Friends Newsletter Say hello to ’
pages one an d two Interv ie with Marcu s Farnsworth w Ensemble 36 0 news page three Music in the Community page four Music in the Round is 30 Classical Sh effield page five Yo ung String Q uartet Elias String Quartet page six New Staff page seven Just a Note Charlotte B ray | Buy a Bar page eight D iscover new venues
Angus Smith finds out about the challenges of Schubert’s song cycle and a new festival in Southwell. Do you have previous experience of performing Die Schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise? Yes, I have performed both cycles a number of times, and with different duo partners. Have you ever performed them in quite such close proximity before and does this present any special challenges? No, and I must say that I am very much looking forward to doing them both in one weekend. I imagine (and hope!) that the full immersion technique will help me to find even more detail in the works. There is one special challenge, and that is the level of mental stamina that is required to deliver both pieces successfully. Doing just one of these works is normally quite a feat on its own, so this will
feel a little like running the gauntlet! How do you approach song cycles of this magnitude? What are the physical, intellectual and emotional challenges? Initially, one of the great challenges is memorising the works. It is one thing to memorise and internalise the songs individually, but quite another to do that with an entire cycle. Another challenge is the pacing of the works. Both of these things get easier with every performance. I am striving to be in a place where on the one hand I am conscious of the work as a whole and therefore able to pace it appropriately, but more importantly to be in the moment with each poem. Without that feeling of being present, a whole
cycle can count for nothing however beautifully it is performed. What excites you about these pieces? Schubert was a master of the miniature, hence his prowess as a song composer. He is able to distill a poem into song form perfectly. He writes beautiful but simple melodies that allow the text to shine, and his imaginative piano writing illuminates the text subtly without being over the top. What is special for me about these works is that we get to see him paint a huge emotional journey by stitching together all these perfectly formed miniatures. We see every
facet of the character over the course of the cycle. They are in effect miniature operas in song form. Can you tell us something about your working partnership with James Baillieu - its history and how you rehearse together? James and I have been working together for a few years now, and it is a huge privilege for me to work with someone of his level of ability who is also a good friend. We overlapped with each other briefly at the RAM, but we started working together more regularly from around 2010 when we were offered a Wigmore recital together. It’s difficult to analyse how our rehearsals work as it rather depends on the repertoire we are doing at the time, but generally speaking we try not to talk about the music too much. We prefer to just do it and try different things out and see what happens. I think we both come to a rehearsal with very clear ideas about the music as individuals, but the most interesting part of performing songs is listening and responding to your colleague and seeing what happens as a
result. James is a very spontaneous musician, so he really keeps me on my toes! Could you tell us something about the work you are doing before and after you come to us in Sheffield? Just before I come to Sheffield I’ll be up in Edinburgh with the excellent Hebrides Ensemble, touring a programme that commemorates the centenary of the Great War. Immediately after the Schubert weekend I’ll be giving a recital at Opéra de Lille with pianist Simon Lepper, and then I’ll be starting work on a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte with English National Opera. I’m also starting a new classical music festival in my home town of Southwell in Nottinghamshire with the first festival taking place over the August Bank Holiday 2014. ay 7 and Hear Marcus and James on Frid Studio, Sunday 9 March at the Crucible ch at Sheffield, and on Friday 28 Mar Wiltshire Music Centre
Ensemble News - a word from Judith We’re sad to announce Judith’s departure from Ensemble 360.
“Dear Friends, I am writing to tell you, with huge sadness and regret, that I have to leave the Ensemble. This is because of the difficulties with scheduling now that I have joined the Royal Opera House Orchestra. Coordinating the different workloads seems only likely to get harder as the Ensemble develops and gets busier, particularly as the viola is such a critical part of the group. I have felt hugely privileged to be part of Ensemble 360 and have found very many of our concerts absolutely thrilling. It is truly an exceptional group of musicians that deserves the best possible chance to succeed. I’d also like to thank you, the Friends of Music in the Round for your warmth, support and friendship; you’re a wonderful audience and I’ve enjoyed so much meeting and talking to you, as well as playing for you. I look forward to coming back to play in Sheffield whenever I can. Kind regards, Judith”
We hope to welcome Judith back for guest appearances. We know you’ll join us in wishing her the very best in her job at the ROH. In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted with news of her replacement.
