Hitting the high notes:
|Other highlights of last year’s professional evening concerts included a performance of Walton’s Façade given by members of Orchestra da Camera, Galina Vale’s brilliant display of guitar playing, the hugely-talented pianist Leslie Howard playing transcriptions and paraphrases by Liszt and the first appearance at the University of two Baroque groups, Bizzaries and Armonico Tributo performing Concertos for Christmas, on period instruments.||
|Our biggest coup came in September when a recent recipient of an honorary degree from this University, internationally-renowned soprano Dame Felicity Lott (pictured right), donated her services in a wide-ranging recital of German Lieder, French chansons and English songs to a capacity audience in the Richard Attenborough Centre.|
Sadly, the lunchtime concert series was
dimmed with the untimely death in October of James Walker – composer,
teacher and pianist – whose career at the University began with the
formation of the Archduke Trio in the early 1960s. By January, the Archduke
Trio had re-formed thanks to the interest shown by the highly-experienced
pianist Allan Schiller, together with violinist
Philip Gallaway who continues to lead and inspire the Voces Intimae Quartet in
their concert in November. Our final
tribute to James Walker came in May when duet pianists Ann Stott and Jessica
Marshall (both friends and Jessica once a pupil of James’) gave the first
public performance of his final large-scale composition, his Grand Duo – a
work of significance and symphonic proportions, a glorious crowning to an
output of around 80 published works.
|The Proteus Chamber Orchestra and University Singers, both run by the Director of Music, enjoyed two stimulating concerts, although having to rebuild the choir at the start of the season, the choice of music for the Singers was a little cautious in the autumn term. Energetic performances by the orchestra of Schumann’s Spring Symphony and Saint-Saens’s Third Piano Concerto (Angela Brownridge, the sonorous soloist, pictured right) were followed in February by a very well-received evening that included Schubert’s towering Ninth Symphony preceded by one of Haydn’s choral masterpieces, the Nelson Mass.|
The University Sinfonia under their
conductor Michael Sackin continues to present enterprising programmes while
keeping a strong foothold in the Classical repertoire.
Aquila Winds, a University-connected
high-class amateur quintet performed Shades
of Summer, a work written for them by Anthony Pither.
It was given its premiere in an assured and sparkling performance at a
Soundbite concert at the Richard Attenborough Centre in October.
Three of its players also gave a recital at the University’s
The Sinfonia and Aquila Winds were by no
means the only groups to feature young musicians of solo stature. The Choral Society’s annual December visit to the Church of St
James the Greater featured Anthony Dean and University of Leicester graduate
Penny Ormerod in Vaughan Williams’s cantata Dona
nobis pacem, part of an Amnesty International concert for Peace.
|In February at a Wednesday Lunchtime Concert, twelve-year-old Yifei Bao presented a piano recital of popular Classical sonatas to a large, appreciative audience; in May, two wind players from the University Orchestra, Hannah Minty (oboe) and Lynsey Knott (flute) put together a contrasting programme of twentieth-century works, accompanied by the very able Leicestershire pianist, Abigail Johnson.||
Oboist Hannah Minty
The University Wind band had the good
fortune in securing the services of the widely-experienced conductor and
trumpeter, Don Blakeson for three lively concerts.
Two events were shared with Dan Jones’s Big Band who, for the first
time in their six-year existence, were able to field an entirely home-grown
team at their May concert. In the
spring term the Big Band ‘raised the roof’ in a concert at, and in aid of
repairs to, Barkby Church.
Despite the fact the Orchestral Society soon found its violin section somewhat depleted, they went on to perform – with outside help – a programme of music by Beethoven, Bernstein and Dvorak in November. Together with all the other music societies, including the colourful and popular Umoja Gospel Choir, they took part in a programme of film music in March. Once again, the event was a success both financially and musically.
Although not an official Students’ Union
music society, Robert Kenny’s Modern Languages Choir also took part in the
Societies’ concert in March. The
choir has been very much in the limelight this year.
Dr Kenny’s particular skills in training young vocal talent and
acting as compere in his annual events, Music for Christmas and Music for a
May Night, have attracted even larger audiences than usual.
In this year’s May Night concert, Robert used the occasion to
celebrate his thirty years at the University and to raise around £3,000 for
Loros in the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton,
and the Lord Mayor of Leicester.
