Classical Events

Classical Events Newsletter

September 2016


Jonathan Heaton (Classical Events) interviews
Leo Patsalides (Artistic Director, Amati Orchestra) and Vashti Hunter (cellist)

In 2012 Vashti Hunter became the first British cellist to win a Laureate title at the Prague Spring International Music Competition. She performs the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Amati Orchestra and Leo Patsalides in London on November 26th.

JH: Why did you decide to found the Amati Orchestra?

LP: The vision was to create an advanced amateur symphony orchestra in the City of London, performing the great symphonic and classical repertoire, all working together within a collaborative environment.

JH: What is the background of your players?

LP: Our members are entirely made-up of advanced amateurs who play to a very high level, professional musicians, and music college students. Many of our players studied at music college or university, and three of our members (Principal Clarinet Andrew Lewandowski, Principal Horn Jonathan West, and Leader Edouard Alexandre Wood) have publicly performed concertos with the orchestra.

JH: On September 25th you have an open rehearsal as part of the BBC Music – Get Playing. Can you tell us more about this?

LP: We're celebrating five years since Amati began, and decided to have a weekend rehearsal revisiting some of the works we've performed. We noticed that all the works on the playlist are incredibly popular (Elgar Enigma Variations, Beethoven Symphony No 7, Mozart Clarinet Concerto, Grieg Piano Concerto, et al), so we decided to turn this into an Open Rehearsal. We are delighted that the BBC has agreed to make this part of BBC Music - Get Playing.

JH: Your programming focuses almost exclusively on the Classical and Romantic eras. Do you have plans to extend your repertoire?

LP: Our programming has evolved far more than initially meets the eye. We're wary of repetition, and conscious of varying the repertoire from season to season. The general plan is that no two or three consecutive seasons will be alike. Every year, we consult our members for suggestions on the repertoire, and use this feedback to build concert programmes which fit the current membership profile, and which is likely to appeal to an audience.

JH: In a nutshell what's the key to success for the orchestra?

LP: It’s about creating a collaborative environment, enjoying working hard together on great pieces, and preparing outstanding performances to share with our audiences.

Vashti Hunter

JH: At what age did you first start learning the cello? Was the decision yours alone or were you given guidance?

VH: I come from a musical family so it seemed natural for me to start learning an instrument. By my seventh birthday, my older brother had already started on the violin and my grandmother was a keen amateur violist. The idea came about that I learn the cello so that we could form a string trio for fun. This was reinforced when I heard with a recording of Jacqueline Du Pre. I was fascinated by her sound. My mother who is a singer, was present at all my lessons and would always practise with me. She would sometimes have to put up with me having little tantrums as I was not always such a fan of practising! With hindsight I really appreciate her patience and dedication.

JH: Who or what was the greatest influence on your development as a cellist and at what point did you feel confident that you could attain a career as a professional cellist?

VH: The two most important figures in my development were my cello teachers Roman Broide and Leonid Gorokhov - both Russians but with very different approaches. I met Roman when I was 12 and from the outset he told me that I would have to completely change technique and start from scratch. His strict and rigorous approach was daunting at first, but as I began to make rapid progress it became apparent that the technical improvements resulted in far greater freedom on the cello. As we reached more challenging repertoire, I loved how he would tell imaginative and funny stories and make connections between pieces of music and important works of literature, art and opera. Roman didn't give me the option of becoming a professional cellist: he literally told me that this was my chosen path!

JH: How has winning competitions helped to forward your career?

VH: Competitions are not what they used to be 50 years ago. These days winning a competition will not automatically secure you an international career, but it does help. For me, preparing the huge and demanding repertoire was in itself something positive and tremendously useful. In the run up to Prague Spring solo competition in 2012, I was practising in a focused manner for up to 10 hours a day. It sounds crazy (and probably is!) but I really enjoyed the chance to be 100% concentrated on music and not to have to worry or be distracted by anything else. For my piano trio, Trio Gaspard, the three international competitions we won helped us in a more practical way, in that they gave us concert opportunities and exposure to music agents.

