Aurora Orchestra: Living Music, 2019/20 Season

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Aurora Orchestra

Living Music

Jim Hinson, photographer Jim is a founding partner of the production company Stanton Media, where he specialises in photography as well as being involved in all aspects of film production. He has been on the journey with Aurora Orchestra since 2010, creating many of the orchestra’s films and creative photoshoots. Photography by Jim Hinson (Stanton Media), Digital-in-Residence Q&A questions by Kate Wakeling, Writer-in-Residence


We may as well admit it – here at Aurora we’re more than a little obsessive about music. No surprise that it’s on our mind when we’re rehearsing, performing or programming, but for us it’s much more of a compulsion than that: we eat, sleep, breathe, live music. Whether developing a new Orchestral Theatre production, planning a workshop for school children, preparing to perform a whole symphony from memory, or creating our latest brochure, we’re constantly preoccupied by the pieces we love, and how we can share them with the broadest possible audience. It’s this idea of an all-consuming musical obsession which we explore in the 2019/20 season brochure – a book of photographs created with the help of regular collaborators Jim Hinson (images), Kate Wakeling (text) and Nick Eagleton (design). Jim’s wonderful portraits, which will be on display as a pop-up exhibition at several of our concerts this year, show players and collaborators inhabiting the music they will perform – superfans with an irrepressible passion for the works in this year’s programmes. And there’s much to inspire passion in this new season, Aurora’s fifteenth. As Resident Orchestra at Kings Place, we approach the end of our five-year Mozart’s Piano series (2016–2020), a kaleidoscopic musical journey built around the first-ever complete cycle of Mozart’s piano concertos staged in the UK. Alongside six of these concertos, this season’s programmes include a rich breadth of repertoire ranging from Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev to Copland, Gershwin and Birtwistle. There are

commissions and/or premieres from Charlotte Bray to James MacMillan, and a long-neglected gem in the shape of Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony. Guest artists include pianists Nicholas Angelich, Ronald Brautigam, Imogen Cooper, Ingrid Fliter, Angela Hewitt and Tom Poster as well as saxophonist Amy Dickson, cellist Natalie Clein and guest conductor Duncan Ward. Also at Kings Place we continue our late-night Lock-In series in the informal surroundings of Hall Two, where audiences rub shoulders with performers and hear directly from them about their own musical obsessions. Programmes this year include new Leader Maia Cabeza’s exploration of Central and Eastern European folk music, a tribute to the legendary French pianist and teacher Nadia Boulanger, a performance in the round of Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, and a very special opportunity to experience Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony from inside the orchestra. And don’t miss our ever-popular storytelling series Far, Far Away, this year featuring productions inspired by the music of Chopin, Beethoven and Bartók (and not only for the very young – adults can unleash their inner child with a specially adapted late-night version of Mozart in the Garden!). As Associate Orchestra at Southbank Centre we’re delighted to return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall for Fallen Hero, a programme pairing a memorised Eroica Symphony with Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon as part of our Orchestral Theatre series. And we take the series on tour to the Royal Albert Hall for a very special Orchestral Theatre production

staged in collaboration with the BBC Proms – a musical adventure through Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique in the company of special guest Mathew Baynton. While this brochure is focused on the orchestra’s London performances, you will also find details of linked touring activity (including debut performances in Nottingham and Cardiff, returns to Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Saffron Hall and Snape, and international performances in Wiesbaden, Bremen, Heidelberg, Cologne, La Rochelle and Gstaad). You’ll also find details of how we share the music we love with people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience it. For more information about Aurora’s work, including listings for all concerts in the UK and internationally, and to sign up for our monthly newsletter, please visit our website at We look forward to welcoming you along to a concert very soon.

John Harte Chief Executive


Q&A with Henry Baldwin, Principal Percussion One of the Symphonie fantastique’s first reviews described it as a work of ‘almost inconceivable strangeness’. What’s the strangest thing about this piece? The subject matter for this work is extraordinary but I think Berlioz took orchestration to a new level. The off-stage oboe and church bells, distant stormy timpani, the eerie glissandi in the woodwind at the beginning of the last movement… I can only imagine how revelatory it must have sounded at the premiere. While composing the work, Berlioz wrote to his friend Ferdinand Hiller: ‘Can you tell me what it is, this capacity for emotion, this force of suffering that is wearing me out?’ It sounded pretty exhausting to write. How does it feel to perform? There is definitely a feeling of sensory overload and a rawness to the programmatic style. This creates an uncomfortable and exposed feeling on stage which is at the same time unbelievably exciting. I’m sure this will only be exaggerated by our staged and frommemory presentation. Berlioz claimed to have written the symphony’s fourth movement (‘The March to the Scaffold’) in a single night. If you had just one evening to spend with Hector Berlioz, where might you take him and what would you do?


One of my hobbies is to run up and down mountains in the UK. I sometimes like to do it at night, and the more extreme the weather, the better! I find the feelings of awe at my surroundings, exhaustion and battling against extreme environments very exhilarating. I imagine it would get Berlioz’s creative juices flowing. The symphony seems to have it all: sweeping countryside, a glamorous ball, an opiuminduced vision of the protagonist’s own death and a ringside seat at the witches’ sabbath. Who would you cast in the Netflix serialisation of this piece? And who should direct it? In terms of casting Harriet, the symphony’s love interest, whom Berlioz describes as a ‘woman who unites all the charms of the ideal person’, Jodie Comer could be great. She showed such an extraordinary range in Killing Eve and would doubtless also be excellent when a nightmarish vision of Harriet appears at the Witches’ Sabbath. The poet Heinrich Heine said that Berlioz’s music made him dream of ‘fabulous empires, filled with fabulous sins.’ Tell us about the weirdest (or most fabulous) dream you’ve ever had. Unfortunately I never remember my dreams but I was recently on a long run having stayed up all night. I was between two mountain peaks in the Lake District and I saw a white house with a smoking chimney directly in front of me. It was in fact a hallucination and I was actually staring at a large puddle!

Thu 12 September 2019, 7pm & 10.15pm BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall The Orchestral Theatre Berlioz Symphonie fantastique (from memory) Mathew Baynton actor Nicholas Collon conductor Jane Mitchell & James Bonas directors Kate Wicks production design Will Reynolds lighting design & video Cydney Uffindell-Phillips movement consultant Concept and script by Jane Mitchell Waltz through a glittering ball, enter a feverish dream, march to your own execution, and spin into dark delirium at a witches’ sabbath. Aurora Orchestra and actor Mathew Baynton invite you to an Orchestral Theatre production of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. This creative concert interweaves a memorised performance of the work with theatrical design, lighting, movement and Berlioz’s own words about his music, alongside a presentation of the work’s musical ideas with live excerpts. Masks courtesy of Wintercroft; Paris set construction by Anarchy Ltd. Fantastique is made possible through the support of the New Berlioz Edition Trust. The production is part of The Orchestral Theatre series in honour of Sir Claus Moser, generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Cockayne Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation, and the Aurora Patrons & Friends. Related Tour Dates Thu 29 August – Snape Maltings Concert Hall Fri 30 August – Rheingau Musik Festival (Germany) Tue 10 September – Saffron Hall Sat 14 September – Musikfest Bremen (Germany)

Fantastique Henry Baldwin, Primrose Hill

Reels and Dances

Q&A with Amy Harman, Principal Bassoon Mendelssohn conceived of his Third Symphony in 1829 in Scotland, during a walking tour ‘without any real purpose, just for my enjoyment’ that summer. Can you tell us a bit about Mendelssohn’s experiences of Scotland during this trip? He absolutely loved Scotland. The visit included that famous trip to Fingal’s Cave which Mendelssohn found so mesmerising (although he was apparently violently seasick throughout). The Third Symphony was inspired by a visit to Holyrood Chapel where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Mendelssohn wrote: ‘Everything around is broken and mouldering, and the bright sky shines in. I believe I found today in that old chapel the beginning of my Scottish Symphony.’ It transpires Mendelssohn wasn’t much keen on Scottish music, however: ‘Infamous, vulgar, out-of-tune trash… it has given me a toothache already.’ Rather, he claimed that it was ‘in pictures, ruins and natural surroundings that I find the most music’. In what ways does this symphony conjure something of Scotland for you? Yes, the symphony is light on references to Scottish music, although the second movement has some distinctive ‘Scotch snap’ rhythms. I suppose the piece is more an evocation of the landscape and history of Scotland, from the stormy seas of the first movement to the militaristic music of the finale’s opening.


