A day at Surrey Hills Festival – May 3rd

From a Percussionist point of view. – Surrey Hills Festival – Rodion Shchedrin, Bizet Carmen Suite

Preparation.

This will be a very long day!  This is a large and complex piece to organise logistically and the percussion parts have been emailed to the percussion players in advance.  Each of the five players have their own individual part with a long list of instruments they will have to play.  The setup for each player is important – how to position the instruments around themselves to be able move from instrument to instrument in the most intuitive way to play everything that’s been written for them.  A percussion stage plan has been drawn which will undoubtedly change on arrival at the venue!

Between Sarah Stuart and myself we have worked out who is to bring which of the 45 or so separate percussion instruments for this work including 5 timpani, Marimba, Vibraphone, 2 pairs of bongos, tubular bells, 5 tuned tom toms, 3 tuned cow bells, Xylophone and copious toys and stands to put everything on.  The percussion equipment completely fills two vans.

In the morning the vans take an hour to load.  We arrive at the venue over two hours before the rehearsal.  This is the minimum amount of time we will need to unload, build all the instruments and work out how to position all the instruments on the stage.  As we work we realise the 5 timpani will have to go behind the double basses on the lower stage and the percussion will have to be staggered as there is not the room for all the percussionists to be in a line on the higher staging.

With just enough time for fine tuning some of the drums we are ready to play at 2pm.

The rehearsal.

With the curtains soaking up much of the sound the percussion players are finding they are having to play up more than usual. Shchedrin creates subtle textures with the Marimba and Vibraphone and even writes chords on the tubular bells using two players and these are important colours not to be lost.  The piece also really shows off the versatility and virtuosity of the LMP strings.

The Concert.

 The first half is Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major and Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra.  These pieces demonstrate superbly the LMP’s deftness and lightness of touch, technical skill and world renound chamber skills in accompanying and supporting the soloists and giving them a perfect canvas and the right atmosphere to shine.  The second half is the Shchedrin Carmen Suite and is the perfect piece to showcase the LMP at their electric and exciting best.  After returning to the stage 5 times during the final applause, Daniel Cohen and Guest Leader Ruth Rogers lead the orchestra from the stage and leave the audience wanting more.

Roughly two and a quarter hours after the end of the concert at 00.10 Sarah and I leave; tired but extremely happy at the end of another fantastic day of music making with the London Mozart Players.

Written by Scott Bywater, Principal Percussion and Co-Principal Timpani of the LMP.

Many thanks go to Sarah Stuart for her help, organisational skills and splendid playing as guest Principal Percussion on this concert. 

David Angel

20th July 1954 – 10th April 2017

David Angel studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School with Frederick Grinke and Jaqueline Salomons, and had many masterclasses with Lord Menuhin.

In 1971 he won an Associated Board Scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Frederick Grinke. He had regular chamber music coaching with Sidney Griller and won prizes for both solo and chamber music.

He has played quartets professionally since 1976; for eleven years with the Bochmann Quartet and since 1988, with the Maggini Quartet, which he co founded in that year. With the Quartet he has performed and broadcast widely as well as recording some thirty discs and working with composers such as James McMillan, Eleanor Alberga, Roxanna Panufnik, and extensively with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

With pianist David Elwin he has enjoyed a long standing duo: in September 2007 they made their maiden tour of Japan.

When his quartet schedule allows, he co-leads the 2nd violins of the London Mozart Players, a job he has held since 1995.

Much in demand as a teacher and quartet coach, he has been professor of quartet playing at the Birmingham Conservatoire since 1993. In addition to teaching privately, he has taught violin at Southampton University, the Birmingham Conservatoire, and as a guest at the Menuhin and Purcell schools.

Gala fundraising concert April 29th

LMP Gala Concert

A hundred or so people were privileged to attend the most delightful gala concert on Tuesday 29 May.  The concert was genially hosted by Sir Vernon Ellis. Sir Vernon is an eminent businessman, chair of the British Council, and famous for his enduring support to music, especially opera, as recognised by his knighthood.  The venue was one of the many stars of the evening; as out host explained, the venue was once a hotel, so the size of the reception area and its resemblance to the salons in which the music of Mozart and many others was originally performed was entirely explicable and appropriate.  Such is Sir Vernon’s love of music that he considers himself self-indulgent rather than generous to host as many as 90 concerts each year.

On what was an unusually warm evening, many guests arrived having survived the inconvenience of the tube strike, to be welcomed in a way which made the cares of the day swiftly dissolve. The LMP indulged their guests in a multi-faceted feast from start to finish.  Even before the main course of music, the guests enjoyed a champagne reception, with canapés and other hors d’oeuvres most of which were prepared by the multi-talented Julia Desbruslais, served generously and charmingly by members of the orchestra and at least one of their offspring.  The reception provided an ample opportunity for mingling with friends old and new.