JH: You are a founding member of Trio Gaspard. What are you working on at the moment?

VH: I feel so lucky and privileged to be part of a successful fixed ensemble. It's a challenging job but it is my passion and absolutely worth all the hard work! We are very excited to be performing our debut at Berlin's prestigious Philharmonie in November. This concert will be recorded by German Radio and will be released on CD next year. Our upcoming UK appearances include a performance in the 19th November at the Oxshott and Cobham Music Society near London and on the 25th in Belfast, which will be live on the BBC. For more details link to our web site here.

JH: What are your most memorable performances?

VH: The final of the Prague Spring Cello Competition has to be one of these. It felt very special to be performing Dvorak Cello Concerto in the Rudolfinum, one of Europe's oldest halls and where Dvorak himself conducted the hall's inaugural concert in 1896. Another concert close to my heart took place last year at a festival in Cyprus. There I performed chamber music in a beautiful ancient amphitheatre overlooking the Mediterranean sea with musical legends Ivry Gitlis and Martha Argerich. I Must also add a wonderful Production I was involved in this year called 'Szenen der Frühe', which was based on the life and madness of Robert Schumann. It incorporated music, dance and animation and resulted in a really unique and unforgettable experience for both the performers and the public. We performed the show at two important German Festivals - Podium Festival Esslingen and Heidelberger Frühling.

JH: What music do you like listening to?

VH: I always feel slightly embarrassed to admit that I don't listen to much music outside the classical genre !! Recently i have been getting more and more interested in European folk music and have seen how much it has influenced generations of classical composers. I also love listening to string quartets but can't help being secretly envious as I am not in a quartet myself! This is simply because they get the chance to perform some of the most sublime repertoire ever written.

For further information visit the web sites of Amati Orchestra, and Vashti Hunter.

Amati Orchestra concerts

Amati Orchestra
Sun 25th Sep 2:00 PM
St James' Church

As part of BBC Music - Get Playing, the Amati Orchestra has an Open Rehearsal. If you would like to take part, please visit the Amati Orchestra web site and give your details.

The afternoon rehearsal will cover well known works such as the Grieg's piano concerto and Elgar's Enigma Variations.

Amati Orchestra
Sat 26 Nov 7:30 PM
St James' Church

Now entering its 5th Season, the Amati Orchestra aims to become one of London's leading amateur orchestras. Vashti Hunter, international soloist, makes her debut performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto.

Vashti Hunter concerts

Trio Gaspard
Sat 19th Nov 8:00 PM
Holy Trinity Church

Oxshott and Cobham Music Society.

Founded in October 2010, Trio Gaspard has already given acclaimed recitals all over Europe,including venues like the Wigmore Hall, London, the Schlosstheater of Schönbrunn Palace and ORF Kulturhaus,Vienna, the NDR Rolf-Liebermann Hall,Hamburg and the Salle Molière,Lyon. Tonight's performance includes works by Haydn, Ravel and Beethoven.

Lambeth Orchestra
Sat 18th Feb 7:30 PM
All Saints Church
West Dulwich

The Lambeth Orchestra gave its first concert in 1972 and ever since has pursued a policy of performing minor works of major composers and major works of minor composers, as well as the standard concert repertoire. In 2015 Christopher Fifield conducted a recorded public performance of Frederic Cliffe's Symphony no.2 in E minor. Vashti Hunter peforms Elgar's cello concerto in tonight's concert.

Forthcoming Events

Prom 69
Mon 5th Sep 7:30 PM
The Royal Albert Hall

Daniel Barenboim and his Staatskapelle Berlin open three consecutive evenings in which a Mozart piano concerto is paired with a Bruckner symphony. ‘We shall never be able to do anything like that,’ proclaimed Beethoven when he heard Mozart’s dramatic, minor-key Piano Concerto No. 24.

