Nine months ago, the London Mozart Players became a self-governing orchestra run by its musicians. During this challenging time, it has gone from strength to strength, consolidating its place in the UK’s concert life with innovative programmes, recordings and other ventures.
It now moves into its second phase, with a new management structure.
A New Chairman and a new Board of Directors
Up to now, the directors of the LMPOL have been Paul Archibald, Development Director, Peter Wright, Operations Director and Viv Davies, Managing Director. A new structure has now been introduced.
Paul Archibald becomes chairman of LMPOL.
The Board is joined by Julia Debruslais, Sarah Butcher and Sebastian Comberti.
Other members of the LMP have helped considerably in different ways, particularly Martin Smith in developing both specialist and popular programmes to attract central and local government funding. He is continuing to contribute in this way.
The LMP office
The new Directors of the LMPOL would like to especially thank David Wilson, General Manager, and Jenny Brady, Concerts and Projects Manager, who have been boldly operating in especially challenging circumstances over the past year. David and Jenny have both generously given their time and energy far beyond their previous commensurate employment. Without them we would not have survived.
Happy 65th Birthday Howard, our brilliant Conductor Laureate! We hope you have a day as wonderful as you are!
It was a pleasure to celebrate with Howard on Wednesday at St John’s Smith Square after our Mozart Explored lunchtime concert, with some bubbles and a fabulous cake, baked by the fair hands of the illustrious Julia Desbruslais (co-principal cello). We look forward to many more years performing with him! We hope to see you on 1st April at St John’s for the last of our Mozart Explored lunchtime concerts.
A participatory concert for school children 7-11yrs bringing the famous battle to life
The London Mozart Players are delighted to be working again with the Classical Road Show in presenting another fantastic schools concert at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, Surrey. On Monday 8th June, the LMP will be joined onstage by David Leonard playing the esteemed role of Nelson/Narrator, dancers from the Central School of Ballet and our wonderful Associate Conductor, Hilary Davan Wetton.
Bookings are being taken from school groups via the Classical Road Show, so please contact Carol Leighton at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
There will be two performances lasting one hour at 11.15am and 1.30pm.
£3 Tickets for pupils (7-11yrs) & staff including Teachers’ Pack of songs, word sheets, learning CD and history project.
Kindly sponsored by Orbit South.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ruth Rogers as joint Leader of the London Mozart Players. Ruth will take up the position in March 2015 and share this highly prestigious role with Marieke Blankestijn, who has led the orchestra since 2011, and Simon Blendis who joined as leader in October 2014.
Described as “the finest of the younger generation of violinists” (Musical Opinion) and hailed by the Guardian as “superb”, Ruth is in demand as soloist, leader, and chamber musician. Ruth has appeared in concert alongside distinguished performers, including Ida Haendel, and John Lill, and has lead orchestras under the batons of Lorin Maazel and Colin Davis. She appears as a guest leader of many major orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. She has also appeared in Principal roles with the Hallé, English Chamber Orchestra and London Chamber Orchestra.
Ruth responded to the news of her appointment by saying, “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed by the London Mozart Players. This is a really exciting time for the orchestra and I have been so impressed by how the players have rallied round to save this remarkable ensemble. I love leading and directing the group, and I’m very excited about all our forthcoming concerts together.”
Paul Archibald, LMP Director and Principal Trumpet comments, “Ruth has already made her mark as a soloist, chamber musician and guest leader both throughout the UK and abroad. From her very first concert with LMP she has brought an energy and vitality that is the unmistakable hallmark of a great artist. Her rapport with the members of the orchestra was immediate and her charismatic personality has certainly engaged LMP audiences. I am delighted that she has accepted the position of Leader of the London Mozart Players and look forward to her performances as the orchestra continues to thrive under its player-led management”
Ruth commences her new role by leading and directing the LMP at St John’s Smith Square on March 5th.
The London Mozart Players are joined for this special concert by Claire Jones. Claire was Official Harpist to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales until 2011. The LMP recently joined Claire to record her new album, ‘Journey’ a collection of pieces drawn from classical repertoire, film scores and the airs and folk melodies of the British Isles. These trace Claire’s personal journey from a dark and debilitating year suffering from ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, back to health. This concert forms the public launch of this new album, and a welcome return to the concert stage for Claire.
Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto – Soloists Claire Jones Harp and Juliette Bausor Flute
Tracks from Claire Jones’ CD “Journey”
Mozart Symphony 40 in G minor
We have just heard that the “All Party Parliamentary Group for Classical Music” will attend todays concert at St John’s Smith Square
Back in July 2014 we were at Henry Wood Hall with Naxos, recording with Hilary Davan Wetton, Roderick Williams and the City of London Choir. The subsequent recording described as ‘an anthology of twentieth century British music on the themes of war and lost youth, set against a background of the English countryside and a centuries-old pattern of rural life,’ includes the premiere recording of Finzi’s Requiem da Camera in its new completion by Christian Alexander. It also features Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, who provides the narration for Vaughan Williams’ haunting Oxford Elegy.
Released in early November, the recording entered the Classical Album Charts at No.2 and then climbed to Number 1.
To buy from Amazon, click here.
We are delighted to be collaborating on this exciting event with Suzi Digby OBE and to be celebrating Christmas at St John’s Smith Square. Programme to include Britten’s St Nicolas cantata, Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and Frank Bridge’s Sir Roger de Coverley (A Christmas Dance). There’ll be carols to sing and Thomas Hardy readings; a very English Christmas. Sunday 14th December, 7.30pm
LMP Principal Double Bass player and conductor Stacey Watton will be presenting a Concert by Candlelight with the LMP on 30th November, 7.30pm at St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, SE16 4JE, with programme to feature Beethoven’s Symphony No.2, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Brahms Violin Concerto.
But that’s not all ladies and gents… If you purchase a ticket for the 30th November (£20), you will gain FREE entry to Stacey’s ‘New Talent Conducting Showcase Concert’ on 29th November, 2.30pm at St Mary’s Church with the LMP. Programme will include excerpts of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Violin Concertos 3 & 5, and Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings.
Reserve your tickets by calling 07811373415 or email email@example.com
I happened upon some WW1 postcards when I was researching my family heritage. Building your family tree is extremely addictive I warn you, but it also gave a certain amount of inspiration to the ‘Hidden Croydon’ project. ‘History is made by individuals’ is an opinion thrown around often by historians, and I think on the whole they mean ‘great’ individuals; Kings and Queens, political leaders and human rights activists. This is great for school curriculum and for the study of the objective, but I don’t think we consider the subjective nature of history enough. The personal implications of world events. The effect of ‘great’ individual decisions on the ‘small’ individuals. It is focused on greatly in today’s news reports, but slowly through the ages we may lose perception of the human emotions felt at the time, whether they be anger or joy, confusion or certainty, fear or hope.
However, I do not think that this is the case for the First World War. The events that led up to and followed the 4th August 1914 have been well documented not only by historians, but also depicted by many war poets and writers, classical composers and artists. A very human reaction; honest, brutal and unforgiving. But behind these writings, music and images, which are often at the risk of being glamorised, was a very real experience and can be expressed most effectively by the ‘small’ individual.
This is where ‘Hidden Croydon’ came in. When I found my Great Grandfather’s postcards, it was like holding a piece of history in my hands, and he and other ‘small’ individuals had been given a voice. Unfortunately the embroidered ones appear to have been stuck into a scrap book, so the writing on the back is illegible, apart from a long line of kisses on the bottom of one. However, on the one that reads ‘Till we meet again’, we can read written in pen by my Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Davies;
“I think of you today dear though we are far apart,
I send my loving wishes, to greet my true sweetheart.
And then a reply in pencil from David Davies:
All my Great Grandfathers fought in the trenches and all of them returned home, a fact for which I’m extremely grateful for, as my grandparents were born post-1918. But I’m also grateful to my grandmother for recognising the significance of this world event in the context of the Davies family, preserving these postcards for future generations to truly appreciate the personal cost of the war.
I don’t think there are many who escaped school without at least touching upon the catastrophic loss of the First World War. I also don’t think there are many people alive today whose family weren’t affected in some way. Whether their ancestors worked on the land, in munitions factories, down the mines, volunteered as medics or played any part in the war effort, this all goes to paint a raw picture of that moment in time, made up of personal voices and faces of the significant unknown and ‘small’ individuals of that generation. This is what the ‘Hidden Croydon’ project is all about.