The concert was wonderful in so many ways.  The programme was beautifully constructed and performed.  Our ears adjusted to the rather intimate acoustic of this venue to the sound of the Magic Flute overture, conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton.  Then we had another glimpse of the prodigious talent of Laura van der Heijden (BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012) performing the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with such apparent ease and finesse as if she’d been doing so far longer than her 17 years.  Tasmin Little followed, backed by the string section, in “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Such was the intimacy of the occasion that Tasmin took the time before playing to introduce the composer’s markings to the score, which gave some of us, at least, a new perspective on a familiar piece.

Howard Shelley has a great knack of putting the great music he plays into context, as those who manage to attend the pre-concert talks/interviews that are such a feature of LMP concerts well know.  He led the orchestra through two movements of Mozart’s sublime concerto no 21, having explained how this was written in an extraordinarily productive period.

Those who assembled this programme might well have asked themselves “How do you follow that?”  With a nod to Monty Python, perhaps they said “and now for something not completely different”.  Somebody of undoubted genius (£10, please, Peter) but too young to have heard them live (that’s £20, please) claimed to recall the work of the incomparable Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, and in particular their song to the tune of Mozart’s horn concerto.   With great ingenuity (£30) he approached a trumpet student and successful author, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and commissioned her to produce an updated version, around the theme of the LMP’s parlous financial circumstances.  Such was his persuasiveness (£40), that Cynthia accepted the commission and delivered a masterpiece.

With Messrs Flanders and Swann sadly no longer available, there was simply no choice but to plead, cajole or blackmail Sir Richard Stilgoe to perform the world premiere of this hilarious and linguistically demanding work.  Whatever the measures taken to arrange his cooperation, they worked and the outcome was a masterwork, both in conception and delivery.

Viv Davies, the managing director of the “new” LMP took the opportunity to thank all concerned for their generous contributions to the evening, including Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis, the performers (all of whom had waived their fee) and the audience.  Viv played particular tribute quite rightly to the members of the working group of musicians who are working tirelessly and almost sleeplessly on the various activities necessary to secure and enhance the future of the LMP.  Representing that group, Paul Archibald, Julia Desbruslais and Peter Wright then introduced the main themes of these projects

As if that wasn’t enough, we were all further indulged with a delicious buffet supper, again served by the indefatigable LMP players, but who then had more time to mingle.  It was a real privilege to be able to chat freely with the performers, and the evening came to an end all too soon.

Article by Nick Mallett

Judith Busbridge

Judith graduated in Music from Birmingham University and completed her viola studies with Thomas Riebl in Salzburg, where she was solo violist in the Camerata Academica under the directorship of Sándor Végh, a post she held for 5 years.

Outside her schedule with London Mozart Players she was, until 2011, a founder member of the multi-award-winning Dante String Quartet, with whom she performed at major concert halls and festivals throughout the UK and Europe, winning the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music in 2007.
From 2010-13 she was violist with Ensemble 360, a versatile group of eleven musicians of international standing who enjoy a residency in Sheffield with Music in the Round, and with whom she again won the RPS Award for chamber music in 2013.

Judith’s varied freelance career also includes playing guest principal viola with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Opera House, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields. She is also solo viola in John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, which performs repertoire of nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on period instruments.

Since September 2013 she is also one of the principal violas with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Sarah Burnett

When did you join the LMP?

2010

Where else do you work?

I’m a member of Britten Sinfonia, The Haffner Wind Ensemble and teach at the Royal College of Music and at the Purcell School.  Any free time after that takes me up and down the country, working for other orchestras as guest principal, as well as giving masterclasses and doing the odd bit of session work.

When did you start playing the bassoon?

Aged 11

What is your first musical memory?

Playing for the first time ever in an orchestra.  It was Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony with the National Youth Orchestra.  I was only 12 and was totally overwhelmed by the sheer raw power of the music.

What is special about your instument?

It’s an old 1927 Heckel with a huge history, and it happens to have been made the same year as my house was built.  It has a warm singing voice with many individual quirks, which always makes it interesting to play. Shostakovich said the bassoon was the instrument closest to the human voice; I don’t think you can get a better compliment than that.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love being outdoors, whether it’s just pottering in the garden, going for walks and cycles or having a barbeque.  Friends and family are extremely important to me; there’s nothing better than sharing food and wine with those you love.

 

Mozart – It speeds up your reactions

Listening to Mozart minuets could speed up your reaction times when working, according to a new study. Researchers from Kyoto and Harvard Universities found people of a range of ages worked more efficiently while listening to the soothing strains of a Mozart minuet.