Music in the Community STAN AND MABEL premiered in November in Milton Keynes. Paul Rissmann, our Children’s Composer in Residence, produced yet another marvellous piece of music with lots of singing and actions – all based on Jason Chapman’s wonderful book. The central message – everyone can enjoy and take part in music – couldn’t be more apt! The performance toured nationwide in December, coming to Sheffield for fabulous family and sold-out schools’ concerts at the Octagon Centre. We took the volume and energy of audience participation to be a good barometer of success! Stan and Mabel continues to tour this spring and beyond. Paul and Polly created a superb participation pack for teachers to use in the classroom to make the songs and story come alive, and Polly led an inspirational INSET session to help teachers prepare. The pack went on our website so that families could learn and practise the songs together, and we ran a special pre-concert family workshop for the first time. We had fun making a video of Polly singing the songs – you can still find it on YouTube! I also had the privilege of arranging travel-related classical music for the Ensemble to play alongside Stan and Mabel. The title I chose? Going Places. GIRAFFES CAN DANCE! AND SO CAN CHILDREN Following our really successful Music Box workshops based on Paul Rissmann’s piece Giraffes Can’t Dance, we’ve developed a related project for Sheffield schools.
Alongside choreographer and dancer, Wayne Sables, Polly and the Ensemble will lead music and dancing workshops and then perform the whole piece to the school! MitR MARATHON Back in October I ran the Cologne Marathon in aid of Music in the Community (though have had my feet up ever since) in 3 hours 49 minutes. That didn’t quite beat my personal-best time so I will just have to do another one in 2014! A very sincere THANK YOU to everyone who contributed so generously: we raised nearly £1000, which I have to say spurred me on no end! AND SO ON… In my first autumn with Music in the Round I’ve been astonished by the range and quality of what we do. From sold-out Music Boxes to inspiring masterclasses and everything in between, working with people and partners from across the city and beyond, sharing the excitement of live music-making: there is something for everyone!
On 7th December Polly received another very generous donation to the Andrew McEwan Fund so that we can continue involving children from all backgrounds in Music in the Community activity. We are extremely grateful to Andrew’s family for their wonderful support.
Music in the Round is 30!
2014 marks a significant birthday for Music in the Round – we turn 30! Friends of Music in the Round have been a key part of our success so we really hope you can celebrate with us. In the last five years alone we have:
We’ll be marking the 30th Anniversary during the May Festival, announcing special events and launching a Future Festivals Fund. In the meantime though, we want to start collecting favourite festival photos and anecdotes, which we’ll collate into a souvenir album to remember all of our best times over the last 30 years. We’ll be digging deep into our archives, but we’d love to hear from you whether you’ve been a supporter since the very first Beethoven Festival, or have only recently become a Friend.
• Won three major national awards • Promoted nearly 600 concerts • Commissioned 8 new works • Worked with 391 guest artists • Performed in 13 venues in Sheffield and around the country, • Inspired and entertained audiences of over 110,000 • Engaged 40,000 children, young people and adults in our Music in the If you can help, do get in touch via Community programme firstname.lastname@example.org • Worked with around 500 Schools
Music, place and people;
investigating the impact of Western classical music provision and attendance in two English cities Earlier this year, Dr Stephanie Pitts, Reader in Music & Director of Student Experience at University of Sheffield and member of Music in the Round’s board, was successful in securing Arts and Humanities Research Council funding to look at the impact of, and attendance at Western classical music in Sheffield and Birmingham. We helped Stephanie appoint two PhD students to work in the cities, and are pleased to introduce you to Lucy Dearne as the successful applicant for Sheffield. In addition to her academic research, Lucy will be working in the Music in the Round office a day a week, primarily using her skills to help us understand and develop new audiences
better. She’s already proved to be a real asset to the team, helping to analyse the questionnaires that many of you have kindly completed for us. You’ll hear more from Lucy in 2014, as she begins to focus her work on more specific questions.
Classical Sheff ield
The Classical Sheffield website has been upgraded to include even more information by groups. If you haven’t had a look yet, visit www.classicalsheffield.org.uk
Young String Quartet a new scheme
2014 sees the launch of a new scheme to support a young string quartet right from the word ‘go’, giving them the best possible start to their career. The idea behind the scheme is to select a group fresh from their studies and provide mentoring, coaching, time and space to build up repertoire, and as many performance opportunities as we can create for them in Sheffield and beyond. We’ll be working with Peter (Cropper), Ben, Gemma and Claudia to help our chosen quartet make the transition from the world of academic study to the real world of performing in concert halls, community centres, schools and festivals. Aimed at quartets who’ve just left college or conservatoire, we think it’s a much needed scheme. When we’ve mentioned it to older musicians, such as the Elias String
Quartet, their response has been a unanimous ‘Wow, what a fantastic idea!’ The scheme will be funded by the Diana Kurzman legacy, received via an award from Arts Council England, and the ‘Scilla Thornton Fund for Musicians. We’re absolutely thrilled with the generosity of the ‘Scilla Thornton Fund in making this happen, and hope to have the first quartet in place by October 2014. ils and be Watch this space for more deta rehearsals, prepared to get involved in open l events to lunchtime concerts and informa to Sheffield. welcome our young musicians