As with Mozart in his concertos, with each of Bruckner’s symphonies came a keener focus of vision and honing of craft. With the Fourth, Bruckner really came of age, bringing a newfound confidence in the glowing first movement, while its statuesque Andante is a moving premonition of loss.

Thu 8th Sep 8:30 PM
St George's

Featuring music by: Vivaldi, Glenn Miller, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, Morricone & Daft Punk.

Formed by three international competitionwinning classical violin soloists — Yossif Ivanov, Lorenzo Gatto and Hrachya Avanesyan — Trilogy puts the excitement back into classical music with thrilling and unique arrangements of classical repertoire, popular songs, jazz and film music in an authentic concert experience. Already performing across Europe to audiences of over 8,000, the trio became an overnight sensation after its ‘Pulp Fiction’ video went viral.

Stellar Maris Trio
Fri 9th Sep 7:30 PM
Temple Methodist Church

Stella Maris Trio is a new ensemble formed by three professional musicians living in Devon and Somerset. The trio members are graduates of the best European music institutions such as the Academy of Music in Milan and Oxford University; the youngest member Victoria will begin her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in the Autumn. The musicians have an extensive performing experience in the UK and abroad. The combination of two different voice types, soprano and mezzo-soprano accompanied by piano, gives a rich range of concert repertoire to perform, including various arias and duets for singers and piano solo pieces. Although working collectively as an ensemble, each member is also represented as a soloist.

Victoria Armillotta - Soprano; Sam Baker- Piano; Iryna Ilnytska - Mezzo-Soprano.

Masterworks Chorale
Sat 10th Sep 7:30 PM
Rotherham Minster

All are welcome to this evening of Italian and English Choral music in a magnificent setting of Rotherham Minster. The Leeds based international touring choir perform Charles Villiers Stanford's Heraclitus and Vivaldi's Gloria. Tim Knight's Steel City Shuffle is performed by the Sheffield Flute Choir.

Sat 10th Sep 6:00 PM
St Martin-in-the-Fields

The first concert of the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London's Autumn Series features Pegasus, one of London's most accomplished chamber choirs. This choir, which celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, presents a concert of choral masterpieces from the German tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries – works imbued with a deep vein of meditation and spirituality.

Beginning with J.S. Bach’s beloved “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” the programme will explore works by Rheinberger, Bruckner, Schubert and Mendelssohn and will close with Mozart's ever-popular "Ave Verum Corpus”, all in the beautiful surroundings of a candlelit St Martin's.

Gémeaux Quartet
Sun 11th Sep 6:30 PM
Conway Hall, Camden

Representing four different nations, the Gémeaux Quartet is one of the leading ensembles of its generation. During the 2010/11 season, the Quartet made its highly acclaimed debut at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Recent highlights include concerts in Hong Kong with clarinetist Paul Meyer, a performance of Schubert’s Octet with Jörg Widmann and Bruno Schneider, an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos as well as a collaboration with the Bundesjugendballet at the Konzerthaus in Berlin.

Pre-concert talk by Joseph Fort at 5.30pm in the Brockway Room: Haydn and Brahms.

Slava Sidorenko
Thu 15th Sep 7:30 PM
Crichton Church

A piano recital, including Bach, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky.

Slava has appeared as a recital and concerto soloist in the Ukraine, Germany, Italy and many parts of the UK. He made his debut in 2009 at the Wigmore Hall as winner of the Jacques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition. The CD “Live at Wigmore Hall” was released the following year and received glowing reviews. He has also performed at the Bridgewater Hall with the Manchester Camerata. He was recently appointed as RNCM Ambassador.

Slava is also appearing at the Annan Academy on the 16 September; Broughton House & Garden, Kirkcudbright on the 17th September; and Buccleuch and Queensberry Hotel, Thornhill on the 18th September. The concert promoters are Absolute Classics (Dumfries & Galloway). Their series of concerts is from September 2016 to March 2017.