Participants aged between eight and nine and 65 to 75 were asked to complete a Stroop task, where a word spelling out a colour is presented in a different colour (such as ‘red’ written in blue letters). When listening to Mozart quietly in the background, reaction times were faster and error rates were lower than when listening to no music at all, or listening to a modified version of the piece with introduced errors.

These findings help make the case that music, sometimes thought of as a pleasant byproduct of evolution, may have played an positive role in human evolution, regardless of cultural systems of harmony or pitch. It’s also further evidence of the Mozart effect, which suggests listening to classical music can make you more intelligent.

Click here for the complete article

Wiltshire Music Centre

The LMP performed at this wonderful hall on Friday 25th April 2014. We would like to thank everyone involved at the hall for inviting us to perform. Thanks also to Orchestras Live for their support with this event.

Howard Shelley was conductor and soloist and gave a great performance – as usual. The program included Poulenc Sinfonietta and Aubade (for Piano and 18 instruments). The concert concluded with Haydn Symphony 104  “London”.

Thank you to Sebastian Comberti  and Howard for the pre concert talk. Members of the orchestra met the audience during the interval.

The staff at the hall were so friendly and helpful. They also provided yummy snacks and fruit with Tea during our breaks and made the orchestra feel extremely welcome.

We are really looking forward to re visiting in the future.

Michael Posner

Michael studied with Nobuko Imai, Mischa Geller and Simon Rowland-Jones at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he achieved a Gmus RNCM and PP RNCM, and was the winner of the Dearden Academic Award.

Upon leaving the RNCM, he joined the Peterborough String Orchestra where he became principal viola, playing regularly in the Chamber Ensemble and as soloist with the orchestra. Michael then moved to London, where he became a member of the London Mozart Players and a regular in all of London’s leading chamber orchestras including the Academy of St Martins, English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia. He has toured and recorded extensively with these orchestras.

Over the last 20 years Michael has developed a passion for teaching, alongside his playing. He held a post at Trinity College of Music, Junior Department for 14 years, and has recently taken up a post at Bromley Youth Music Trust teaching violin and viola, coaching chamber music and conducting orchestras. With his wife Julia Desbruslais, he runs the highly successful Summer Strings music courses, and coaches regularly on the Arpeggione course.
Michael is a keen supporter of Arsenal football club.

Julia Desbruslais

At sixteen Julia Desbruslais won an open scholarship to study the cello with Florence Hooton at the Royal Academy of Music.  During this time she won many awards including the Suggia Award and the Leverhulme Chamber Music Scholarship.  Under the direction of Sydney Griller she was a founder member of the all-female Fairfield String Quartet. They enjoyed ten years touring Britain and Europe, winning major competitions, giving many live broadcasts for the BBC, and recording for Hyperion.

On leaving the Quartet, she became Co-Principal Cello with the London Mozart Players, where she regularly performs with the Chamber Ensemble and has appeared as a concerto soloist. She is also Principal Cello with the London Jupiter Orchestra, with whom she has performed John Taverner’s Eternal Memory at St John’s, Smith Square. She regularly plays as guest principal with many London orchestras, including the New London Orchestra and City of London Sinfonia.

She has a great passion for inspiring young children and is one of the leading lights in the vast education programme of the LMP. Her work has included performing to all ages from work with young children to the elderly in numerous and varied venues.  Her work with young children led to the production of television workshops and compositional projects and she was responsible for the setting up of cello master classes and massed cello ensembles with young children. Julia holds posts as a cello teacher at Whitgift School and Eltham College, and a large private class. With her husband Michael Posner, they run the highly successful Summer Strings residential music courses for children of all ages.

She is a member of the cello quartet formed from the four cellists of the LMP, presenting concerts drawing on the works of the great cellist composers. Their first CD Petits Fours was received with great acclaim. Recent recordings include ‘Lullaby for a Lost Soul’ by Ronald Corp.

Sarah Butcher – Cello

Sarah studied cello with Stefan Popov at the Guildhall School of Music and chamber music with Hans Keller and the Chilingirian String Quartet. She also took part in masterclasses with William Pleeth at the Aldeburgh Summer School. She has played in many orchestras and ensembles in the UK including the BBC Symphony orchestra, The Guildhall String Ensemble, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra and Garsington Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera Orchestra for whom she has played principal cello.

She has made recordings for the Cello Classics label, Music for Two Cellos and ‘Petits Fours’, music for four cellos with the London Mozart Players cello section. Also on the Cello Classics label she has performed in a CD of music by the great pedagogue Julius Klengel.

Sarah is a keen chamber musician and has played with the Mistry String Quartet and was a member of the Mainardi Trio. She is now Artistic Director of The Chamber Players who play regularly at Festivals and venues throughout the UK, including Holywell Music Rooms, Imperial College and Buxton and Chichester Festivals with artists such as Ashley Wass, Gaby Lester, Tim Horton and Benjamin Nabarro.