Elias String Quartet -
Beethoven Project - dates for your diary We’re delighted to announce dates for the remaining concerts in the Elias String Quartet’s Beethoven Project. All concerts will take place at the Upper Chapel which, because we can book this venue so far in advance, means that we won’t miss out on the rest of this fabulous celebration of Beethoven’s String Quartets. In 2014 concert dates are: Saturday 14th February, Friday 3rd and Friday 28th October. In 2015, the dates are: Friday 16th January and Tuesday 3rd March. Full details of the project, as well as a really interesting piece by Peter Hill on Op.18:1, Op.29 and Op.132 can be found on the special website set up by the Elias at www.beethovenproject.com
on tickets A number of Friends missed out please do for the concert in November, so booking take advantage of the priority you get your sure e mak to es seri each period erts. conc five ng aini rem tickets for the
New Marketing Manager we welcome Jenny Davies to the team Following the departure of Marty Mills, we very pleased to announce that Jenny Davies is our new Marketing Manager. Jenny joined the team on 6th January and brings a wealth of experience from working in a variety of arts and cultural organisations. We’ll enjoy introducing her to you at forthcoming concerts, but in the meantime, we asked Jenny to tell us a little bit about herself. “I began my career in arts marketing over 12 years ago as Marketing Assistant for Sheffield Theatres. Since then I have worked in marketing and communications roles at Imperial War Museum North, Museums Sheffield (on the relaunch of Weston Park
Ebony and Ivory Update Tim and Paul Lewis had a successful trip to Hamburg in December and have selected a new piano! We’re currently in the process of arranging delivery, and our aim is to have the piano acclimatized and in situ for the Schubert mini-festival. We’ll announce a special event for everyone who contributed to the fundraising campaign later in January to say thank you again for all your support. We’re amazed and delighted that this has all happened so quickly and really looking forward to hearing the new piano.
Museum) and for the last seven years I have been Communications Manager for Manchester City Galleries. I have a particular interest in growing and diversifying arts audiences and welcome this opportunity to work for an organisation renowned for the high quality of its work, including its community and education projects. Born and raised in Sheffield, I’m proud that this lovely city is also the home of my own young family. I’m really looking forward to promoting the city’s arts scene once more and, following the fabulous time we had at Stan and Mabel, bringing my little boy to more of Music in the Round’s brilliant family concerts.”
xJust a Note
This time we chat to Charlotte Bray, the composer of Shadow Game our new commission for Cast.
What’s your favourite piece of music? It changes all the time; currently Chopin Etude No.3
Who or what is your biggest influence?
The musician or artist I’m working with at any particular time has the greatest influence on me.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I love photography, and like to go jogging or practice yoga.
What’s your favourite place in the world? I couldn’t say anywhere else but where I am writing from- Bogliasco in Liguria, Italy- one of the most breathtaking places I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in.
If you hadn’t become a composer, what do you think you would have chosen as a career? When I was younger I wanted to be a vet…
In one sentence sum up your average working day
Find my creative ‘space’, work hard, don’t give up, focus, be inspired.
Buy a Bar
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Discover two new venues in South Yorkshire Cast in Doncaster
As many of you will know, Music in the Round and Ensemble 360 have been bringing concerts to Doncaster since Ensemble 360 first began in 2005. Following on from the performance of Shadow Game in February, our regular concert series will also be moving to Cast, Doncaster’s lovely new performance venue. Their Second Space, an in-the-round studio, will become our new home, with the aim of reaching a larger audience. This move comes tinged with sadness as we’ve had some wonderful years at Priory Place Church, and we can’t thank Bernard, Laurence and everyone there enough for their hard work, support and friendship. On 29th November, 65 audience members joined us for a ‘Tea & Tour’ event where they met staff, explored backstage and asked questions about the change in venue over a cup of tea. We’ll be working in close partnership with the team at Cast who share our ambitions and our commitment to classical music in Doncaster. With both their and your support behind us, we feel very confident in the future. We hope you’ll join us, and Ensemble 360, for our first concert in the Second Space. 5 April 2014 , 7pm. Programme includes Schubert String Quartet No.14 in D minor, Death and the Maiden and Barber Adagio for Strings Booking; www.castindoncaster.com or 01302 303959
Penistone Paramount Cinema, Barnsley
TRANSFORMATIONS If you missed the performances of Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid with film by Katie Goodwin and Charlie Piper’s With Stolen Fire with archive film footage at Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema as part of last year’s May Festival, never fear. After five further performances around the country, there is one final chance to catch them as they return to their South Yorkshire roots for their seventh and final performance; this time in Barnsley. The final performance will be in the beautiful surroundings of Penistone Paramount, a 1913 cinema that has the feel of a small theatre, and will include Coal Face, instead of The Way to the Sea. Coal Face is another GPO film (1935) with music by Britten and commentary by Auden, but this one is about coal mining. So, get your popcorn at the ready for this musical extravaganza where film and music collide. Friday 4 April 2014, 8pm Booking: www.penistoneparamount.co.uk or 01226 767532
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