There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding the symphony’s boisterously cheerful coda. Otto Klemperer declared that ‘the clever Gewandhaus Kapellmeister Mendelssohn got the better of the great composer Mendelssohn. I therefore believe that this gives me the right to alter this coda radically.’ (Which he often did.) What do you think of the coda? Well, it’s certainly a joyful end to the symphony. And because it uses some material from the first movement, the coda gives the piece a strong cyclical feel. There are some excellent parts for the bassoon in this symphony (especially the rip-roaring second movement). What’s your favourite thing about playing this piece?

Sat 28 September 2019, 7pm Hall One, Kings Place Mozart’s Piano James MacMillan Saxophone Concerto (English premiere) Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3 in A minor, ‘Scottish’ Ronald Brautigam piano Amy Dickson saxophone Nicholas Collon conductor Aurora journeys to a land of soaring mountains and haunting myths, conjuring up the drama of Scotland, from its folk music to its landscapes.

Literally all Mendelssohn is a joy to play. It is sunshine in musical form and he writes beautifully for wind instruments, always such flattering parts that let you show off all the different colours and characters of the instrument. Hands down my favourite part of this symphony is the beautiful soulful solo at the end of the fourth movement. It’s such a contrast to most of what you’ve played in the symphony and the dialogue with the clarinet is heartbreaking.

Legendary Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam makes his debut with Aurora in one of Mozart’s darkest works, the D-minor Piano Concerto, adored for its tragic and expressive character. This evocative atmosphere continues into Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony, a work inspired by the composer’s travels to the Highlands, where Mendelssohn was mesmerised by the dramatic history and scenery. The orchestra also presents a new work by one of the foremost composers of our time, James MacMillan. Written for Classic Brit Award winner Amy Dickson, this bright, punchy Saxophone Concerto spins traditional Scottish musical forms – a strathspey, reel, jig and Gaelic psalm singing – into vivid modern miniatures.

‘Whisky is the only drink’ (Felix Mendelssohn). Agree?

James MacMillan’s Saxophone Concerto is co-commissioned by Aurora Orchestra, Perth Concert Hall and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

I’m more of a champagne girl myself.

Reels and Dances Amy Harman, supermarket in Dog Kennel Hill

Mozart in the Garden

Q&A with Sally Pryce, Principal Harp A musical stroll among the flowers and trees sounds delightful. Can you tell us a bit more about Mozart in the Garden? This is an enchanting, multi-sensory experience set in what I think must be a magical garden, where the music of Mozart guides and introduces us to a few characters on our journey. Hold on, so this is a children’s show but for adults? Intriguing. How does that work? Time to give in to your inner child! We all want to escape being a grown-up every now and again and this gives us the perfect excuse to let loose, wiggle like a worm and jump like a grasshopper. Or sit back and forget the outside world for a little while. Caterpillars use their feet to taste with, slugs have four noses and grasshoppers keep their ears on their abdomens. Any interesting sensory experiences for the audience to enjoy during this performance? Just one or two! You get to smell sprigs of lavender, lie under the stars, find some wriggly worms and grow from a seed into a flower while singing (if you wish).


What’s your favourite bit of music to play in the show? Ah, that’s hard! It’s all fun to play… Maybe the audience song as it’s always wonderful to watch the audience singing and reacting to Mozart. A typical female mosquito can drink at least her bodyweight in blood. Is there going to be a bar at this concert? (Asking for a friend.) I think there might be the possibility of a drink or two!

Sat 28 September 2019, 9.15pm Hall Two, Kings Place The Lock-In & Far, Far Away (for grown-ups) Jessie Maryon Davies storyteller Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra Wander among the lavender, wiggle with worms and snooze to the music of a twinkling night sky. Join Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra for a late-night stroll through the garden and experience an imaginative, multi-sensory storytelling concert for children reimagined for grown-ups. Expect an interactive show where you’ll be invited to breathe in the fragrance of a summer’s meadow, leap like a grasshopper or simply lie back with a drink in hand as Mozart’s music unfolds around you in this magical setting. Featuring new chamber arrangements of Mozart’s music, including Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the Clarinet Quintet and Concerto for Flute and Harp, with an original story from Kate Wakeling (Writer-in-Residence) and hosted by Jessie Maryon Davies (Workshop Leader-in-Residence), this mischievous concert promises to rekindle your inner child as you find your place in Mozart’s garden.

Mozart in the Garden Sally Pryce, Stationers Park

New Rhapsodies

Q&A with Tom Poster, piano soloist Gershwin said he conceived of Rhapsody in Blue as ‘a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America – of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness’. How does it feel to perform the work in 2019? Well there’s certainly enough metropolitan madness and blues going on in the world right now, so I think anything that celebrates the kaleidoscopic diversity of life and art sends a crucial message. And it will always be a joy to perform the Rhapsody in Blue. A new arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue sounds radical. Can you tell us more about the original orchestration of the piece (and why it’s more of a moveable feast than we might perhaps expect)? Gershwin entrusted the orchestration to Ferde Grofé, and partly improvised the piano part himself at the premiere – so we’ll never know how it originally sounded. The initial jazz band scoring included tenor banjo and one player doubling on tuba and double bass (!), while later versions ranged from solo piano to symphony orchestra, so it’s one of the most adaptable pieces imaginable. What’s the best thing about playing Rhapsody in Blue? I never lose the thrill at hearing the opening clarinet glissando (initially introduced as a joke in rehearsal by the work’s original


clarinettist) and the sense of being invited to join the party. It’s a piece which has brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people, and I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. If you had to be more specific about the precise shade of blue that Rhapsody in Blue evokes for you, what hue would you suggest? (No need for a pantone number. Unless one springs to mind.) Honestly, I don’t think I see it as blue at all. Gershwin’s initial inspiration was the noisy, steely rhythms of a train, and I see metallic shades of silver and gold, reds and oranges… The audience for Rhapsody in Blue’s premiere in 1924 was something of a Who’s Who of 20th-century music-making, including Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Kreisler, Stokowski, Sousa and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith. Sounds relaxing for the 25-year-old Gershwin. Who would your ideal companions be to kick back with a post-concert whisky highball, if you could invite anyone (living or dead) along to this performance? I’m going to bring back some dead people: I’d like to invite Mozart, Robert and Clara Schumann, Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald, Lucia Popp, Pavarotti, Oscar Wilde, Jesus, the Buddha and the entire family of Moomins. Obviously the Moomins aren’t dead. Or people.

Sat 2 November 2019, 7pm Hall One, Kings Place Mozart’s Piano Bartók (arr. Farrington) Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin Gershwin (arr. Farrington) Rhapsody in Blue (world premiere of arrangement) Mozart Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K459 Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 in D major, ‘Classical’ Tom Poster piano Nicholas Collon conductor Aurora explores early 20th-century expressions of modernity, pairing iconic works by Gershwin, Bartók and Prokofiev with Mozart’s radiant F-major Piano Concerto. Written in the bleak aftermath of World War I, Bartók’s pantomime ballet The Miraculous Mandarin depicts the dark underbelly of modern urban life, provocatively stirring up a scandal when it premiered. In contrast, across the Atlantic, Gershwin shines a different light on urban modernity with Rhapsody in Blue, a piano concerto that grooves to the rhythms and sonorities of the 1920s Jazz Age. Complementing these two works, Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony twists and turns with Haydnesque charm, merging classical forms with modern harmonies. This neoclassical gem is paired with Mozart’s lively F-major Piano Concerto performed by regular Aurora collaborator Tom Poster, known for his warm tone and thoughtful lyricism. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 is generously supported by Andrew Blankfield & Bernadette Hillman and Nicholas & Emma Hardie. Related Tour Dates Fri 1 November – St George’s Bristol

New Rhapsodies Tom Poster, Bus Stop B at Alexandra Palace

Folk Roots

Q&A with Maia Cabeza, Leader Kodály once said, ‘A good folk song is a perfect masterpiece in itself.’ Can you tell us more about how folk music threads through this concert? He’s right! In this Lock-In we explore how Central and Eastern European folk music influenced specific composers of the 20th century. We’ll hear original field recordings of folk songs juxtaposed with chamber music by Kodály and Bartók. I’ll also perform solo violin works by Schulhoff and Enescu, two composers whose musical language was similarly shaped by contact with folk music. Folk Roots sounds intimate and atmospheric. What can the audience expect when they enter the space? People can expect to experience the music up close in whatever way feels best to them! Whether that means lying down on cushions in the dark, moving with the music, just sipping a drink, or all three, you have the freedom to listen to this concert in any way you choose. Bartók’s Rhapsody No. 2 is a beautiful mixture of the delicate and the fierce, and draws on the sounds of bagpipe drones, folk fiddling and dance melodies from across Hungary and Romania. How does it feel to prepare and perform this piece?


