has a new job.

Southbank Centre has just announced that Moore, until now head of classical music, is to become Director of Music, with immediate effect.

Her task, the Centre says, is now to "bring together contemporary and classical music into one team, enabling Southbank Centre to work even more holistically and thematically across music genres. She will expand the already-acclaimed commissioning and educational remit of the music programme and work with the four resident orchestras, along with our contemporary musicians and ensembles, to deliver new and ground-breaking projects."

Moore comments: "“I'm really looking forward to expanding my work at Southbank Centre as Director of Music. This will enable us to forge a future for all music here on the South Bank, a future that is inclusive, innovative and in which as many people as possible will be able to benefit from the great riches London has to offer.”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Floury Liszt?

The great Roby Lakatos and his band take their bows at the end of an extraordinary evening yesterday in which they performed a special gig at the Amati Exhibition at the Langham, London. As editor of the Amati Magazine, I had the enviable task of introducing them and was therefore able to sit right at the front, at times virtually underneath Roby's violin as he strolled around... and also right next to the cimbalom, an instrument that in my next life I'd like to learn to play.

Roby's cimbalom virtuoso is the great Jeno Lisztes, a performer I've seen and marvelled at many times over. Yesterday his performances included a version of The Flight of the Bumble Bee which...well, I'm sorry, Yuja, but you've got competition there. Having been curious about his name and any possible relation to a certain other Hungarian name that is similar but shorter, I finally got to ask him the billion-pound question, "So, has 'Lisztes' got anything to do with Franz Liszt?"

Now, here's a little correction. "Liszt", he says, means "flour" in Hungarian. "Lisztes" means "floury". I heard "flower" and "flowery", but an eagle-eyed, Hungarian-literate reader has put me straight...

 So...yes and no. And a smile. And, perhaps, a mystery. But if the piano had Liszt, the cimbalom has Lisztes. That much is clear.

For this occasion Roby played the "Ex-Stevens" Strad of 1690, lent by Florian Leonhard for the occasion. In the glass case towards the back of the room is the 'Barjansky' Strad cello, likewise of 1690, which Julian Lloyd Webber has put up for sale (also via Leonhard). Standing in front of it is its bodyguard!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

RIP Ronald Stevenson (1928 - 2015)

The sad news has just reached us that one of the giants of contemporary music in the UK has died. The great Ronald Stevenson, composer and pianist - indeed, composer-pianist - was described by some as a Lisztian figure for our times. A composer outside the mainstream, with Busoni among his most powerful influences, he held true to the integrity of his own voice throughout, was immensely loved and respected, and has been deeply influential - and will remain so for years to come.

Learn more about Stevenson and his life and music at the Ronald Stevenson Society, here.

Here is an introduction to one of his most celebrated pieces, the gigantic Passacaglia on D-S-C-H, from Marc-André Hamelin and Stevenson himself.

And here is an incredibly beautiful piece entitled 'In the Silent Night', from L'art nouveau de chant appliqué au piano, Vol 1, played by Stevenson's friend and devoted advocate, Murray McLachlan.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Oh, all right then...

... it's Friday, it's gone 4 o'clock and it's high time we had a quick look at what Jonas Kaufmann is up to.

Singing Walther in Meistersinger in Munich, that's what - on the near horizon. Opening night is 16 May 2016, Kirill Petrenko conducts, Sara Jakubiak sings Eva and Wolfgang Koch is Hans Sachs.

It will be Kaufmann's first time in the role on stage - he sang it once before in concert at the Edinburgh Festival - and the Bayerische Staatsoper has issued this trailer in which he and the director David Bösch talk about the challenges that Wagner's glorious opera poses for them both. (With English subtitles.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More workshops for Morley - details

Morley College has announced the next in its series of workshops for young women music students to try their hands at conducting, led by the conductor Alice Farnham:


WC4In March 2014 Morley College ran its first Women Conductors weekend workshop. This was developed in response to wide spread media coverage at the time that commented on the lack of female conductors in the industry. It is designed to create more opportunities for young women to try out orchestral conducting, and is led by acclaimed conductor Alice Farnham.
With generous funding and support from Arts Council England the weekend workshops will run during 2015-16. They will be led by Alice Farnham with stagecraft and body language coaches Alma Sheehan and Shirley Keane. In addition students will be given practical experience of conducting small professional ensembles. View the weekend workshop programme and learn more about the tutors.
Upcoming workshop dates:
9-10 May 2015, Oxford University
30-31 May 2015, Leeds College of Music
Further workshops will be held throughout the UK during 2015/16.
The workshops are open for application from women aged 16-25 or in full-time music education either in conservatoires, university or in sixth form and planning to study music full time. Whilst students who already have conducting experience will find this rewarding and challenging, it is also open to students who may think conducting is not for them, but are willing to try it out.
Outstanding workshop participants will be selected to take part in the final masterclass day with a leading female conductor and a full orchestra, as part of the Women Conductors at Morley event in 2016.
Participant fee = £150
Observer fee = £40
How to apply:
Send a one page CV alongside a 500 word statement on why you would like to take part in the workshop to womenconductors@morleycollege.ac.uk