Sunday 25.9.16 4.30pm | St Thomas Church, Lymington
There will be a pre-concert talk included with the ticket at 3.30pm.
This dream team, consisting the Elias Quartet, joined by members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, will end this year’s festival with one of the greatest, most epic chamber works ever written.
This concert has no interval. Approximate duration 1 hour.
Katherine Spencer, clarinet
Peter Whelan, bassoon
Gavin Edwards, horn
Chi-chi Nwanoku, double bass
Elias String Quartet
Katherine Spencer, clarinet
Clarinettist Katherine Spencer made her concerto debut at the age of fourteen at the Royal Festival Hall and has since performed there as concerto soloist a further three times. She has also appeared as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Orchestra at the Barbican Centre and at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, made many live Radio 3 solo broadcasts, and performs regularly on Classic FM and European radio stations.
She has recorded the Brahms Sonata and Beethoven Trio for the Oxford Classic label with Sam Haywood and Martin Storey and many of her discs with the Galliard Ensemble, of which she is a founder member are highly acclaimed in the press and Gramophone magazine.
Katherine is passionate about trying to recreate the actual clarinet sound intended by composers and is thus an active member of the period performance scene in Europe particularly as a member of The Age of Enlightenment Orchestra. She is also a busy freelance modern clarinet player with the major orchestras in Britain.
As a chamber musician Katherine was invited to participate in the BBC Radio 3 Young Generation Artists Scheme. She has also had the honour to perform the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with the remaining members of the Amadeus Quartet in the presence of HRH the Emperor of Japan. She continues to perform internationally with her many chamber ensembles regularly in international Festivals such as the BBC Proms and the Barbican’s “Mostly Mozart Festival”.
Peter Whelan, bassoon
Principal bassoon with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since 2008, Peter Whelan was described by the Philadelphia Enquirer as “an absolute master of fleet facility with a solidly plush tone of wondrous immediacy”. Equally at home on modern and historical instruments, Whelan has a diverse repertoire spanning over four centuries and is in constant demand as a soloist and chamber musician. He has received glowing responses from audiences and critics across the globe, including a Gramophone Award for his recording of the Vivaldi bassoon concertos with La Serenissima in 2010.
As a concerto soloist, Whelan has performed in many of Europe’s most prestigious venues,including the Musikverein (Vienna), Lingotto(Turin), St John’s Smith Square (Lufthansa Festival) and the Cadogan and Wigmore Halls. He has recorded the Weber bassoon concerto for Linn records with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and his recording of Mozart’s bassoon concerto with Arcangelo will be released on the Hyperion label in 2015.
Whelan is the founder and artistic director of Ensemble Marsyas (formed in 2011), whose debut disc of Zelenka Sonatas received a Supersonic Award and was named BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Editors Choice’. A new disc of the sonatas of Fasch will be released at the forthcoming Wigmore Hall debut of Ensemble Marsyas in June 2014. Whelan has also collaborated with the Belcea Quartet, London Winds, Robert Levin, Anthony Marwood and Monica Huggett and appears with Tori Amos in her album Night of Hunters recorded for Deutsche Gramophone (2011).
Whelan has also has worked with many of Europe’s finest orchestras and directors including the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Sir Simon Rattle), London Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists (Sir John Eliot Gardiner), Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre and Oper Zürich.
Peter Whelan has recently appointed Professor of Baroque Bassoon at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and gives masterclasses at conservatories across the UK and Europe.
Gavin Edwards, horn
Gavin Edwards studied Horn with Anthony Chiddel and Classical horn with Anthony Halstead, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After graduating he was appointed as principal horn of the Orchestre Sinfonica de Tenerife. On his return to England he joined the Hanover Band in their recordings of Beethoven’s, Schubert’s and Haydn’s symphonies. From here he started to work mainly in ensembles specializing in “period performance” principally with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and, of course, the OAE.
Chi-chi Nwanoku, double bass
Chi-chi Nwanoku is half the size of her double bass, yet has gained a reputation as one of the finest exponents of her instrument today. The eldest of five children from Nigerian and Irish parents, she was seven years old when she discovered the piano at a neighbour’s, who taught her to play a 12-bar blues. She returned to their house every day until the neighbour got so fed up that they wheeled the piano up the road and gave it to her as a gift!
