Thursday 3 May 2018

Celebrating David Matthews

David Matthews
David Matthews
To celebrate the composer David Matthews (who is 75 this year), two ensembles are creating a year long festival, David Matthews in the Heart of England. The Worcester-based English Symphony Orchestra and the Stratford-upon-Avon-based Orchestra of the Swan, both under conductor Kenneth Woods, are joining forces with musicians, venues and festivals across the region to celebrate David Matthews.

The project opens on Wednesday 9 May 2018 at St George’s Bristol when the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) gives the World Premiere of Matthews’ Ninth Symphony as the second work in the orchestra’s ‘21st Century Symphony Project’. The premiere of Matthews’ Ninth also sees him becoming the ‘John McCabe Composer-in-Association’ at the ESO, succeeding Philip Sawyers, who becomes Composer Laureate. Matthews’ Ninth Symphony, which is being recorded for Nimbus, is a thirty-minute work in five movements which grew out of a short Advent carol Matthews wrote for his wife Jennifer.

On 2 June 2018, Matthews will be Visiting Composer at the new Elgar Festival in Worcester. There will be performances Matthews’ Sixth String Quartet and the premiere of his new quartet arrangement of Elgar’s Sospiri in the afternoon concert and Matthews’ orchestration of the Elgar String Quartet performed by the ESO in the evening. In between, Matthews presents the bi-annual A. T. Shaw Lecture, entitled ‘Elgar’s Voice’, presented by the Elgar Society and the Elgar Festival.

In Autumn 2018, ESO will be performing and recording Matthews' Double Concerto for Violin, Viola and Strings, and his Variations for Strings. Then in 2019 the project moves to Stratford-upon-Avon ArtsHouse and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for concerts by the Orchestra of the Swan (OOTS), including Matthews’ Winter Remembered for Viola and Strings, and his new song cycle Le lac based on poetry of Alphonse de Lamartine (with soprano April Fredrick)

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