Hidden Croydon Exhibition open from 12 pm on 14th November at Fairfield Halls Croydon. ALL WELCOME.
On Oct 22nd the LMP recorded a new album with Claire “The Girl With The Golden Harp”. The album is due to be released on March 1st. Please let us know if you would like to pre order a copy
Claire Jones (born in 1985) is a Welsh harpist who held the title of Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales from 2007 to 2011.
Jones was born in Crymych, Pembrokeshire, and began playing the harp at the age of 10; she performed for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh when she was 16. In 2007, she was one of the inaugural winners of The Prince of Wales’s Advanced Study in Music Award, and was appointed as the prince’s official Harpist for a 3-year term. During the previous year, she had won the harp solo at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, been a finalist at the Third International Harp Contest in France, and won the Royal College of Music Harp Competition.
As part of a wide-reaching WW1 commemoration project, the London Mozart Players, Croydon’s resident orchestra, have been facilitating the visits of newly established primary school choirs to Croydon senior’s homes
As well as preparing Jonathan Dove’s new commission For an Unknown Soldier, the children of Atwood Primary Academy, Croydon Parish Church Juniors, Ecclesbourne Primary Academy and Monks Orchard Primary, have also been learning old wartime songs, and creating their own variations of them to sing to residents of local care homes. Repertoire includes Wish Me Luck, It’s a long way to Tipperary and other familiar tunes.
The choir of Monks Orchard Primary School performed at Elizabeth Court on Wednesday 1st October, which also happened to be International Older People’s Day.
The ‘Coffee Concerts’ which have come to be known as WW1 Songs Remembered and Shared, are an important part of the project for several reasons. They are providing an important performance opportunity for the schools in the lead up to the main concert on the 14th November, and they are also encouraging the children to engage creatively with a bygone era.
The London Mozart Players and The Portsmouth Grammar School collaborate to commission major new cantata from Jonathan Dove to commemorate WWI
• World Première performances in Portsmouth and Croydon in November 2014
• Over 300 children from Portsmouth Grammar School and Croydon primary schools involved in the first performances
• Featuring renowned choral conductor Nicholas Cleobury and outstanding young tenor Nicholas Sharratt.
The London Mozart Players and The Portsmouth Grammar School will present the World Première performances of a major new co-commission from Jonathan Dove on 9 November 2014 in Portsmouth Cathedral and 14 November in Fairfield Halls Croydon. For an Unknown Soldier is a setting for tenor solo, children’s choir, adult chorus and chamber orchestra of nine poems about the First World War. Opening with a setting of Wilfred Owen’s portentous ‘1914’, the work offers a moving meditation on the tragedy of war with poems by Mary Gabrielle Collins, Helen Dircks and Ivor Gurney among others.
The LMP is delighted to continue what has become an annual collaboration with Portsmouth Grammar School, which has in recent years seen the commissioning of important new work from composers such as Roxanna Panufnik and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
James Priory, Headmaster of Portsmouth Grammar School comments:
“We are thrilled to be giving young musicians from Portsmouth and Croydon the opportunity to work with a living composer and to be involved in creating a major new musical work inspired by Remembrance. I cannot think of a better way for young people to engage creatively in the centenary of the Great War.”
Viv Davies, Managing Director of the London Mozart Players comments:
“We are really excited to be collaborating with the Portsmouth Grammar School and Jonathan Dove on such a significant and important project. The preparation for the events in November has brought together diverse individuals and groups in a unified and common purpose. We have no doubt that the première performances of the cantata will be profound and moving occasions that will express, in a wonderfully creative way, the essence, spirit and deep significance of remembrance. We are looking forward to it immensely.”
Simon Blendis joined the LMP as Leader in 2014. As well as leading for a wide variety of concerts, Simon has particularly enjoyed developing his relationship with the orchestra through an increasing amount of directing. He has also created the innovative leadership development event Podium, which has become an important strand of the LMP’s work and is gaining a strong reputation in the business world.
