2017 Performer Profiles: Lonneke van Straalen

No.7 – Lonneke van Straalen

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming violinist Lonneke van Straalen to Southwell Music Festival for the first time.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

My name is Lonneke and I play the violin and I am from Holland. I live in Amsterdam with my husband and two kids. I have a position in the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and, in addition, I play in the Aurora Orchestra in London. Also, this summer I set up a brand new ensemble in Holland called ‘Pynarello’. In Amsterdam I’m one of the founders of ‘Splendor’; a concerthall, meeting place, a club, a workspace, a musical laboratory and much, much more! Besides playing concerts I’m also involved in Holland with a big project for refugee children to give them the chance to learn the Dutch language in a musical way. Around 10,000 children have already taken part in the project.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

The best thing about a music festival is that you have to play a lot of music! It gives me such a good feeling to dive into all those notes. To make music all day, with people I really like, feels like a birthday party or gives me the feeling when St Nicholas is arriving in Holland (when I was young of course!)
The whole SMF programme is great but I never played Faure quintet before, so I’m excited to get to know this piece and perform it.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?

When I come back I’ll play my second project with my new ensemble ‘Pynarello’ in Amsterdam. We had an amazing launch concert in the summer so I cannot wait to see all the musicians again and give our next concert. After that I’ll travel to London to play the Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony with the Aurora Orchestra. This was the first piece I ever played with Aurora at a Prom, without sheet music. It was extremely exciting!! At this moment I’m curious how much of it remains in my brain! When I will be back from Aurora I’ll play ‘Shorelines’, a musical theatre piece, in Glasgow with a Dutch string quartet.”

2017 Performer Profiles: Suzie Thorn

No.6 – Suzie Thorn

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming oboist Suzie Thorn to Southwell Music Festival for the first time.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

Hello, I’m Suzie Thorn – I play the Oboe and Cor Anglais.

I was born in Birmingham but we moved to Essex when I was just a few months old. I studied at the Royal College of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I have played with many of the major Symphony and Opera orchestras in the UK and have really enjoyed exploring the very varied “popular music” repertoire with the John Wilson Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Most of my time is now taken up playing principal oboe with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Dublin.

Chamber music has always been a major part of my life and I do try to meet up with my sisters, Becky and Tammy, to play wind trios (we perform as ‘The Rose Trio’) whenever we can.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

Although I’ve really enjoyed playing, performing and recording many of Poulenc’s chamber works I have never played the ‘Le Bal Masqué’ (for Baritone and chamber ensemble). Poulenc is one of my favourite composers so this will be a highlight.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?

I have a busy schedule of concerts and recordings with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra – the music is always incredibly varied. Although most of the concerts are in Dublin we do occasionally travel to other venues around Ireland. Later this year though we are off to China! We will be giving concerts in Nanjing, Suzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang and Beijing.”

2017 Performer Profiles: Marta Fontanals-Simmons

No.5 – Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Mezzo-Soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons to Southwell Music Festival for the first time.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do

I am a mezzo soprano, from Somerset originally with English and Spanish roots (hence the long name!). I went to the University of Birmingham to study Music and then the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for postgraduate vocal training and opera training. I now live with my fiancé in St Leonards-on-Sea. This summer I have performed the completely contrasting roles of Cherubino with Garsington Opera and Cenerentola with Diva Opera, touring the UK and France.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

I have worked with Marcus and Alison many times and had the pleasure of performing Handel Messiah at Southwell in December. It is a magical place and I am delighted to be part of the Festival this year and experience the town in the summer. I am really looking forward to performing Zwei Gesänge by Brahms. I can’t wait to work with Libby Burgess and Lena Eckels on these stunning songs.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?

After Southwell, I will be taking part in the Wigmore Song Competition with Lana Bode, then during the Autumn I will be giving recitals in London, Paris and around the UK and in January I head to Teatro Real Madrid for six weeks to perform Jennie Hildebrand in Street Scene by Kurt Weill.”

youtube.com/user/martameritxell

2017 Performer Profiles: Maia Cabeza

No.4 – Maia Cabeza

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming violinist Maia Cabeza to Southwell Music Festival for the first time.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

Hello! My name is Maia Cabeza and I’m a violinist based in Berlin. I play in a variety of ensembles, doing a mix of solo, chamber and orchestral performing. I am especially passionate about chamber music, and feel lucky that I have the chance to regularly meet and collaborate with interesting musicians who come from different backgrounds and offer unique musical perspectives. This will be my first time to Southwell Music Festival, but I am already looking forward to meeting new people and performing great music!