The Rhapsody No. 2 is a wonderful example of Bartók’s ability to construct a piece which is mostly a collection of folk tunes and transform it into a work with his distinctive

compositional voice. It is written extremely virtuosically for both instruments, so I would say preparing and performing this piece requires plenty of practice and a bit of luck! By all accounts Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff was a fascinating character: a surrealist, Dadaist, communist and selfdeclared fan of ‘nightclub dancing’. Can you tell us a bit more about his 1927 Sonata for Solo Violin? Schulhoff was indeed an incredible man and versatile composer, and one whose life was tragically cut short by the Nazi regime. His musical works range vastly in style, from jazz-infused music to neo-baroque forms and humorous, absurdist pieces. His solo violin sonata was written in a period where he was exploring folk music, and we hear the influence immediately. The employment of driving dance rhythms, percussive pizzicatos and the Lydian mode all recall Eastern European folk music. If you found yourself in possession of an Edison wax cylinder phonograph (or indeed just an iPhone 7) and a month off, where would you most like to travel in the world for some musical adventures of your own? This is a difficult question, as there are so many interesting options! One of the places at the top of my list is India. I’ve never had the chance to travel there and would love to experience and explore the country’s amazing musical traditions.

Sat 2 November 2019, 9.15pm Hall Two, Kings Place The Lock-In Kodály Duo Schulhoff Sonata for Solo Violin Enescu Airs in Romanian Folk Style Bartók Rhapsody No. 2 Maia Cabeza violin Sébastien van Kuijk cello John Reid piano Join Aurora’s Leader Maia Cabeza in a mesmerising performance of chamber works sparked by European folk music in this atmospheric evening Lock-In. By turns meditative and exhilarating, the programme weaves together original field recordings of folk songs with dynamic performances of 20th-century works inspired by Central and Eastern European folk music. Hear Bartók’s fiery Rhapsody No. 2 for violin and piano, Kodály’s expressive Duo for violin and cello, and Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff’s little-heard Sonata for Solo Violin of 1927, which bristles with percussive effects and boisterous folk rhythms. Performed in darkness, with the audience invited to lie down on cushions among the musicians, Folk Roots offers a spellbinding and immersive encounter with the captivating world of European folk music.

Folk Roots Maia Cabeza, Potsdam Sanssouci Park (Photo credit: Kaupo Kikkas)

Beethoven and the Dinosaurs

Q&A with John Reid, Principal Piano ‘Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes,’ said Beethoven. By all accounts quite a lot of (gentle) roaring and storming happens in this concert. Can you tell us a bit more about the show? It’s a strange combination of the sublime and the ridiculous. Children seem to love a bit of roaring from adults, on condition that those adults are: a. Not their parents b. Not forcing them to eat their greens. Administering serious music is fine. If you happened to be aged between 0–5 years old, what do you think you’d enjoy most about this performance? The variety of entertainment contained within a 45-minute span of time: you get to watch, listen, sing, dance, shake an egg, take a nap… How does your Tyrannosaurus Rex costume impact on your interpretation of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in the show? (Viz. are you considering wearing it for any other concerts this season?) As soon as I’m clipped into that tail and crown, all my inhibitions and performance nerves vanish. There’s an Emperor’s-NewClothes quality to the transformation, in an entirely positive way (I speak for myself here).


Beethoven. Dinosaurs. Is there something of a hint here about dead white male composers? Or does this show by any chance put a fresh new spin on Beethoven’s music?

Sat 30 November & Sun 1, Sat 7, Sun 8 December 2019, various times Hall Two, Kings Place Far, Far Away (for children aged 0–5)

When you’re a toddler, identity politics isn’t yet a thing. Beethoven might be a dead white male, but equally he might literally be a dinosaur for all you know – or he might even be the strange adult sitting on the next beanbag, laughing in all the wrong places. Our hope is that you (and the adults) will pick up on the beauty, fun and drama of the music – and that you’ll only turn your back on the Ode to Joy if you were distracted by an even fresher spin taking place at the back of the room.

Jessie Maryon Davies storyteller Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra

But if, for instance, Beethoven was a dinosaur, what sort of dinosaur would he be? I’d think of Beethoven as a big cat: lithe and noble. In which case, we’d need to protect him from extinction. In less-than-great performances, he can take on the appearance of a crabby old T-Rex instead: all crude sforzandi, lumbering speeds and pulverised phrasing. His music shouldn’t evoke the skeletons at the Natural History Museum.

Travel back in time 200 million years to the age of the dinosaurs. Soar with a Pterodactyl, scratch the back of a spiky Stegosaurus, roar with a T-Rex and be carried away on the dreamiest of prehistoric moonbeams. Experience one of Aurora’s multi-sensory storytelling performances for young children, featuring new chamber arrangements of Beethoven’s music by Iain Farrington (Arrangerin-Residence) and a playful new story from Kate Wakeling (Writer-in-Residence). Audiences are invited to listen, sing, dance and enter a magical world of music, discovery and play. Suitable for children aged 0–5 and their families. Performance Times Sat 30 November – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Sun 1 December – 10am, 11am, 12pm Sat 7 December – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Sun 8 December – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Far, Far Away is generously supported by Arts Council England, Kings Place Music Foundation and Signatur.

Beethoven and the Dinosaurs John Reid, Kings Place Hall One


Q&A with Simon Cox, Principal Trumpet Born in 1804, Louise Farrenc was an extraordinarily gifted composer and pianist. She was also the first female Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire. Why do you think her works were so quickly forgotten after her death? Farrenc’s gender doubtless played a part: women faced huge challenges in gaining lasting recognition as composers in this era (and beyond). Her significant focus on chamber music (rather than opera, for example) may also have played a part. No surprises, but equal pay was a disaster in 19th-century French musical circles. Tell us what happened after the premiere of Farrenc’s Nonet. The premiere of the Nonet was probably Farrenc’s biggest professional triumph – following this she was in a position to demand equal pay with her male counterparts, for doing the same job. It’s incredible that two centuries later we’ve not eliminated these issues and the need to champion women in music continues. Farrenc’s works have been compared to Beethoven, Schumann and Mendelssohn (Tom Service suggests the scherzo to Symphony No. 3 ‘out-Mendelssohns Mendelssohn himself’). But what would you say are the hallmarks of Farrenc’s own personal compositional style?


The first thing that jumps out to me is a wonderful gift for expressive melodic writing. Coupled with constant shifts in character and colour, this means that as a listener you are always kept engaged with the music as it develops.

Sat 14 December 2019, 7pm Hall One, Kings Place Mozart’s Piano & Venus Unwrapped

The critics loved Symphony No. 3: ‘There is no musician who does not remember Mme Farrenc’s Symphony performed at the Conservatoire, a strong and spirited work in which the brilliance of the melodies contends with the variety of the harmony.’ What’s your favourite bit of the piece?

Angela Hewitt piano Natalie Clein cello Duncan Ward conductor

The beginning of the second movement is a special moment. A beautiful clarinet melody is accompanied by the rest of the wind section, and I find the horn writing especially effective. Farrenc and her husband put together a 23-volume book about early keyboard music. If you found yourself compelled to write a 23-volume work on something, what would it be about? I imagine you would have to be extremely motivated to write 23 volumes about any subject! As such, I’d have to focus on brass ensemble music, which takes up most of my time (away from Aurora, of course).

Charlotte Bray New work (world premiere) Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22 in Eb major, K482 Louise Farrenc Symphony No. 3 in G minor

This powerful programme celebrates women pioneers past and present. Louise Farrenc was a towering musical figure in 19th-century France. Yet despite being admired by such luminaries as Berlioz and Schumann, Farrenc’s music was relatively unknown after her death and has only recently begun to enjoy the prominence it deserves. Here, Aurora sparks a dialogue across the centuries between her overlooked Third Symphony and Charlotte Bray’s new work for cello and strings, commissioned to mark the centenary of the landmark legislation paving the way for women to enter professional life in the UK. Renowned pianist Angela Hewitt also makes her Aurora debut in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22, bringing her illuminating artistry to this radiant work. Charlotte Bray’s new work is commissioned by the First 100 Years to mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. The performance of Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No. 3 is made possible with funding from the ABO Trust’s Sirens programme, a ten-year initiative to support the performance and promotion of music by historical women composers. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 is generously supported by Suzanne Szczetnikowicz.

Pioneers Simon Cox, breakfast table in Wembley

La Boulangerie

Q&A with Jane Mitchell, Principal Flute & Creative Director Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979) was an acclaimed composer, conductor and composition teacher. Composer Ned Rorem has declared: ‘So far as musical pedagogy is concerned – and by extension musical creation – Nadia Boulanger is the most influential person who ever lived.’ Could you tell us a bit more about her? I see his point! As a teacher in particular, her legacy is almighty. Nadia grew up in Paris at the turn of the 20th century and was steeped in music from the moment she was born – her father was a composer and pianist, and her mother (a Russian princess!) sang. Nadia lived and breathed music and in particular felt an incredibly strong connection to the idea of the canon of composers stretching back into the past. She felt strongly that it was by learning about the great past works and composers that musicians would be able to push forwards into new territory. As an influential teacher of so many 20th-century composers you could say she created her own canon almost single-handedly! How does this concert pay tribute to Boulanger’s work? Part of our Lock-In series, this concert will be an intimate and informal affair. We will build a picture of Nadia herself through her words and music and we will also take a look at the almost unbelievable range of styles she influenced, by exploring the works of her pupils. From bathing in the beauty of Copland


to singing songs which have appeared on Sesame Street and dancing to Quincy Jones, it would be wise to expect the unexpected! Boulanger once said: ‘I’ve been a woman for little over 50 years and have gotten over my initial astonishment.’ Do you think the music establishment ever managed to? Actually yes, I think they did – certainly as a teacher. The list of composers who travelled from across the globe to study with her speaks volumes and the utter respect that comes across in the many, many words said about her is unquestionable. Interestingly though, the music she created is not very well known and her list of ‘noted pupils’ is almost entirely male. Nadia is also said to have addressed female composers as ‘monsieur’ if she felt they were due a compliment, so perhaps not an uncomplicated set of thoughts here! Imagine for a moment that Nadia Boulanger was roused from the dead to find herself bang in the middle of the UK’s contemporary music scene. What, in your opinion, would Nadia do? I get the sense Nadia showed the most brilliant mix of strong and informed opinions about new music whilst also being very open-minded. Her list of pupils is testament to that: she certainly didn’t only teach people of a certain mindset, style or background. So I think she’d be telling the world what she thought, but she’d also give it all her time of day. And she’d be pretty pleased that so much music (old, new, and very new) is thriving!

Sat 14 December 2019, 9.15pm Hall Two, Kings Place The Lock-In & Venus Unwrapped Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra Join Aurora for an eclectic evening in the legendary Parisian salon of Nadia Boulanger, perhaps the most influential woman in 20th-century music. Boulanger was not only an outstanding composer and conductor, but she also taught composition to an extraordinary roster of musical greats, including Burt Bacharach, Leonard Bernstein, Thea Musgrave and Aaron Copland. This playful exploration of Boulanger’s remarkable legacy includes performances of her own chamber works, alongside pieces by the numerous musicians Boulanger mentored throughout her long and illustrious career, including Quincy Jones, Elliott Carter and her sister Lili Boulanger, all performed in the intimate setting of an Aurora Lock-In.

La Boulangerie Jane Mitchell, Stroud Green and Harringay Library

New Dawns

Q&A with Jamie Campbell, Principal Second Violin Composed in 1799–1800 at the dawn of a new century, Beethoven’s First Symphony has been called ‘a fitting farewell to the 18th century’. In what ways would you say the work looks both forwards and backwards in time? Beethoven uses the same orchestral forces that Mozart and Haydn would have used, and a conventional four-movement structure. Much of the writing is relatively light and ‘classical’ and, of course, his later symphonies feature much larger orchestras, more wind and brass instruments and far more unusual structures and number of movements. However, the writing is still daring and new in the First Symphony. It’s a bold statement to the musical world – ‘Here I am!’ The symphony gets off to an unusual start, moving one critic to declare: ‘No one will censure an ingenious artist like Beethoven for such liberties and peculiarities, but such a beginning is not suitable for the opening of a grand concert in a spacious opera house.’ What exactly makes it so surprising? Beethoven starts quietly, rather than loudly, with a series of cadences that would normally be at the end of the movement rather than the beginning. The strings are pizzicato and it’s not in C major. Basically, everything’s the opposite of what you might expect!


Something not entirely expected happens at the start of the finale too. Can you tell us more? The Finale starts with a big loud C major chord – the one you might have expected to come at the start of the first movement. However, Beethoven follows it with a cheeky, uncertain passage for the first violins on their own. It’s as if they’ve suddenly lost all their confidence and stumbled into the wrong room at a party. They start with three ascending notes, then try again with more and more, and then, with a sudden cascade of exuberance, they tumble into a wonderfully joyful theme. The symphony includes lots of interesting writing for the wind section (one critic went so far as to say that the score was more suitable for a ‘wind band’ than an orchestra), but it seems like the strings still have plenty of beautiful bits to play. What’s your favourite thing about performing Beethoven as a violinist? I find Beethoven to be an incredibly demanding composer for the violin. He sometimes requires virtuosity, nimbleness and dexterity and other times great depth and strength to the sound. Returning to thoughts of dawn, how would you describe your usual morning routine? More Mark Wahlberg (03.15am workout followed by 90 minutes ‘cryo-chamber recovery’) or The Dude (a White Russian for breakfast)? My morning usually starts with a run or a swim, followed by a good black coffee!

Sat 8 February 2020, 7pm Hall One, Kings Place Mozart’s Piano, Nature Unwrapped, Beethoven 250 Dobrinka Tabakova Dawn (London premiere) Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491 Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C major Nicholas Angelich piano Nicholas Collon conductor The American pianist Nicholas Angelich makes his Aurora debut as soloist for Mozart’s C-minor Piano Concerto, widely considered one of the composer’s greatest works and described by Brahms as ‘a masterpiece of art… full of inspired ideas’. Another admirer of the concerto was the young Beethoven, who on hearing the work in rehearsal in 1799 reportedly exclaimed, ‘We shall never be able to do anything like that!’ Just a year later, Beethoven premiered the first of his symphonies, consolidating his reputation as the musical heir to Mozart and Haydn with a work that honoured their musical tradition while offering glimpses of his more radical mature voice. Connecting Mozart’s Piano with the year-long Kings Place Nature Unwrapped series, the programme opens with Dobrinka Tabakova’s Dawn – a glimmering sunrise for strings with violin and cello soloists. Related Tour Dates Fri 7 February – Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad (Switzerland)

New Dawns Jamie Campbell, Royal Observatory Greenwich

Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds 22

Q&A with Tom Barber, Principal Oboe Soon after the premiere of the Quintet for Piano and Winds, Mozart wrote to his father: ‘I myself consider it to be the best thing I have written in my life.’ Agree? I reckon he probably thought that after every new work! It is a fabulous piece and definitely one of his best at the time, though he hadn’t yet written the late piano concertos or the Da Ponte operas… The quintet is scored for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. This seems quite an unexpected combination, right? (Or have I just been listening to the wrong Spotify playlists?) The piano concertos Mozart wrote around the same time contain long sections of chamberlike dialogue between the piano and winds, so I guess he just took the idea to its logical conclusion and disposed of the strings altogether! What’s your favourite bit of the piece to play? The coda of the last movement never fails to make me smile – the brief moment of prayerlike calm in the winds before a mischievous romp to the end. It always reminds me of the ‘happily ever after’ epilogues in his operas.

The cadenza for all five players in the finale seems especially magic. Can you tell us how this part of the score works?

Sat 8 February 2020, 9.15pm Hall Two, Kings Place The Lock-In

It is written out in time (for obvious logistical reasons!) so the challenge is to play it in the free and improvisatory style of a cadenza whilst also keeping the five players in touch with each other.

Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds in Eb major, K452

As well as being an exquisite piece of music, Mozart’s score is also something of a mystery thriller. Would you please unravel The Curious Case of the Forged Final Page for us? Apparently the final page was lost at some point and a mystery person forged an alternative ending to fill the gap. They didn’t do a great job, so luckily Mozart’s original ending has been restored in all its glory. This concert sounds like it follows an enjoyably informal sort of format. Can you explain a bit more about what the audience can expect at the performance? In this Lock-In, they can expect to lie on a bean bag with a nice cold beer in their hand (should they wish) and listen to some live Mozart played by musicians sitting amongst them…

Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra Experience Mozart’s delightful masterpiece for piano and winds performed in-the-round in the intimate setting of an Aurora Lock-In. Composed in 1784, the quintet is scored for an unusual combination of piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, and was a firm favourite of the composer himself, who reported the work had ‘received the most remarkable applause’ at its premiere. Written in the midst of a flurry of new piano concerto commissions, the work accordingly takes on something of a concertante form, also featuring a daring cadenza scored for all five instruments in the work’s dance-like finale. Lie back on a cushion and savour the chance to hear this rarely-performed gem up close.

Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds Tom Barber, bedroom in Camberwell

Chopin and the Dragonfly

Q&A with Patxi del Amo, Workshop Leader-in-Residence Chopin waltzes, dancing dragonflies, springtime cheer. This concert sounds lovely. Can you tell us a bit more about the sorts of things that might happen in it? Ice that melts in front of your eyes, waltzing chicks and a snoring tortoise for a start, followed by blossoms and blooms that listen to a Chopin prelude, and then lovely, warm sunshine at last. A true spring fest! Chopin’s partner of many years, George Sand, used to refer to Frédéric as ‘my little grasshopper’. Are there any animals (besides dragonflies) set to appear here? Well, I’ve already told you about the spring chicks and the sleeping tortoise, but there are grasshoppers and dragonflies around too. And, you know what? I am told there are lots more creatures hiding in among the sharps and the demisemiquavers; you just have to close your eyes to see them… So it was Hans von Bülow and not Chopin himself (drat) who gave the 24 Piano Preludes, Op. 28 their colourful titles. Why do you think Bülow named Prelude No. 11 ‘The Dragonfly’? Prelude No. 11 is extraordinary, isn’t it? 27 bars, blink and you’ll miss it. Yet it brims with optimism and opportunity and (like dragonflies) it reminds you that some of the most magical things in life are only little and brief.


Apparently Chopin insisted on playing the piano in the dark, even when performing at parties. It doesn’t sound much fun. (Or does it?) What do you think Chopin would have made of this concert?

Sat 15, Sun 16, Sat 22, Sun 23 February 2020, various times Hall Two, Kings Place Far, Far Away (for children aged 0–5) & Nature Unwrapped

Scientists have done a lot of research into what happens in our brains when we listen to music in the dark – apparently we enjoy the power of sounds without visual input. I’m sure Chopin would have been intrigued by the amazing sensory journey that this concert offers.

Patxi del Amo storyteller Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra

Emperor dragonfly nymphs take up to a year to become winged adults. But after that they only live for 10 days. Discuss? Dragonflies, dragonflies, dragonflies… that’s all people care about! Can I put in a word here for us tortoises? Did you know we can live up to 100 years of age, we have to hold our breath for ages every time we go into our shells and a bunch of us travelled around the moon in 1968? No, I didn’t think you did. AND when in danger of becoming dehydrated, we separate the water out from the rest of our wee and excrete something awesome that looks like toothpaste. Find me a dragonfly that can do that and then we can talk.

Welcome the spring with this magical musical adventure of Chopin waltzes, dancing dragonflies and one very sleepy tortoise. Meet chattering streams, leap about with feathery chicks and help the springtime sun to shine in this playful and inventive storytelling concert for young children. This multi-sensory performance interweaves chamber arrangements of Chopin’s piano music with a specially-commissioned story from Kate Wakeling (Writer-in-Residence). Audiences are invited to listen, sing, dance, and enter a magical world of music, discovery and play. For children aged 0–5 and their families. Performance Times Sat 15 February – 10am, 11am, 12pm Sun 16 February – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Sat 22 February – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Sun 23 February – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Far, Far Away is generously supported by Arts Council England, Kings Place Music Foundation and Signatur.

Chopin and the Dragonfly who Brought the Spring Patxi del Amo, Hornsey Vale Community Centre

Earthly Rituals

Q&A with Alexandra Wood, Leader Harrison Birtwistle subtitles his composition Cortege ‘a ceremony for 14 musicians’. Can you tell us a bit more about how the piece functions as a ceremony or ritual? Players are arranged in a semicircle and take turns to emerge from the accompaniment group and come to the front ‘solo’ spot where they perform a kind of virtuosic cadenza. The bass drum is an important signal throughout the piece and this adds to the ritualistic, earthly element. Cortege makes a rich and intriguing pairing with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. What links do you sense between these two works? Cortege obviously creates a strong, bold musical contrast with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, but the theatrical, dramatic elements link them. And also, in a way, both works use instrumental ‘stars’ – groups and individuals – which highlight certain characteristics or moods.

How do you find the experience of playing from memory? In what ways does it change your experience of a piece? Playing from memory helps me to uncover the layers of the music, so I understand the structure better. When the whole orchestra performs from memory, it also frees us physically, from the music stand and chairs, but we also move and dance more, which adds to the excitement and drama we feel on stage – and with any luck in the audience too! Do you have any rituals, earthly or otherwise, that you carry out before going on stage for a concert? If I am performing from memory, I always like to look through the part before every concert, however many times I might have played it – almost like a visual last-minute reminder. I always work backwards from the end too!

Sat 28 March 2020, 7pm Hall One, Kings Place Mozart’s Piano, Nature Unwrapped, Beethoven 250 Harrison Birtwistle Cortege Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488 Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F major, ‘Pastoral’ (from memory) Ingrid Fliter piano Nicholas Collon conductor This striking programme includes a symphony performed entirely from memory, a work of orchestral theatre from the incomparable imagination of Harrison Birtwistle, and a first collaboration with stellar Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter. Fliter makes her Aurora debut performing Mozart’s A-major Piano Concerto K488, by turns jubilant and melancholic. This masterpiece is paired with a rare opportunity to experience Birwistle’s Cortege for 14 musicians, a virtuosic work in which musicians take turns to deliver a solo line from the centre of the ensemble, creating a kind of ritualised dance. Aurora then presents one of its distinctive memorised performances of a whole symphony with an electrifying interpretation of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Related Tour Dates Sat 21 March – Heidelberger Frühling (Germany) Mon 23 March – The Apex, Bury St Edmunds Tue 24 March – St George’s Bristol Thu 26 March – La Coursive, La Rochelle (France)


Earthly Rituals Alexandra Wood, design studio in Clerkenwell

Immersed – Beethoven 6 28

Q&A with Jessie Maryon Davies, Workshop Leader-in-Residence

Aurora will be playing passages of the symphony from memory. Do you think this will make much of a difference to how the audience experiences the performance?

Sat 28 March 2020, 9.15pm Hall Two, Kings Place The Lock-In, Nature Unwrapped, Beethoven 250 Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F major, ‘Pastoral’ (from memory)

As folks arrive into the space, they can choose where to stand or sit – it is very informal. Some will be coming straight from Aurora’s performance of the entire symphony and others will be joining us with new ears. Everyone is welcome and I wish to awaken feelings of curiosity, playfulness and happy reassurance that any gentle audience interaction will be strictly optional.

Yes! This performance springs from the interactive approach we’ve been developing with schools over recent years, inspired by the freedom that performing from memory allows. Aurora’s mind-boggling memory-brain allows us to get right inside the heart of the music and, with no music stands in the way, appreciate the physicality and dance-like quality of the playing. Such freedom for both orchestra and audience! I have seen hundreds of children’s beaming faces as they listen from right inside the orchestra and this feels too good not to share with our adult audiences.

The symphony itself evokes cuckoos and quails, babbling brooks, fierce thunderstorms and a spot of uproarious dancing. What sorts of things might the audience be invited to take part in?

Beethoven’s full title for the piece is ‘Pastoral Symphony, or Recollections of Country Life’. What’s your most joyful memory of being in the wilds of nature?

I very much hope we can achieve some uproarious dancing – let’s see how we go! (It’s what Beethoven would have wanted.) Certainly there will be opportunities to explore various listening positions – for example, getting up close to different sections of the orchestra or having the whole wonderful lot of them surround us entirely. There will be moments of song, dance and even a chance to conduct the players (no previous experience required for this bit though. In fact, it’s strictly for beginners).

I’m a Londoner and a very lucky one because my family has always spent time in the Yorkshire Dales. As a child, I remember endless days playing until the sun went down, discovering magical worlds in the woods, clambering over dry stone walls and splashing about in freezing rivers. As a teenager, this commitment was tested by the lack of phone reception but my loyalty to the countryside ultimately proved unwavering (and WiFi was invented), so these wilds form the basis of my most cheerful and thankful memories.

Beethoven titled the first movement of his Pastoral Symphony, ‘Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country’. What sorts of feelings might arriving at this performance awaken in the audience?

Jessie Maryon Davies presenter This special late-night event offers you the rare opportunity to experience Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony from inside the very heart of the orchestra. Hosted by the ingenious Jessie Maryon Davies, you’ll be invited to roam around different sections of the orchestra for a unique ‘surround-sound’ experience, as Aurora players perform passages of the symphony from memory. Get ready to explore the music through playful participation, including the chance to sing and move to the music (should you wish), or even try your hand at conducting passages of the score. Suitable for everyone, from seasoned concert-goers to anyone new to Beethoven’s magnificent symphony, this is a unique opportunity to experience one of the great works of the classical canon as you’ve never heard it before. Immersed is generously supported by Arts Council England, Kings Place Music Foundation and Signatur.

Immersed – Beethoven 6 Jessie Maryon Davies, back garden in Kensal Rise

Fallen Hero

Q&A with Nicholas Collon, Principal Conductor Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon was commissioned by the League of Composers in 1942. Can you tell us a bit more about the origins of the work? Schoenberg was by now living in the US, a Jewish-Viennese émigré since 1933. He received a commission for a small chamber work and felt moved to write a piece with a political subtext which would represent a stand against the tyranny of the Nazis. Inspired by other such works of art, from Goethe’s Egmont to Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’, he sought out a text on Napoleon. Schoenberg’s note on the piece (‘How I came to Compose the Ode to Napoleon’) seems unexpectedly preoccupied with bees. What’s this all about? He had been speculating about the meaning of Nazi philosophy and was puzzled by one element: ‘the resemblance of the valueless individual being’s life in respect to the totality of the community or its representative: the Queen or the Führer.’ I guess he couldn’t comprehend how humans were prepared to copy the model of bees and submit so readily to a dictatorship, simply for the purpose of keeping their race alive. The composer advised that the piece’s speaker should deploy ‘the number of shades essential to express 170 kinds of derision, sarcasm, hatred, ridicule, contempt, condemnation, etc., which I tried to portray in my music’.


Will you be aiming for the full 170 with this performance, or do you have a more modest target in mind?

Sat 16 May 2020, 7.30pm Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre The Orchestral Theatre

You’d better ask Sam West.

Schoenberg Ode to Napoleon Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in Eb major, ‘Eroica’ (from memory)

The ‘Ode-to-Napoleon hexachord’ gets its own (pretty extensive) Wikipedia entry, no less. Can you tell us a bit more about it? It’s well worth a read. The piece is twelve-tone, in which Schoenberg determines a certain order of the twelve notes of the scale and then creates all the harmony and melodic material from this row. This hexachord is C, C♯, E, F, G♯, A; the other six notes of the twelve are then derived from these six. Schoenberg loved numbers… ‘I knew it was the moral duty of intelligentsia to take a stand against tyranny,’ wrote Schoenberg of the piece. Any thoughts on performing this work in the here and now? Schoenberg was prescient and well-advised; he was able to leave Austria for America in 1933 and from there take a principled stand against Nazism. Beethoven and Byron (whose poetry Schoenberg sets) on the other hand, had complex relationships with Napoleon, first admiring his revolutionary intentions, later railing against his despotic tendencies. I believe it’s vital that artists react to their political surroundings but the complexity of the ‘here and now’ is surely that our field of vision is so narrow – it would be good to have a bit of hindsight on our side!

Pierre-Laurent Aimard piano Samuel West narrator Nicholas Collon conductor Continuing its vibrant Orchestral Theatre series, Aurora explores the rise and fall of the hero with acclaimed pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. This richly theatrical performance sparks a conversation across the centuries, pairing Beethoven’s majestic Fourth Piano Concerto and a memorised performance of his pioneering Eroica Symphony, with Schoenberg’s arresting Ode to Napoleon, composed in 1942 in fierce political protest against Nazi oppression. This concert is part of Beethoven and the AvantGarde, a project at Southbank Centre celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday curated by Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The Orchestral Theatre: The Claus Moser Series at Southbank Centre is generously supported by Nicholas & Margo Snowman and the Aurora Patrons & Friends. Related Tour Dates Mon 18 May – St David’s Hall, Cardiff Wed 20 May – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham Sun 24 May – Kölner Philharmonie (Germany)

Fallen Hero Nicholas Collon, laundrette on Essex Road

Bartók and Agatha the Pirate 32

Q&A with Kate Wakeling, Writer-in-Residence Avast ye! Can you tell us more about the most enchanting and rambunctious tale of Agatha the Pirate? Ahoy. With pleasure. Agatha the Pirate is a lively adventure for small children (and grown-ups). Told through music, verse, puppetry and lots of playful audience interaction, the story follows Agatha in her mission to become Pirate Queen, battling stormy seas, following a mysterious school of jellyfish and befriending a rascally parrot. ‘A merry life, and a short one, shall be my motto,’ declared master pirate Batholemew Roberts at some point in the early 18th century (aka The Golden Age of Pirates). Is this show merry (and short)? It is! The performance is full of life, colour and gentle mischief, with lots of chances for everyone to get involved in the music and story (or of course feel free to sit back and let the performance wash over you like a lightly lapping wave). And yes, the show is just the right length for small ears. Bartók was a master of the miniature, so his music is especially joyful to programme for children as it packs so much spirit into perfectly digestible chunks.

Right, but is there anything especially piratical about Bartók? Well, his music is brilliantly full of fire, surprises and a certain sort of wicked enchantment. And it seems Bartók had an (unexpected) touch of the pirate about his person too. The conductor Antal Doráti observed him to be ‘small, thin, pale, whitehaired... [wait for it] but there was never such a pair of eyes! Large, burning, piercing, his looks had something of a branding iron.’ Kapow. Agatha. Funny name for a pirate. And weren’t all the famous pirates men anyway? You reveal yourself a feckless landlubber. Absolutely not. While there’s not really anything to celebrate about the awful world of actual pirates, some of the most wicked buccaneers of all time were women. Look up Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Ching Shih and Queen Teuta of Illyria (and weep). Apparently pirates wore earrings to improve their eyesight. Any thoughts? None whatsoever. I shan’t cudgel my brains over this nonsense any longer: someone has to hoist the mizzen and splice the mainbrace. Concentrate on getting your sea legs ready and Agatha will look forward to seeing you (earrings or none) in the summer. Sail-ho!

Sat 13, Sun 14 June & Sat 4, Sun 5 July 2020, various times Hall Two, Kings Place Far, Far Away (for children aged 0–5) Jessie Maryon Davies storyteller Principal Players of Aurora Orchestra Join Aurora Orchestra for a magical treasure hunt with Agatha the Pirate. With brand new chamber arrangements of music by Bartók, audiences will sail the high seas, meet a host of glimmering jellyfish, and play hide-and-seek with a wonderfully wicked parrot. With a specially-commissioned story from Kate Wakeling (Writer-in-Residence) and a host of playful opportunities to take part in the music led by Jessie Maryon Davies (Workshop Leader-inResidence), these performances promise a joyful introduction to Béla Bartók and a chance to enter a magical world of music, discovery and play. Suitable for children aged 0–5 and their families. Performance Times All dates – 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm Far, Far Away is generously supported by Arts Council England, Kings Place Music Foundation and Signatur.

Bartรณk and Agatha the Pirate Kate Wakeling, Alexandra Park Boating Lake

On the Longest Day

Q&A with Hélène Clément, Principal Viola 18th-century music critic Johann Friedrich Rochlitz described Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 as ‘perhaps the most magnificent of all the concertos which have ever been written.’ Big claim. What do you think’s so good about it? I find that the piece explores so many beautiful harmonic changes, it makes it endlessly fascinating. There are bars in the slow movement, for example, which are so unexpected they make the piece feel timeless.

Mozart does write wonderfully for the viola. I personally consider his viola quintets to be the most beautiful music ever written. In this symphony I would advise you to listen out for the viola… at all times! (Because one always should.)

Astute ears might hear a rumbling of ‘La Marseillaise’ in the secondary theme of the first movement of the concerto. Even though ‘La Marseillaise’ wasn’t composed until 1792 (six years after this piano concerto). Mozart as magical time traveller, or is this just pure coincidence?

The premiere of the Prague Symphony on 19 January 1787 was a huge success and Mozart later said that he ‘counted this day as one of the happiest of my life’. If you weren’t playing in a concert on the summer solstice this year, where would you most like to spend this longest and brightest of days?

I am a strong believer in time travel!

I went to the Lofoten Islands in Norway last June for its wonderful Chamber Music Festival, and I think it would be a very good place to be on the longest day!

It seems Mozart only finished this concerto the day before he gave its first performance (in Vienna on 5 December 1786). Are you a last-minute sort of person or does this kind of approach fill you with stony dread? I do enjoy the adrenaline and thrill which comes with time pressure before a performance, but I love the process of rehearsing and going deep into scores even more, so I usually like to have time. I think for a composer, the idea of a deadline must be a whole other sort of experience!