Sarah also edits audiobooks for the Naxos AudioBooks label and has been involved in many exciting projects including The History of Classical Music and Famous Composers in collaboration with ClassicFM. She has performed on several of these discs including The Cellist of Sarajevo and Macbeth with music by oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck.

She has been a member of the London Mozart Players since 1998.

Louise Honeyman R.I.P.

Louise Honeyman died on March 19th 2014. Louise was the Managing Director of the LMP during the 80’s and 90’s. She was the first Woman MD of a British Orchestra. Jane Glover was appointed, by Louise, as Artistic Director. In March 1989 she approached Croydon Council and they agreed to make the LMP their resident orchestra. Louise was also responsible for bringing in HRH Prince Edward as the Patron.

Louise was a much loved character and the LMP was her passion right through her retirement. She suffered a severe Stroke on March 15th 2014. Her partner was David Wilson who has been the General Manager of the orchestra since the 80’s. David bravely attended our concert on March 20th accompanied by Louise’s family.

We will all miss Louise tremendously. The concert on March 20th was dedicated to her memory. Our thoughts are with David and Louise’s family.

Press Release February 12th 2014

PRESS RELEASE: 12 February 2014

“A renaissance for the London Mozart Players!”

‘’……….it gives me more joy than I can say to perform and record with them, I am honoured to be their Conductor Laureate” (Howard Shelley)

The London Mozart Players, the UK’s longest established chamber orchestra and considered by many as one of Europe’s finest, is to become self-governing in a bold but characteristically creative move to counter recent funding cuts.

As of May 2014, when the LMP’s current principal conductor, Gérard Korsten, rests the baton at the final concert in their 2013/14 Fairfield Halls series, a core group of orchestral members led by Viv Davies, a former classical musician turned economist with 20 years senior management experience in the non-profit sector, will take up collective responsibility for the management and strategic direction of the orchestra, drawing upon a wealth of professional experience from within the ranks of the LMP.

Current members of the management team include Paul Archibald (Projects), Julia Desbruslais (Education) and Peter Wright (Operations). David Wilson (General Manager), Jenny Brady (Concerts Coordinator) and Martin Sargeson (Orchestral Librarian) will continue to provide crucial administrative, management and logistical support.

In support of the management team will be an impressive and experienced group of player ambassadors, led by Marieke Blankestijn, that will advise on the artistic direction of the LMP.

The LMP’s niche lies in interpretive research and understanding of performance style, but with the advantages of instruments designed for the modern concert hall and audience. Its mission is to perform classical music to the highest standards of excellence and to take music to communities where access to live concerts is limited. The orchestra is also committed to devising workshops for schools and hospitals, creating projects that bring people together and enrich lives through a shared musical experience. New plans and initiatives are now underway as the LMP is set to build exciting new partnerships within these communities.

There is unanimous commitment to ensuring the LMP will continue to occupy an exciting and dynamic position in the musical life of the UK and on the international stage. One of the LMP’s first engagements as a rejuvenated organisation will be a tour of China in May. In the meantime, a gala fundraising concert featuring Howard ShelleyTasmin Little and Laura Van der Heijden will take place on 29 April in Kensington. Discussions are also underway with sponsors for concerts through 2014/15, and for a range of community-based projects in the south-east and around the UK.

This orchestra is one of the jewels in the crown of British music.”(Hilary Davan Wetton)

 

For further information on the LMP and its activities please contact:

Paul Archibald: 07973 731866, paul@lmp.org

Peter Wright: 07831 157618, peter@lmp.org

 

ENDS

 

Sir Richard Stilgoe

We are delighted that Sir Richard has agreed to perform at our Gala fundraising concert on April 29th. You’ll have to come along to find out exactly how he will entertain you. But a re wording of a Flanders and Swan Classic is a clue!

London Mozart Players Go to China

The orchestra is due to fly to China on May 19th to perform 4 concerts with their Principal conductor Gerard Korsten. Cities include Beijing and Shanghai.

LMP Friends – Thank you

The loyal friends of the LMP made donations to help make this new website possible. Also the individual players of the orchestra each contributed £60 each. A big thank you everyone.

Sold Out indeed!

Snapped by David Wilson, our General Manager, at a concert in the district of South Holland. Read more

Howard Shelley returns to ‘St Johns Smith Sq’. & Fairfield Halls

The London Mozart Players are delighted to welcome back acclaimed pianist and director Howard Shelley for the first of three programmes this season. Read more

M & G series at ‘St Johns Smith square’ 2014

The LMP will return to ‘St John’s Smith Square’ in 2014 with concerts from Howard Shelley, Angela Hewitt and Gerard Korsten. Read more