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Totally spoilt for choice!

Yesterday’s Final of the 2019 ERSO Soloist of the Year saw us quite overwhelmed by amazing options for the soloist in our June concert.  We all loved rehearsing with Joe, Henry, Bella and Emily and the afternoon as very special.  Each of them was fantastic and would have done a fantastic job as our soloist which made the choice almost impossible!

In the end, and after a great deal of deliberation, we’re able to announce that  this year’s winner is ERSO Principal Cello Henry Hargreaves who wowed us with his superb rendition of the Schumann Cello concerto.  We’re so excited to perform with Henry at the 2018/19 season Grand Finale – join us for a wonderful evening!

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Henry and conductor Chris enjoying a moment of Schumann

 

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Joe and his amazing performance of Bliss
emily 7
Bassoonist Emily discussing the finer points of the Mozart bassoon concerto with Chris
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Bella playing Mozart Violin Concerto no 2

A journey with Schumann – and Henry

henry hargreaves
Finalist Henry Hargreave

So its only 2 weeks until our Final of the 2019 ERSO Soloist of the Year competition and we wanted to find out more about the Schumann Cello Concerto which will be played by Finalist Henry.

He said: “I chose the Schumann as it is the piece that really made me want to pursue cello playing. I love all the different emotions that the piece embraces, and the incredible journey it takes the listener on.”

It was written in 1850, towards the end of the composer’s life when he had just taken on the role  of music director in Düsseldorf, having experienced a series of severe emotional and artistic crises in the previous years.   Sadly, things didn’t go well due to his mental health, inexperience as a conductor and troubled relationships with the musicians and after only two seasons he was asked to resign. He attempted suicide early in 1854 and spent the rest of his life in an asylum.

But back in 1850, Schumann was full of energy and optimisim and in three months he completed two major orchestral works, the “Rhenish” Symphony and the Cello Concerto which he composed in only 2 weeks. However, while Schumann soon conducted highly acclaimed performances of the symphony, the concerto remained unperformed in the composer’s lifetime.

Clara Schumann’s said of the work: “I have played Robert’s Violoncello Concerto again and thus procured for myself a truly musical and happy hour. The romantic quality, the flight, the freshness and the humor, and also the highly interesting interweaving of cello and orchestra are, indeed, wholly ravishing — and what euphony and what sentiment are in all those melodic passages!”

The cello concerto is in three movements, to be played without interruption – not only to unify the work into a single span of music from its beginning to its end, but because Schumann hated the fact that 19th-century audiences clapped after every movement!

The Concerto’s first two movements are expressive and largely contemplative and the finale has a playful virtuosic verve which concludes the piece with a flurry of high spirits.

Come and hear Henry!final poster ERSO SOLOIST OF THE YEAR-page-001

Three weeks and counting….

We just can’t wait until May 12th when we will get the chance to work with our Fab Four Finalists on their chosen concerti.  It should be a lovely afternoon of music and all-comers are welcome.  Do join us!

The winner will get get the opportunity be the soloist in our 2018/19 season Grand Finale concert which is part of the prestigious Waterloo Festival.  How WILL we decide between these wonderful players…….??

final poster ERSO SOLOIST OF THE YEAR-page-001

Blissful

joe chu yu yang squareAt ERSO we are very excited to work with Finalist Joe in our ERSO Soloist of the Year Final on May 12, not only because he is an amazing player but also because it will be such a treat to work on his chosen concerto – the relatively unknown Bliss Violin Concerto.

Bliss always said that his concertos were inspired by the personalities of soloists and this was no exception as it was written for Alfredo Campoli (1906 – 1991) who was an Italian-born British violinist, noted for the beauty of the tone he produced from the violin.

Check it out on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apagJNE7nHQ

The Final with our own Fab Four

We just can’t wait until May 12th when we will get the chance to work with our Fab Four Finalists on their chosen concerti.  It should be a lovely afternoon of music and all-comers are welcome.

The winner will be given the chance to be our soloist in our 2018/19 season Grand Finale concert which is part of the prestigious Waterloo Festival.  How WILL we decide between these wonderful players…….

final poster ERSO SOLOIST OF THE YEAR-page-001

Meet the Finalists – enter Emily!

emily dore new picWhat is your main occupation at the moment?

I am a second year, scholarship student at the Royal Academy of Music, specialising in bassoon and contra bassoon.

What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?

I played piano and saxophone in a jazz ensemble and wind orchestra respectively but I wanted to try playing in a full size classical orchestra. The head of my local music service suggested I try learning bassoon. I was 15 at the time.

What made you choose the concerto that your will be playing?

I love the variety of characters and the humour Mozart incorporates into this concerto! It gives a performer so much scope to play! Additionally, out of all the solo bassoon repertoire, the second movement is one of the pieces I most enjoy playing! The opportunity to perform it with an orchestra really excites me!

What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Chris Stark?

As a bassoonist and contrabassoonist, the role I play in an orchestral sound is often a supporting one. However the bassoon has so much to offer in terms of character and colour as a solo instrument! I think winning this competition and playing the concerto with ERSO would be a fantastic opportunity for me to develop as an individual artist. Performing this piece would allow me to communicate something more uniquely personal.

Meet the Finalists -hello to Joe!

joe chu yu yang squareWe caught up with the Joe who will be playing the little known Bliss Violin Concerto in our ERSO Soloist of the Year Final on May 12.

What is your main occupation at the moment?

I am currently a 1st year MA student studying at RAM.

What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?

I started playing the violin at the age of 6. My mom gave me choices of violin and piano, I don’t remember particularly why I chose violin back then. My parents just wanted me to play music as a hobby. However, the more I learn to play the violin, the more I find myself loving this instrument. At the age of 16 I finally persuaded my parents to let me study music professionally.

What made you choose the concerto that your will be playing?

I started to find the beauty of English music around 2 years ago. Around half a year ago I was just browsing on Spotify and accidentally clicked on a recording of the Arthur Bliss Violin Concerto played by Alfredo Campoli. I was stunned by this music and thought I would definitely want to perform it one day. I started to do more research about this piece and realised that not much people actually know about it. There are only a few recordings available as well. I could only find 4 recordings online. It is a shame that not many people know about this this wonderful music. I believe it deserves to be heard as much as those standard concerti. I have heard of an interesting story recently that the legend violinist David Oistrakh came to sit in every single rehearsal when Arthur Bliss and Alfredo Campoli performed this concerto in Russia. He loved the concerto so much and said he would love to perform it one day. Unfortunately it did not happen in the end.

What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Chris Stark?

I would like to be a performer in the future, and having this chance to perform this concerto as a whole with this wonderful orchestra definitely would be a very great experience for me. It is also a great platform to perform and let more people hear my playing, which will definitely help with my future career.