ESO 2016-7 in review. The good

This past Sunday afternoon, I conducted the ESO in a performance of Tchaikovksy’s String Serenade which marked the end of our main 2016-7 season. Between now and our return from the summer holidays, my colleagues are doing some fascinating chamber music concerts, the Bach B minor Mass with the wonderful Sarah MacDonald guest conducting, and […]

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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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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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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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Robert Schumann

The All-Time Official Greatest Unknown Violin Concertos. These 10 Fantastic Pieces are Going To Completely BLOW YOUR MIND

Ever wonder what  sort of concertos exist for the violin beyond the marvelous mainstays from Mozart,  Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Brahms and Sibelius? Well- there’s a lot out there. There are a number of tremendous 20th. C concerti that are now pretty well established in the repertoire, such as those by Shostakovich (particularly his First), Barber, […]

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CD Review- BBC Music Magazine on Gál and Mozart Piano Concertos with Sarah Beth Briggs and Royal Northern Sinfonia

A fantastic review from Eric Levi for the recent Avie Records recording of Gál and Mozart Piano Concertos with Sarah Beth Briggs and the Royal Northern Sinfonia in the August, 2016 issue of BBC Music Magazine. “It’s something of a mystery as to why this attractive and accessible work enjoyed only a few performances in […]

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Nearly-Washed-Up Leading Conductor Trades Baton for Bow

The nearly-washed-up conductor Robert von Bohyarti, former Decca recording artist and long-time conductor of the Minneapolis Philharmonia, is considering launching a solo violin career, it has been learned. Bohyarti, whose instrument is the piano, is reported to feel “a little bored at this stage conducing the same handful of Beethoven and Brahms symphonies over and […]

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CD Review- BBC Music Magazine on Elgar/Fraser Piano Quintet and Sea Pictures

A review from critic Stephen Johnson in the July 2016 issue of BBC Music Magazine for the new Avie Records recording of Elgar’s Piano Quintet and Sea Pictures as orchestrated by Donald Fraser. “The result is pretty remarkable. Fraser hasn’t just translated Elgar’s notes into rich and powerful orchestral terms, he as added (discreetly it […]

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