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

I actually love all the pieces I will be playing, but I’m particularly excited about playing Poulenc’s “Le Bal Masque”, a song cycle for baritone and chamber ensemble set to poems by the French surrealist poet Max Jacob. Not only is it an incredibly fun and absurd piece, but the instrumentation is rather large for a chamber group, making the opportunity to perform it this summer a special one!

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?

In the next months I’ll be playing a lot of chamber music, including several concerts and a festival with a quartet in Switzerland. This fall I will also be guest leading a couple of projects with Aurora Orchestra in London, which I’m very excited about! Another highlight is a week at “Open Chamber Music” in Prussia Cove, Cornwall. This is a special place that I’ve been regularly going to for the last 7 years, where the beautiful landscape serves as the perfect inspiration for fulfilling music making.”

maiacabeza.com

Maia is supported at the Southwell Music Festival by Tarisio.

‘Tarisio is a leading specialist in fine instruments and bows. With offices in London and New York, we are pleased to help today’s great players find outstanding instruments.’ tarisio.com

2017 Performer Profiles: James Cheung

No.3 – James Cheung

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming pianist James Cheung back to Southwell Music Festival.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

Hello, I’m a pianist based in Kensal Rise in North West London. Since my student days in London and Moscow I’ve been mainly playing chamber music here and abroad in recitals with instrumentalists and singers. Recently I was also teaching at the Banff centre in Canada.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

I’m really looking forward to playing in the Fauré piano quintet and Brahms horn trio. I love the feeling of making music at summer festivals. People coming together from across the world and making music together in quite a spontaneous way. Often strangers before the rehearsals but friends after the performance. It’s a really nice process.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?

The next few months are pretty busy for me. I have a tour with the baritone Christian Gerhaher with recitals at the Concertgebouw and Wigmore Hall and in Dusseldorf and Cambridge. Performances at Blackheath Halls and the Oxford Lieder Festival of Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch with Marcus and Alison which is something we’ve been wanting to do for ages but haven’t found the time till now. I’m setting up a mixed genre concert series with my friend Leo Abrahams (watch this space!) and I also have a son who is nearly 3 so even if I didn’t have anything else to do I’d still be totally exhausted!”

2017 Performer Profiles: Katherine Bryan

No.2 – Katherine Bryan

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming flautist Katherine Bryan to Southwell Music Festival for the first time.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

My name is Katherine Bryan and I am a flautist. I’m based in Glasgow as I am Principal Flautist of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as well as being lucky enough to have a career as a soloist, which keeps me travelling around when I’m not wearing my orchestral hat. I also teach at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Chethams School of Music in Manchester.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

Everything! I’ve got a real mixture of things to play which is lovely. I’m really excited about performing Villa Lobos Bachianas Brasilieras no 6 with Amy Harman – I’ve worked with Amy before, but in a full orchestra not in a duo, so this will be a lot of fun! The flute part is really tricky, but I enjoy the challenge. Also, I couldn’t not love Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro – a flute player not liking Ravel is almost unheard of! It’s a beautiful piece played by a gorgeous combination of instruments.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?

I’m releasing my fourth solo album in October which is exciting. It’s a set of opera arias that I transcribed for flute and orchestra, alongside a couple of great opera fantasy pieces. I recorded it with the orchestra of Opera North and the album will be released on the Chandos label. That combined with a busy orchestra schedule, and few recitals and an awful lot of teaching should keep me busy for a few months!”

www.katherinebryan.com

2017 Performer Profiles: Thomas Herford

No.1 – Thomas Herford (tenor)

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming tenor Thomas Herford back to Southwell Music Festival.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