Mozart was thought to be a huge fan of the viola. Musicologist J. Arthur Watson once described him as ‘a mighty pioneer’ of the instrument. How is the Prague Symphony to play as a violist? Any special viola moments we should listen out for?

Sat 20 June 2020, 7pm Hall One, Kings Place Mozart’s Piano & Nature Unwrapped Copland Appalachian Spring Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K503 Mozart Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504, ‘Prague’ Imogen Cooper piano Nicholas Collon conductor Celebrate this year’s summer solstice with a riot of musical colour in this lively Mozart’s Piano programme with pianist Imogen Cooper. Aurora plunges into the vast American heartland in Copland’s Appalachian Spring, a work sprinkled with infectious rhythms, light-footed melodies and an enduring, life-affirming spirit. This 20th-century classic is paired with two equally radiant pieces by Mozart, both composed in the same prolific year of 1786, in which the composer also penned his much-loved The Marriage of Figaro. Pianist Imogen Cooper performs Mozart’s majestic Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major – a piece seen by some as the most ambitious and symphonic of all his piano concertos. Concluding the programme, the grand Prague Symphony finds Mozart at his most inventive, taking the symphonic form to new heights with the richness of his contrapuntal scoring and harmonic exploration.

On the Longest Day Hélène Clément, Trent Park

Travels with My Trombone

Q&A with Matthew Gee, Principal Trombone Berlioz described the trombone as ‘the epic one… It possesses nobility and grandeur to the highest degree; it has all the serious and powerful tones of sublime musical poetry, from religious, calm and imposing accents to savage, orgiastic outburst.’ Assuming you might agree with the tenor of this quote, what makes the trombone such a special instrument? For me, the trombone is an incredibly expressive instrument. As Berlioz suggests, it can communicate the real extremes of music and across all genres. Winterreise arranged for trombone plus bass clarinet, piano, accordion, percussion and double bass is a brilliantly unexpected line-up. How does Marijana Janevska approach her arrangement of Schubert’s chilling journey of the soul? Marijana and I have talked a lot about Hans Zender’s 1993 reimagining of the work for tenor and small orchestra, and knowing how brilliantly Marijana writes for small ensembles, there will be some very interesting colours – especially given the orchestration. Schubert stated that Winterreise ‘affected me more than has ever been the case with any other songs’. Which song in the cycle do you find the most affecting to perform? [and why…]


It’s very hard to select just one. But I’ve always felt that ‘Die Nebensonnen’ (The Mock Suns) lends itself wonderfully to the trombone. Schubert must have heard four trombones

play Beethoven’s Equale at the latter’s funeral, and I wonder if this was the sound he had in his head for this song. The programme also includes Jan Sandström’s A Short Ride on a Motorbike for trombone and tape. Can you tell us a) a bit more about this work? And b) if you’ve ever ridden a motorbike with trombone in tow? Despite Christian Lindberg – the work’s original soloist – having been name-checked on Have I Got News for You for riding a motorbike whilst playing the trombone, I have never so much as sat on a motorbike! The work is a shortened version of Sandström’s Motorbike Concerto, and uses multiphonics to create the sound of the motorbike, which takes the audience on a journey from the Everglades to the Australian outback. Where’s the most unusual place you’ve travelled to (or through) with your trombone? Qabala in Azerbaijan was definitely an experience! I hope my trombone will carry on taking me to ever more interesting places.

Sat 20 June 2020, 9.15pm Hall Two, Kings Place The Lock-In Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel Jan Sandström A Short Ride on a Motorbike Schubert (arr. Marijana Janevska) Winterreise Schubert (arr. Matthew Gee) Winter Journey Matthew Gee trombone Join Aurora’s Principal Trombone, Matthew Gee, for a late-night musical journey through the bittersweet landscapes of Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, the fierce chill of Schubert’s Winterreise and the dizzying terrains of Jan Sandström’s A Short Ride on a Motorbike. Marijana Janevska’s creative reimagining of excerpts from Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter Journey) is scored for solo trombone and bass clarinet, piano, accordion, percussion and double bass, and brings bold new colours and textures to this iconic song cycle. Also featuring is Jan Sandström’s richly evocative A Short Ride on a Motorbike for trombone and tape, a reduction of the composer’s acclaimed Motorbike Concerto which presents a modern musical retelling of Odysseus as he travels the world with his trombone. With performances of other inventive new arrangements of Vaughan Williams and Schubert for solo trombone, this Lock-In promises to be a fascinating exploration of this most expressive, flexible and surprising of instruments.

Travels with My Trombone Matthew Gee, Hackney Downs

Sharing the Music

Q&A with Alana Grady, Concerts Manager You’ve been involved in lots of interesting aspects of Aurora’s work, from helping organise training for teachers to handing out countless shaky eggs to excited children. Can you tell us more about some of the things Aurora does beyond the concert hall? What I love about our work is that we’re able to reach so many groups of people with different backgrounds. Our storytelling series Far, Far Away is so adaptable: it allows us to bring music to young children in ways they understand, and also lends itself well to working with children with special educational needs, which we care very deeply about. We’re also passionate about making sure the music doesn’t just stop after the performance, so we provide training sessions for teachers with ideas on activities for their classes after the show. And last but not least, the fact that we sometimes memorise symphonies gives us the opportunity to actually bring people inside the orchestra for Immersed workshops, which opens up a world of possibilities! Why do you think this work is so important to Aurora? Being able to give children the experience of music is one of the reasons. It can be very moving – we recently met an 8-year-old with autism who hadn’t been able to take part in class activities. But at our Far, Far Away workshop she was smiling, dancing and singing – to the great surprise of her teachers!


Aurora performers do seem like they’re ready to get stuck into projects outside the concert hall (cf. photographs of them in baths, kilts and laundrettes). How much do they get involved in these programmes?

At Aurora we passionately believe that orchestral music is for everyone. Throughout our season we work with schools, community groups, local authorities and partners to reach people who have least access to music.

The players really love getting involved with the non-musical elements, such as learning Makaton (which uses signs and symbols to support spoken language) to add to the participants’ experience when we work in special schools. These extra touches really make a difference.

Our Far, Far Away storytelling concerts give young children (aged 0–5) and children with special educational needs their first experience of music through multi-sensory performances. Our Immersed workshops give young people the opportunity to experience a symphony up close from right inside the orchestra through our memorised performances. To continue the musical journey beyond each session, we provide professional development training and resources for teachers, with adapted versions for educators working with children with special educational needs. We also partner with charities that work with young musicians from a refugee background, offering workshops and joint performances.

Immersed sounds exciting. Can you tell us a bit more about this particular programme? The great thing about Immersed is that it does exactly what it says on the tin – you’re literally immersed in music at these workshops. Memorising symphonies takes away the barriers of music stands and chairs, allowing the musicians to be in any formation, which means the children can go anywhere and talk to everyone – and even have a go at conducting! Drawing on your encyclopaedic knowledge of Far, Far Away shows, who do you think would be the victor in a battle of wits between Agatha the Pirate, the piano-playing T-Rex and (admittedly an outlier), the sleepy tortoise in The Dragonfly who Brought the Spring? Personally I think the T-Rex, while stern, is a big softy. And while Agatha seems like the obvious choice you shouldn’t underestimate the tortoise! After all, slow and steady did win the race…

We know that not everyone can afford to come to the concert hall, so we offer free and highlyreduced tickets for many of our performances. And we love popping up in unexpected places – from shopping centres to public parks – to bring orchestral music to more people. If you would like to learn more, please email Aurora’s programme for schools and communities is generously supported by Arts Council England, Kings Place Music Foundation, Signatur (the umbrella name for The Karlsson Játiva Charitable Foundation’s work for the advancement of the art of music), and the Aurora Patrons & Friends.

Sharing the Music Stegosaurus with children, gym in Finsbury Park

Lighting the Spark

Q&A with Richard Lee, Aurora Supporter You’ve been supporting Aurora for many years now. Can you tell us how you first got to know the orchestra, and why you decided to make a gift? I arranged a rehearsal space for some dancers and went to see the results. There I discovered they were working with the most thrilling orchestra. It was the combination of electric performances – for both ear and eye – with intelligent, exquisite delivery that had us hooked. My wife Anne and I have rarely missed a show since. Previously our giving had been to theatre and dance; we’d never thought of donating to an orchestra. But Aurora is a company that really does deliver the art forms – moments of theatre, dance, opera, even circus. It’s all-embracing and fresh. Electric performances – sounds exhilarating! (If not to be mixed with water.) What in particular do you find electrifying about Aurora performances? There’s something very special about a conductor and band who smile at each other during the gig. That’s not unique to Aurora, but they’re the only orchestra I know where it feels like the music is newly-minted at each performance. And of course, the theatricality is never merely decorative but essential – you don’t close your eyes at Aurora performances!


