Chamber groups

Dante Quartet


City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players

Symphony Hall, 2009

After a performance at the 2008 Deal festival I was approached by Paul Edlin, the Festival Director, about forming a group from within the CBSO ranks to perform Bruckner's 7th Symphony at the Festival in 2009. This I gladly did and on 10th July 2009 the newly formed CBSO Chamber Players will undertake Bruckner's monumental 7th symphony (sometimes known as the Lyric) in the version for Clarinet, horn, String Quintet, Piano (4 hands) and harmonium. The work in its new form was the brainchild of Arnold Schoenberg who assigned three of his students Hans Eisler, Erwin Stein and Karl Rankl the job of downsizing Bruckner's majestic orchestration. The group consists of Elspeth Dutch, Mark O'Brien, Marcus Barcham-Stevens, Judith Templeman, Mike Jenkinson, Richard Jenkinson, John Tattersdill, Alistair Young, Heidi Rolfe and Benjamin Frith. Further performances of the work will take place in 2009-10 season in Birmingham and in other parts of the country. The group hopes to expand on their repertoire to take in the chamber versions of other cornerstones of the symphonic repertoire like Mahler's Symphony no.4, Debussy 'L'Après midi d'un Faune', Arnold Schoenberg and Rainer Riehn's chamber version of Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde', Wagner's 'Siegfried Idyll' and works by Richard Strauss.     


Cello & Organ

For the last 4 years or so I have been working with the organist James Parsons in a variety of repertoire which has included recitals in some wonderful churches (with some fantastic organs) in Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Shropshire with further recitals to come in Yorkshire. Our latest undertaking at Leeds Town Hall will include a premiere of a new work by Briggs alongside mainstays of our repertoire by Marcel Dupre and Faure. Our previous outings have included the three J.S. Bach Viola da Gamba Sonatas and other Baroque sonatas by Locatelli and Vivaldi with chamber organ.

Programme for Leeds Town Hall, March 2009

Marcel Dupre Sonata, David Briggs Sonata (premiere), Alberto Ginastera Punena no.2 (solo Cello)

Other repertoire includes- Frescobaldi Toccatta,  d'Hervelois La Florentine, La Provencale, La Lionnoise, La Russienne, La Siciliene, La Milaneze, J.S. Bach Vater unser im Himmelreich, Christus, der uns selig macht, Toccata, Adagio and Fugue  in C major,  Ach, was ist doch unser Leben, Handel Aria, Rheinberger Pieces Op. 150 Abendlied, Pastorale, Elegie,  Saint Saens Prière Op. 158, Le Cygne, Sofia Gubaidulina In Croce (1979).

Flute Trio 

New repertoire and idioms are something I am always excited to explore. Ben Frith suggested looking at the work of the Ukrainian composer Nikolai Kapustin works in jazz style. This unusual character (who does not fly) who is now aged in his 70's is only now starting to be discovered in the West and get the reputation he so rightly deserves. Kapustin's music is a synthesis of jazz and classical traditions that really works. Last June Marie Christine Zupancic, Ben Frith and I played a recital in Birmingham of Kapustin's Flute Trio with works by Martinu and Weber for the same combination. In November we repeated the experience with Haydn's wonderfully inventive London Trio in D major in Yorkshire. There is myriad of works for this beautiful combination.

Other Chamber Music

For the last 6 years I have organized the CBSO's Centre Stage series of chamber music concerts. Since starting the audience figures have risen by over 50% and our series now boasts around 25 concerts per season with this seasons programme containing diverse material including Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Rossini, Schubert, Bruckner, Messiaen, Gershwin, Souza and John Ireland to contemporary names such as Bhatia, Bosso and Kokai.