Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Autumn at St John's Smith Square

Artur Pizzaro
Artur Pizzaro
The Autumn season at St John's Smith Square is an interesting mixture of the old and the new. There is a new Young Artists Programme, plus the Sunday at St Johns, whilst music varies from premieres of works by Harrison Birtwistle, Stephen Montague and Alexander Campkin, to the Early Opera Company in Rameau and actor Simon Russell Beale as Debussy. Whilst pianist Artur Pizarro returns with his Rachminov series.

St Johns is starting its own Young Artists Programme. Always known for its support of artists early in their career, the hall has developed a Young Artists programme with four performers/groups this year, clarinettist Anna Hashimoto (8/11), the Aurea Quartet, guitarist Laura Snowden (15/9) and the Zelkova Quartet (4/12). All will be performing during the season.

Another new initiative is the series Sunday at St Johns, with chamber music and song in concerts including The Brook Street Band in Bach and Handel (28/11), and from Nicky Spence, Marcus Farnsworth and Audrey Hyland in RVW, Britten and Schubert (21/9).


Pianist Artur Pizarro continues his exploration of Rachmaninov's complete piano music (24/9, 11/11, 10/12). And the Henschel Quartet celebrates its 20th anniversary with the Brahms Piano Quintet, with Martino Tirimo (11/11). Pianist David Owen Norris, cellist Joseph Spooner and tenor Mark Wilde explore music from the Great War (5/10. The Salomon Orchestra under conductor Philip Hesketh perform Josef Suk's Asrael Symphony along with the cello concerto by Suk's father-in-law Dvorak, Guy Johnston as soloist (14/10).

Contemporary music features heavily in the season, with guitarist Andrey Lebedev in Harrison Birtwistle's Construction with Guitar Player and Leo Brouwer's Sonata No. 5: Ars Combinatoria (4/12). Nimrod Borenstein's Symphony for Strings, Op.68 is performed by Camerata Alma Viva with music by Steve Reich (23/10). A new work for choir and orchestra by Alexander Campkin is being given by the London Mozart Players and Voce Chamber Choir (14/12), whilst the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Tomlinson and Russell Keable premiere Stephen Montague's From the Ether at a concert being performed in memory of the orchestra's founder Leslie Head (25/11). And Montague's Requiem is being performed by Smith Square Voices and Orchestra Vitae (16/10).

Baroque music includes the Early Opera Company in Rameau's Platee (20/11). Solomon's Knot bring their conductorless (and from memory) performance of Messiah (12/12), and Bampton Classical Opera marks Gluck's 300th anniversary (16/9).

At lunchtime on Thursdays, the London Mozart Players and Howard Shelley will be exploring Mozart piano concerts. Lucy Parham's composer portraits continue with Simon Russell Beale as Debussy (19/10), and Juliet Stevenson and Alex Jennings in a life of Chopin (23/11). Also at lunchtime, the young baritone Duncan Rock is in recital with Joseph Middleton in Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninv, Finzi, Rorem and Butterworth

The season ends, of course, with the annual Christmas festival which is being kicked off on 11 December by the European Union Baroque Orchestra under Lars Ulrik Mortensen. Just before this, on 6 December, to put you in the mood Alistair Dixon and Chapelle du Roi present their New Lamps for Old combining old and new settings of the same texts, including one of my own pieces written specially for them.

Further information and a video introduction from the hall's director on the St John's Smith Square website.

Elsewhere on this blog:

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