Any of this season’s concerts you’re especially looking forward to? I know Anne will be over the moon to hear Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Mozart’s Prague Symphony in the same programme next June, but neither of us can wait for the immersive Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ at The Lock-In in March. Aurora accesses all areas like no other band. You’ve told us that Aurora makes its performances feel open to everyone. Could you talk a bit more about this? Everything that’s played, spoken or sung is made explicable, from animations and theatrical introductions to the brilliantly creative programme notes. And the wider ethos – the work with children, the eclectic programming, the buzzy Lock-Ins that embrace a non-classical audience – these are brilliant. This is one of the reasons we continue to support: we love that we’re helping new people discover Aurora and its music. If you could bring anyone on the planet (real or fictional, alive or dead) along to an Aurora concert, who would you invite? The rather stuffy music teacher who, despite her real encouragement of music in schools, always bridled at any talk of how orchestral music might integrate with – or even talk to – other art forms. “I prefer to close my eyes,” she’d say. Easier to fall asleep, say I…

We’re inviting you to be part of our future seasons. Could you be the person who gives a child their first experience of live music? Or helps surprise someone who thinks classical music isn’t for them? Please do get in touch and let us know about your own love of music, and how you would like to be involved. Please contact Caroline Harris, Director of Development & Strategic Planning on 020 7014 2804 or at Thank you We are deeply grateful to everyone who supports Aurora. Support comes in many forms, from grants and philanthropic gifts, to providing a home from home for our players during concert periods. We particularly want to acknowledge the following, without whom our 2019/20 season would not be possible: Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Ian Ingram, the Marchus Trust, the Parabola Foundation, Richard and Helen Sheldon, Signatur (the umbrella name for The Karlsson Játiva Charitable Foundation’s work for the advancement of the art of music), the Sir John Fisher Foundation, Nicholas and Margo Snowman, and a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous.

Lighting the Spark Richard Lee, Ovalhouse Theatre

Aurora Orchestra

Aurora Orchestra

In Residence

Development Officer Helen McKeown

With its signature creative ethos, Aurora Orchestra combines world-class performance with adventurous programming and concert presentation. Founded in 2005 under Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon, it has quickly established a reputation as one of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras, garnering several major awards including two Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, a German ECHO Klassik Award and a Classical:NEXT Innovation Award.

Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon

Arranger Iain Farrington

Leader & First Violin Maia Cabeza Alexandra Wood

Workshop Leader Patxi del Amo Jessie Maryon Davies

Concerts Assistant & Librarian Anahita Falaki

Second Violin Jamie Campbell

Lighting Will Reynolds

Cello Sébastien van Kuijk Torun Sæter Stavseng

Designer Nick Eagleton

The orchestra has worked with an exceptional breadth of artists – from Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Pekka Kuusisto and Ian Bostridge to Edmund de Waal, Wayne McGregor and Björk – and premiered works by composers including Julian Anderson, Anna Meredith, Nico Muhly and Judith Weir. In recent years, Aurora has pioneered memorised performance and is thought to be the first orchestra in the modern age to perform whole symphonies in this way. Since 2016, it has staged Orchestral Theatre productions which cross the boundaries of musical genres and art forms. These orchestral adventures rethink the concert format and offer bold new ways for audiences of all ages and backgrounds to develop a passion for orchestral music. Through an awardwinning Creative Learning programme, Aurora regularly holds creative workshops and storytelling concerts for families, schools and young people, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Based in London, Aurora is Resident Orchestra at Kings Place and Associate Orchestra at Southbank Centre with residencies at St George’s Bristol, The Apex (Bury St Edmunds) and Colyer-Fergusson Hall (Canterbury). Recent and forthcoming international highlights include appearances at the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Kölner Philharmonie, Victoria Concert Hall Singapore, Melbourne Festival and Shanghai Concert Hall. Aurora has released a number of critically-acclaimed albums, including Road Trip and Insomnia on Warner Classics.

Viola Hélène Clément Ruth Gibson Double Bass Ben Griffiths Flute Jane Mitchell Oboe Tom Barber Clarinet Timothy Orpen Bassoon Amy Harman Horn Nicolas Fleury Trumpet Simon Cox Trombone Matthew Gee Percussion Henry Baldwin Harp Sally Pryce Piano John Reid

Writer Kate Wakeling

Orchestral Personnel Manager Hal Hutchison Production Designer Kate Wicks Finance Consultant Chris Wright

Digital Stanton Media Press Rebecca Driver Media Relations

Team Chief Executive John Harte Creative Director Jane Mitchell Director of Development & Strategic Planning Caroline Harris Projects Director Megan Russell Creative Marketing Manager Yung-Yee Chen Concerts Manager Alana Grady

Trustees Andrew Blankfield Nicholas Hardie Katherine Hudson Emily Ingram Alistair Lomax Rachel Mortimer Richard Sheldon Nicholas Snowman Suzanne Szczetnikowicz Nick Torday Louis Watt (Chairman)



The Orchestral Theatre Vibrant orchestral adventures that span diverse musical genres and art forms

Kings Place Mozart’s Piano £24.50–£49.50 | £6.50 Under 14s | £8.50 Under 30s | £9.50 Online savers | £69.50 Premium

Mozart’s Piano A five-year journey (2016–2020) through the complete cycle of Mozart’s piano concertos The Lock-In Eclectic late-night concerts curated and performed by Aurora’s Principal Players

The Lock-In £9.50

Far, Far Away Immersive storytelling concerts for young children (aged 0–5) and their families

Far, Far Away £6.50–£8.50 | £23.50 for a family of 4 (no more than 2 adults) Box Office 020 7520 1490

Venus Unwrapped Kings Place’s 2019 series shining a new light on music by women

Booking fee: £3 except for Under-14s/Under-30s tickets, non-saver tickets £9.50 and below, and in-person bookings at the Box Office.

Nature Unwrapped Kings Place’s 2020 series celebrating the sounds of life Beethoven 250 Kings Place’s series commemorating Beethoven’s anniversary year Mozart’s Piano concerts include a free 6pm pre-concert talk with guest artists (advance booking recommended). More information at

Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall £10–£40 Box Office 020 3879 9555 Booking fee: £3 online, £3.50 telephone. No fee for Southbank Centre Members, Supporters Circles and in-person bookings at the Box Office.

BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall £9.50–£52 | Under 18s half-price tickets Box Office 020 7589 8212 Booking fee: 2% of the total value of the ticket, plus £2 up to a maximum of £25.00. No fee for in-person bookings at the Box Office.

Full booking details at

Mozart’s Piano is generously supported by: The Parabola Foundation (Principal Series Supporter) Nicholas & Margo Snowman Aurora Orchestra’s Concerto Patrons & Friends Aurora gratefully acknowledges the additional support of Bärenreiter and Green & Fortune.

List of Photographs

Fantastique p.3 – Thu 12 September 2019, 7pm & 10.15pm Reels and Dances p.5 – Sat 28 September 2019, 7pm Mozart in the Garden p.7 – Sat 28 September 2019, 9.15pm New Rhapsodies p.9 – Sat 2 November 2019, 7pm Folk Roots p.11 – Sat 2 November 2019, 9.15pm Beethoven and the Dinosaurs p.13 – Sat 30 November & Sun 1, Sat 7, Sun 8 December 2019, various times Pioneers p.15 – Sat 14 December 2019, 7pm La Boulangerie p.17 – Sat 14 December 2019, 9.15pm New Dawns p.19 – Sat 8 February 2020, 7pm Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds p.21 – Sat 8 February 2020, 9.15pm Chopin and the Dragonfly who Brought the Spring p.23 – Sat 15, Sun 16, Sat 22, Sun 23 February 2020, various times Earthly Rituals p.25 – Sat 28 March 2020, 7pm Immersed – Beethoven 6 p.27 – Sat 28 March 2020, 9.15pm Fallen Hero p.29 – Sat 16 May 2020, 7.30pm Bartók and Agatha the Pirate p.31 – Sat 13, Sun 14 June & Sat 4, Sun 5 July 2020, various times On the Longest Day p.33 – Sat 20 June 2020, 7pm Travels with My Trombone p.35 – Sat 20 June 2020, 9.15pm auroraorchestra

Aurora Orchestra is a charity (no. 1155738) and company limited by guarantee (no. 08523283) registered in England and Wales. Registered office: The Music Base, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG

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