Students who auditioned for and were
awarded music scholarships continued to benefit from a strong team of
instructors. It is particularly appropriate that the end-of-year concert was
able to involve a number of vocal soloists in Mozart’s Solemn
Vespers (K 339), an event that attracted an encouraging number of singers
at its rehearsals throughout May and the first half of June, under the baton
of the Society’s Chorus Master, Willard Welsford.
In an organisation with only two salaried
staff, it is easy to take for granted the help afforded by the support staff:
porters and security; Graphics and Reprographics; the gardeners; and
front-of-house teams – paid and unpaid.
present sponsors remain the same: namely, Photostatic Digital who, as
mentioned above, have been generous financial (and personal) supporters of The
Lindsays for ten years. Gayton Graham
continued their support of one scholarship holder for the third year running,
and even after a take-over, Gayton Graham’s support is promised for a
further three years; the Sheila Spires Bequest provides much-needed extra
income for the University Singers’ concert in February; and both the Arthur
Humphreys and Ernest Mathieson Requests have supported specific concerts in
the Wednesday Lunchtime series. As well
as a slight increase in the number of ‘Friends
of Music’, we have also benefited from an increase in the number of
donations received. Special mention
must be made of the generosity of Lutz Luithlen and Elizabeth Shaw.
We thank all our supporters and
organisations, not forgetting our audiences, both large and small.
* * * * * * *
In the year 2002-3 the Richard
Attenborough Centre presented the first of three seasons of a new concert
series sponsored by HSBC Bank. Entitled
A New Musical Generation at the Richard Attenborough Centre, the emphasis is
on supporting young musicians who have already begun to establish themselves
as artists in Britain and abroad.
The RAC has undertaken music educational
outreach projects such as Time for Jazz and Weaving with Sound. Time for Jazz was funded by East Midlands Arts and the National
Foundation for Youth Music. Richard
Fairhurst, international jazz pianist and composer, delivered and led
workshops in five schools across Leicestershire.
Seventy-nine students from Guthlaxton College, John Cleveland College,
Leicester Grammar School, Thomas Estley Community College and Burleigh
Community College participated in the project.
Weaving with Sound was a project focusing
on outreach for disabled students.
Funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music, Leicester City and
County Councils, the Eastern Orchestral Board and the Ulverscroft Foundation,
the project was led by Matt Anderson of Sambawamba, who facilitated workshops
to enable young people from Ashfield Special School, Western Park Special
School and Birkett House Special School to make music with a soundbeam and to
collaborate with able-bodied musicians from Viva Sinfonia in making new music.
The project enabled enthusiastic carers to be trained in the use of
music technology including the soundbeam, so that they can carry on this work
with their disabled students.
There have also been a number of exciting
music courses at the RAC, one being a choral vocal workshop for singers from
the Leicester Philharmonic Choir led by Val Machel; a conducting course led by
Andrew Constantine who recently received an Honorary Doctorate from the
University of Leicester, and Julie and Richard Latham of the drumming duo
Beats Working, who led a workshop for children from special schools in the
presence of the Earl and Countess of Wessex among others.
The lunchtime Soundbite programme has
continued to flourish. One of its
successes is in connecting the musical community of Leicester with the
University of Leicester. Highlights
of this series have been BBC Radio Leicester’s ‘World on Your Street’
showcase with musicians who are refugees performing their own brand of music
from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ghana.
Early in June, Yoko Muraoka (violin) and Mariko Terashi (piano)
performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (first movement) so that Yoko could
feel more relaxed about the performance of the whole concerto which she was to
give in Tokyo fairly soon afterwards. In
February, Vicky Clayton, Education Officer at De Montfort Hall, gave a
performance of folk music from Lincolnshire interspersed with side-splitting
were just some events in a packed musical programme at the University during
the last academic year. For full details of this year’s music programme
(2003-2004) please see the website: www.le.ac.uk/music
or contact the Department of Music and the Richard Attenborough Centre.
Anthony Pither, Director
Philip Herbert, Organising Tutor (Music), Richard Attenborough Centre
Last updated: 8 October 2003 10:55
Maintained by: Barbara Whiteman
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