Concert Review, The Guardian – Pritchard’s vibrant violin concerto captures sound of the sea    

ESO/Woods review – Pritchard’s vibrant violin concerto captures sound of the sea Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Kenneth Woods led the English String Orchestra through a strong programme of new work that included Deborah Pritchard’s concerto inspired by Maggi ‘s Hambling’s art Maggi Hambling is the most musical of painters. Her giant Scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach is inscribed […]

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Haunted by my visit to Thornfield

Where does an opera really take place? Why, on the stage, I hear you say. Of course, that’s true, but not quite the truth. Der Rosenkavalier and The Magic Flute might take place on the same stage in the same week, but they clearly don’t take place in the same place. Of course, in the […]

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John Joubert’s Jane Eyre- A conductor’s perspective

John Joubert’s musical language is original yet familiar, subtle yet direct. Firmly rooted in tonality, his harmonic vocabulary is highly sophisticated and personal, and he seems to have a particular knack for energising traditional harmonies through clashes, bi-tonality and harmonic extension. Joubert’s Jane Eyre is the work of a melodist of the highest order who […]

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Leading Orchestra to “Push the Boat In” for 50th Anniversary Season

The Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra have announced plans for their 50th Anniversary Season, with a celebratory focus on familiarity, conservatism, convenience and conformity. MSO You’ve heard it all here before “When we started thinking about how best to celebrate this special anniversary, our music director Cauze Perdue originally suggested we “push the boat out” with a season […]

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The English Symphony Orchestra’s 21st C. Symphony Project: Nine symphonies, nine composers, one orchestra.

From the latest issue of Musical Opinion Magazine. My manifesto explaining the thinking behind the 21st C. Symphony Project. Subscribe to the magazine here.    On 28 February, 2017, the English Symphony Orchestra will premiere the Third Symphony by Philip Sawyers, the first work in a cycle of nine new symphonies to be commissioned by […]

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KW and ESO’s Recording Krenek Piano Concerti vol. 1 with pianist Mikhail Korzhev a Sunday Times “Best of the Year” for 2016

The Sunday Times has just announced their list of the “100 Best Records of the Year,” across all genres. We’re delighted to learn that our recording “Complete Piano Concertos of Ernst Krenek vol. 1” with pianist Mikhail Korzhev has made this year’s list as one of just 10 CDs in their “Contemporary” category. “Moving from […]

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Kenneth Woods and English Symphony Orchestra Earn Classical Music Magazine “Premiere of the Year” for Second Year in a Row with John Joubert’s Jane Eyre

For the second year in a row, the English Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director Kenneth Woods have received the Classical Music Magazine Premiere of the Year nod for the Midlands. Following on the 2015 selection of the premiere of Donald Fraser’s orchestration of the Elgar Piano Quintet at the Elgar Hall in the final concert […]

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Hans Gal Piano Concerto a 2016 Gramophone Magazine Critic’s Choice

We’re all very, very pleased and proud to see Sarah Beth Briggs’ wonderful AVIE Records recording of piano concerti by Mozart and Hans Gál get a Gramophone Magazine Critic’s Choice of 2016 from Guy Rickards in the year-end issue of the magazine. Bravos to Sarah and my wonderful colleagues in the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Congrats […]

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On funding

The relationship between artists and arts funders seems ever more complicated. It seems to me that most funders (trusts, public sector funders, private sponsors) lack the energy, time or knowledge to vet funding applications in the arts on the basis of merit or quality. The problem is compounded in music as few people making decisions […]

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Explore the score- Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major

For me, it was musical love at first sight. The first time I heard the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto was on a cassette tape.  I loved it so much, I kept rewinding and replaying bits of the first movement (most often the big tutti at the end of the exposition- even then I had conductor tendencies). […]

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