Tag Archives: St Andrews Music

Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Byre Theatre, 22nd-24th June

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Bored of the Referendum campaigns? Then come down to the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, on the 22nd, 23rd or 24th June and see Byre Opera’s performance of Britten’s ghostly masterpiece, The Turn of the Screw. It is based on the novel by Henry James about a governess who goes to look after 2 children in a remote house, and the unearthly happenings that start to unfold after she arrives.

I am playing viola in the chamber orchestra, and this is the third Britten opera I have played in. I have come to like Britten’s style of writing- good tunes interspersed with idiomatic vocal writing, plus the advantage of the text being in English and therefore  easily understandable for the audience. Britten’s operas are often very inclusive, containing parts for children, and this opera is no exception – Miles is played by 2 young boys (there are 2 casts for different performances).

The facebook event is here and you will find Byre Opera on instagram as @byre_opera. Look forward to seeing you there – tickets are selling fast!

We are also touring the performance to Stirling MacRobert on 28th June and The Maltings, Berwick on 8th July if you can’t make the St Andrews performances.

 

Concert today with Dame Emma Kirkby!

Concert today with Dame Emma Kirkby! Sat 28th Sept, 7pm, Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews

Come along to Holy Trinity Church tonight at 7pm for a baroque and classical feast of choral music to celebrate Tom Duncan’s 50th year as organist and choir-master of Holy Trinity Church! With Dame Emma Kirkby, soprano and Ben McAteer, baritone (and me playing viola as part of the Heisenberg Ensemble!)

Programme:

Mozart – Laudate Dominum

Palestrina – Alma Redemptoris Mater

Haydn- Paukenmesse

Handel – The King Shall Rejoice

Bach – Suite in B minor (for flute and orchestra, solo Julie Duncan)

Gibbons – O Clap Your Hands

Heisenberg Ensemble and The Celebration Chorus, conducted by Gillian Craig

Tickets £10 on the door or by calling 01334 478317

May news and summer concerts

Now that the university semester has finished at St Andrews and the usual hiatus of concerts is over (I had end of term concerts of 3 different groups in the space of a week – Heisenberg/St Andrews Chorus, StAFCO and the Baroque Orchestra), it’s time to think about what I’m going to do over the summer months. The summer is traditionally a fairly quiet time for orchestras and groups as their seasons usually finishes around now, but many, like the SCO, do tours at home and abroad, and there are a multitude of summer festivals that take place (not least the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival), so musicians are far from being on holiday over the summer!

I’ve got a couple of orchestra concerts in the diary so far: Edinburgh Bach choir on 8th June, the Crail Festival Orchestra on 21st July, but the main recital I will be preparing for will be as part of a summer series in St Andrew’s Church, St Andrews (on Queen’s Gardens). The date is still to be confirmed but I think it will be sometime in August, and I think I will probably play some unaccompanied Bach – again tbc!

Recently I had the exciting experience of playing with SCO in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh with the band Pink Martini, which was fantastic fun. The band, founded in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, was made up of singer China Forbes, several percussionists/drummers, trumpet, trombone, a fantastic violinist, string/electric bass and guitar (they describe themselves as a ‘little orchestra’), backed by the full symphonic might of an expanded SCO. The audience loved their eclectic mix of South American rhythms, jazz and Hollywood glamour – I’ve never seen a concert end with a conga line before! Some of the solos from the band were truly awe-inspiring, leaving us classically trained musicians wondering how on earth they manage to come up with a new solo every night! You can check them out and listen to some of their songs here.

As for our summer holidays, we’re off to Thailand at the start of July for 2 weeks – I’m so excited, as I love Eastern cultures and Buddhism, so I can’t wait!! We’re planning to do a cooking course, ride elephants and see lots of temples as well as absorb as much Thai culture as we can 🙂

Link

I haven’t posted about what I’m doing in a while, so here’s a run down of what’s been happening lately.

  • I am continuing to attend and help at St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra (known as ‘StAFCO’) which is run jointly by St Andrews Music Centre and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Gillian Craig. It is an amazing collaboration, as the sectionals get taken by members of the SCO, and the sub-principal cellist Su-a Lee is performing the Elgar Cello Concerto in the concert on 31st May which should be brilliant. We are rehearsing with her tonight which I’m looking forward to! Next week I will be taking a string sectional rehearsal, which should be good.
  • Excitingly, I now have some violin pupils! It’s great to get stuck in to some teaching, and it’s good for me to play my violin again (even if it feels a bit like a toy it is so small, no offence violinists!) I’m hoping to get some viola pupils too but I’ll have to wait and see what happens…
  • Last weekend I helped out at the SCO Connect’s Scrapers and Tooters project in Galashiels (Scottish Borders). The weekend was a lot of fun and we played Gluck, Beethoven and Dvorak under the watchful eye of Michael Bawtree and with help from members of the SCO who took sectional rehearsals, including Eric de Wit (cello) and Lorna McLaren (1st violin)
  • I am in the process of writing to schools in the Fife and Tayside area to see whether I can do any more teaching within the school environment. Watch this space…
  • The next 2 weeks will be pretty busy with concerts. On Sunday 22nd April I’ll be playing Elijah with the Heisenberg Ensemble and Stirling City Choir in Stirling, and then the following weekend the St Andrews Chorus have their spring concert of Puccini and Verdi on Sat 28th in the Younger Hall, and then on the Sunday it is my Chamber Concert with Tom Duncan and a few others, featuring Bach’s E flat Cello Suite amongst other works.
  • I’m hoping to collaborate with my friend Gillian Gamble on a project for her new social enterprise ‘Just Made’ which focusses on getting young people into the creative arts through education and training. We are still in very early planning stages of this but it’s quite exciting!