I’m Thomas Herford, a tenor based in London. Like most of my colleagues here at Southwell, I’m a proper freelancer. I’m lucky to have a very broad, challenging and fulfilling singing career, performing both as a soloist and an ensemble singer with some amazing colleagues. An important part of my work is being a key member of the baroque ensemble ‘Solomon’s Knot’, performing, among other things, many of the great oratorios by heart and without a conductor. Lots of people think we’re mad to do this, but singing the whole St John Passion from memory (chorus, arias and Evangelist) at Bach’s own church in Arnstadt recently was a genuine life highlight! I also sing quite a lot of opera – I love acting – and the rest of my time is filled with Monteverdi Choir projects and other bits and bobs. So, a big mixture, and I feel very fortunate.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

My two main things this year are Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri and Poulenc’s Figure Humaine, and I’m looking forward to both of them hugely! The Buxtehude, one of the earliest pieces that can be recognised as an Oratorio, is a deeply moving meditation on the various different parts of Jesus’s crucified body, and the Poulenc is a shattering response to the Nazi occupation of France, by turns despairing and patriotic. It’s going to be an intense week therefore, and I’m excited about having the chance to dig deeply into these seminal pieces.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?”

The coming months are a bit crazy. Lots of Bach (St John Passion evangelists in Switzerland, my first St Matthew evangelist in Christchurch Priory, a tour of the B Minor Mass with Solomon’s Knot), a Salieri opera called ‘La Scuola di Gelosi’, a staged Gesualdo and Monteverdi madrigal show in Italy, and a tour of Scotland with I Fagiolini and the Scottish Ensemble. Another highlight is a performance of Handel’s Saul in nearby Nottingham at the end of November. Hope to see some of you there!

Playing Together

A message from the Associate Artistic Director, Jamie Campbell:

We’re excited that the 2017 Southwell Music Festival is now only ten days away. In the run up to last year’s Festival we published a dozen or so profiles of musicians coming to Southwell to perform as soloists or in ensembles, small and large. The series was received with great enthusiasm. Many people found that learning about the performers was a good way into thinking about music that might be new to them.

Above all, people found it interesting to learn about the life and work of the professional musicians who join me, Marcus and all our colleagues and friends for this special weekend of music-making in the heart of Nottinghamshire.

Look out for this year’s series of profiles which will be published on the Festival website www.southwellmusicfestival.com starting tomorrow.

What these profiles bring home to many is that even the largest ensemble is made up of a collection of highly skilled individual artists. Each musician has their own interest, speciality, and perspective – and yet when we come together to play or sing, a magical group mentality can achieve a single purpose with astonishing impact.

Nothing demonstrates this better than the wonderful performance of Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, a string serenade composed ‘for 23 solo strings’ that we gave in the Quire of Southwell Minster at last year’s Festival. This year we again perform in the Quire, with Strings in the Quire featuring music by Britten, Pärt and Vaughan Williams.

Here is the video of the full performance of Metamorphosen.

See you at the Festival.

Free Concert to launch 2017 Festival

Image: Kaupo Kikkas

A free concert to announce the programme for the 2017 Southwell Music Festival will take place at Southwell Minster on Friday 31st March at 7.30pm. Southwell’s classical music festival will return during the 2017 August Bank Holiday weekend – from 24-28 August.

At this special free concert there will be performances by leading musicians associated with the Festival and it will be our first opportunity to explain and introduce the 2017 programme.

Our Associate Artistic Director – violinist Jamie Campbell –  will be joined by pianist James Cheung and star bassoonist Amy Harman. Amy was appointed Principal Bassoon with one of London’s top orchestras – the Philharmonia – at the tender age of 23. She is currently Principal Bassoon of Aurora Orchestra, the Orchestra of English National Opera and the Sheffield based Ensemble 360.

Amy is a new star on the orchestral scene and it is a complete thrill to present her to our Festival audience.  Her presence as our Principal Bassoon at the Festival in August is indicative of the amazing quality of musicians who want to perform in Southwell.

Admission to the concert is free with a retiring collection in aid of the Festival.  It will be followed by refreshments in the Crossing.  The concert takes place by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.

This concert will be a great introduction to the Festival. As part of our ongoing commitment to engaging with new audiences this is the perfect opportunity for you, our dedicated Festival followers, to do your bit. If you know of someone who would enjoy the live music that we offer at the Festival who is yet to experience it first hand, bring them along!

We look forward to sharing the delights of this year’s programme with you, as well as enjoying some beautiful music!