Away from the LMP Simon enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestra leader. He has been a member of the Schubert Ensemble for twenty-three years, with whom he has performed in over thirty different countries, made frequent broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and appeared regularly at Europe’s major venues. After 35 years at the forefront of British chamber music the Ensemble will retire in 2018, leaving behind a legacy of over 80 commissions, 25 CD recordings and a large library of live performances on YouTube.
Simon is also in demand as a guest-leader and guest-director and has appeared in this role with most of the UK’s major orchestras. Since 1999 he has been one of the leaders of Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan, with whom he has recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for the Warner label. As a soloist he has made recent appearances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the RPO and the CBSO.
Simon is a keen exponent of new music. He has given over 50 first performances and has had new works written for him by, amongst others, John Woolrich, Tansy Davies and jazz legend Dave Brubeck, as well as violin concertos by David Knotts and Jeff Moore.
The LMP has been invited to accompany the City Of London Choir conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton in a programme entitled “Music in Time Of War”
Finzi – Requiem da Camera
Haydn – Missa in Tempore Belli
Tippett – Five Spirituals (from A Child Of Our Time)
Butterworth – The Banks of Green Willow
see below the poster
Personal Recollections of Louise Honeyman
The ‘phone rang. “Is that Margaret Archibald?” “Speaking.” “It’s Louise Honeyman; are you free on…” Just one more musician fixed for a date, but for me this was the beginning of a professional and personal relationship that was quite literally to change my life.
It was Louise who booked me near the start of my career for the Thames Chamber Orchestra and the English Symphony Orchestra, often playing for choral societies; it was Louise who seized on my enthusiasm for the C clarinet, asked if I was interested in authentic performance and launched me on my career as a period instrument player with my first date a Prom with the Academy of Ancient Music; it was Louise who helped me make the arrangements to have a babysitter with me on the flights and in the hotels when I took my four-and-a-half month old baby to Toulouse, Paris and Geneva; it was Louise who facilitated the arrangements when Lina Lalandi needed my seven year old son to be a Prince on stage for Gluck’s Alceste in Monaco; it was Louise who invited me to be sub- Principal clarinet of the London Mozart Players under Jane Glover and who told the wind players that she wanted us to form a wind chamber ensemble because she thought we deserved it. Finally, for me most life-changing of all, it was Louise who invited me to set up the “first year” of education and community work when the LMP became resident orchestra in Croydon, setting me on a course that saw me obsessively run the orchestra’s education work for the next 21 years.
Louise was more than just a fixer, she was a friend, a counsellor in times of trouble, always there to talk through a problem whether professional or personal. She would fight her corner but equally would listen to another point of view. She was a woman with a mission, and if this meant sacrificing a house and garden in north-west London for a tiny attic flat above the office in Croydon, this was something she cheerfully undertook to do in order to pursue her goal of fostering and building the London Mozart Players. Louise’s devotion to the orchestra was absolute, and she was always at every concert, sitting backstage busy with administrative tasks and ready to deal with any queries, comments, opinions or worries. I remember the anniversary of German re-unification when she bought the entire orchestra lunch in Dresden, following our morning concert there before we set out on another long coach journey to Leipzig for a concert that same evening in the Thomaskirche. On another occasion Louise chartered a plane to get us home from Lyons using an out-of-the-way military airfield somewhere for a late-night flight. She came with us on the ferry to Boulogne for the Menuhin Competition, and on the way home soothed the French customs officials who suffered a complete sense of humour failure when the mother of a young Japanese soloist took flash photos at the border post.
Memories of Louise are inextricably bound up with mental images of David, her partner, with whom she made common cause, building a vibrant community from a disparate group of freelance musicians and showing the way that an orchestra can be embedded in its local community through its outreach work. I was so lucky and honoured to be trusted by Louise to develop the LMP education and community work, and I threw all my personal creativity and energy at the project. At first I referred to Louise for every tiny decision until the day when she said, “Margaret, I haven’t got time to answer all these questions, just sort it out!” I went on “just sorting it out” for more than two decades and gained a wealth of experience, meeting many inspirational people in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, kids clubs, youth clubs and local authorities, and above all working with many wonderful colleagues who remain my very closest friends and with whom I continue to work now under the banner of my new charity Everyone Matters. Louise is a hard act to follow but I hope I can make even half the contribution that she did.
LMP at St John’s
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