Primrose Piano Quartet
Fri 16th Sep 7:30 PM
St John the Evangelist Church
West Meon

Internationally renowned clarinettist, Michael Collins, will be joining the Primrose Piano Quartet at this year’s West Meon Music Festival to be held in the village from the 16th to 18th September. This will be the sixth year for the festival, founded by the Primrose – Susanne Stanzeleit (violin), Dorothea Vogel (viola), Andrew Fuller (cello) and John Thwaites (piano) – in 2011. This year there will be a total of seven concerts over the weekend including an informal event for children, an opportunity to hear two “rising stars” on Saturday afternoon, and a candlelit concert of Viennese classics.

Orchestra of the Swan
Wed 21st Sep 7:30 PM
Huntingdon Hall

David Le Page is the director & violinist in an exciting combination of Baroque and 20th century music. Piazzolla’s tango-inspired concerto includes percussive strings which grab the audience’s attention and delight the imagination before reverting to a more traditional style. Orchestra of the Swan has its home in Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon and is Associate Orchestra at Town Hall Birmingham.

Free pre-concert talk – What’s the Score? at 6.30pm for anyone purchasing a ticket.

Carmel Quartet
Sat 24th Sep 9:00 PM
Palace of Saint George and Saint Michael
Corfu City
Corfu Island

The performance forms part of the holiday concert programme of Corfu Holiday Music Festivals.

The Carmel Quartet was founded in 1999 and is one of the longest-standing and versatile chamber ensembles in Israel. The quartet has won prizes and awards, including First Prize in the “Prague-Vienna-Budapest” string quartet competition and first prize in the “Aviv” chamber music competition. The Carmel Quartet has appeared in concerts throughout Israel, in Europe and the USA, including a concert at Carnegie Hall. “a shapely and passionate performance, with a sizzling, visceral quality that was hard to resist”New York Times, 2004".

Wells Cathedral Choir
Sat 24th Sep 7:00 PM
Wells Cathedral

In a fundraising concert for Wells Cathedral, the world-famous choir sings the Faure Requiem, alongside other choral favourites. Jonathan Vaughn (organ) and Matthew Owens (conductor).

Opera Gala
Sun 25th Sep 7:30 PM
Dorchester Abbey

This opera gala performance with the OSJ features a number of favourites including the memorable final scene of Der Rosenkavalier and the sextet from Capriccio by Richard Strauss. The Willow Song and Ave Maria from Verdi Otello, solo arias by Puccini, Gounod and Massenet feature the voices of Francesca Saracino, Hannah Davey and Ilona Domnich.

Music Futures Festival
Mon 26th Sep 7:00 PM
Asia House, Marylebone

Turkish classical/crossover pianist AyşeDeniz Gökçin will perform Piano Four Hands with award-winning Israeli pianist Nadav Hertzka to open the Music Futures Festival on 26 September.

They will perform Schubert’s Fantasy in F Minor D.940, Brahms’ Hungarian Dances WoO1 and Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances Op. 46. Gökçin’s 2015 album Nirvana Project, which was dedicated to Kurt Cobain, merges classical-grunge and the electronic beats of Ivan Shopov. It reached the Top 10 in the UK Classical chart on iTunes.

Brodsky Quartet
Tue 27th Sep 7:30 PM
St George's

The ‘Art of Flight’ series continues with a visit from the charismatic Brodsky Quartet, performing a heady selection of some of the greatest fugal works, arranged for string quartet. Bookending the programme, which features Mozart, Mendelssohn and Zemlinksy, are Bach’s labyrinthine The Art of Fugue and Beethoven’s mighty Grosse Fuge. Experience these masterful works in a new light as the Brodsky Quartet works as one to bring their complex and intricate essence to the fore.

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Classical Events is a dedicated classical music web site, and a concert listing with picture is currently free. Whether you are a professional or amateur musician your concerts are welcome. Typically this will include concerts by orchestras, ensembles, choral groups and soloists.

Jonathan Heaton, Founder - Classical Events

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