Meanwhile, she was spotted (aged eight) by an athletics coach and trained as a 100-metre sprinter, eventually competing at National level. This career ended abruptly due to a knee injury aged eighteen, which is when (and why) she took up the double bass and began actively pursuing a career in music. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music and soon found herself in demand internationally.
Chi-chi is Principal Double Bassist and founder member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Endymion Ensemble. She is Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies at The Royal Academy of Music, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1998.
Chi-chi also works as a broadcaster, presenting BBC Radio 3 Requests on Sundays for four years and was a member of the Jury for BBC 2’sClassical Star.
In 2001, Chi-chi was awarded an MBE for services to Music in the Queen’s Birthday honours and was one of this year’s 100 – Happy List in the Independent on Sunday.
She lives in London, and through shared interests with her children Jacob and Phoebe, was led back to ‘the track’ where she has competed over 100 metres again…as a veteran!
The Elias String Quartet
The Elias String Quartet is internationally acclaimed as one of the leading ensembles of their generation. Known for their intense and vibrant performances, the quartet has travelled the globe collaborating with some of the finest musicians and playing in the world’s great halls.
2015 sees them complete their groundbreaking Beethoven Project: performing and recording the complete string quartets of Beethoven. Broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and performed in 11 major venues in the UK, the Quartet have also recorded the cycle for the “Wigmore Hall Live” record label. Six albums in total, the first was released in January 2015. The Elias will soon take all-Beethoven programmes to Carnegie Hall (New York) and San Francisco Performances. They have documented their journey on a dedicated website supported by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust: www.thebeethovenproject.com.
Highlights of 2014/2015 include a month long tour of the USA and Canada, their debut at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris, a return to The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and concerts in Turkey, Holland, Belgium and Germany. They continue residencies with Glasgow Concert Halls, Turner Simms Concert Hall (Southampton) and The Brighton Festival. The Quartet will premiere a work written for them by young British composer Emily Howard at the Wigmore Hall and collaborate with various artists including Jonathan Biss, Francois-Rene Duchable and the Kungsbacka Trio.
The Quartet was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists’ Scheme 2009-11 and is the recipient of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Award. They were awarded the 2010 BBC Music Magazine’s Newcomer of the Year Award and were nominated in 2013 and 2014 for an RPS Award and in 2014 for an Australian Art Music Award. In 2013 they were awarded a Mentoring Scholarship from the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. They received 2nd prize and the Sidney Griller Prize at the 9th London String Quartet Competition. They have performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues including the Vienna Musikverein, Berlin Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Washington Library of Congress and the Wigmore Hall in London. The 13/14 Season saw the quartet take on major tours to the USA, Australia and Sweden as well as further performances across Europe in Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Bonn, Venice and Padua.
They have performed alongside such artists as Leon Fleisher, Michael Collins, Christian Zacharias, Pascal Moragues, Ralph Kirshbaum, Dame Anne Murray, Joan Rogers, Mark Padmore, Michel Dalberto, Peter Cropper, Malin Broman, Simon Crawford-Philips, Piers Lane, Ettore Causa, Anthony Marwood, Huw Watkins, Roderick Williams, Allan Clayton, Melvyn Tan and the Endellion, Vertavo, Navarra, Heath, Belcea and Jerusalem Quartets.
The Elias are passionate about new music and have premiered pieces by Sally Beamish, Colin Matthews, Matthew Hindson and Timo Andres. They worked with Henri Dutilleux on his string quartet “Ainsi la Nuit” and recently recorded Huw Watkin’s “In My Craft or Sullen Art ” with Mark Padmore for NMC label.
The Quartet is steadily building a recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim. Alongside three releases on the Wigmore Live label they have released discs of Mendelssohn and Britten. They have also released a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for the French label Ambroisie, Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records and most recently Schumann and Dvorak Piano Quintets with Jonathan Biss.
The Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is the German form. They formed at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland and later became Junior Fellows and Associate Quartet. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg String quartet. Other mentors in the quartet’s studies include Peter Cropper, Hugh Maguire, Gyorgy Kurtag, Gabor Takacs-Nagy and and Rainer Schmidt. For four years they were resident string quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet.