Performances coming soon
Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 7.30PM
Cross Currents Festival of Contemporary Music
Haiku performed by Clare Hammond (piano)
Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TS
This concert features music by Michael Berkeley, Alexander Goehr and Robin Holloway at a new festival of contemporary music in Birmingham - ‘Cross Currents’ at the Barber Institute.
Photo: Clare Hammond by Julie Kim
Saturday 17 March 2018
Celebrating 70th birthday of Michael Berkeley and 75th birthday of David Matthews
Veilleuse (Night Watch) performed by Madeleine Mitchell (violin)
Rudolph Steiner House Theatre, 35 Park Road, London, NW1 6XT
Also on the programme are works by Brahms, Debussy and Prokofiev.
Sunday 20 May 2018 at 5.00PM
Listen, Listen, O My Child performed by the Capella Vesperale
City-Church of St. Catharina, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Wednesday 22 November 2017 at 11.00AM
This annual event dates back to 1946 and is famed for bringing together the choirs of Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The choirs return for a celebration of music, performing the premiere of the Motet 'Super Flumina Babylonis' by Michael Berkeley, specially commissioned by the RVW trust and conducted by Martin Baker.
Tuesday 14 November 2017
Memorial Service for Michael Bond
Listen, Listen, O My Child performed by the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
Monday 13 November 2017 at 7.00PM
Two Farewells performed by the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Boris Andrianov (cello) & John Axelrod (conductor)
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, 4/31, Triumfalnaya pl., Moscow, 125047, Russia
Two Farewells for solo cello and orchestra revisits and recasts music written for cello in memory of the recently departed. It was created for the cellist, Boris Andrianov, for his Vivacello Festival which took place in November 2017 in Moscow.
The piece opens with an anguished cello line at the very top of the register, barracked by repeated notes on tympani and brass, a deliberate nod to the insistent use of repeated notes in Beethoven. This leads to the first Farewell, an orchestrated version of the melody in At A Solemn Wake for cello and piano which was written in memory of my first wife, Deborah Rogers, who died suddenly in 2014. Music from the opening is then developed, taking us to the second Farewell: Ode - In Memoriam, for solo cello but heard now in an orchestral setting. It was written following the early death of a dance collaborator of mine, Lesley-Anne Sayers who worked as a researcher at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where the piece was subsequently choreographed and danced. For me Ode also marked the premature passing of another close friend, Robert Sandall, who was rock critic for the Sunday Times.
Two Farewells is not then a concerto in the sense of conventional structure (it is in one movement lasting around 17 minutes) but the soloist does have the role of protagonist, in this case a grieving figure, and the orchestra, by turns, supports or acts as a counter force. In the Ode section I became particularly intrigued by the opportunity to add harmonies and counter melodies where previously they had only been implied.
In the closing pages the solo cello is confronted yet again by unyielding Beethovenian repetition. Indeed the score uses a classical orchestra as inherited by Beethoven from Mozart and Haydn - double woodwind, two trumpets, two horns, tympani and strings.
By Michael Berkeley, November 2017
Photo: Boris Andrianov, Michael Berkeley and John Axelrod at the premiere of Two Farewells with the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra
Wednesday 25 October 2017 at 2.00PM
Violin Muse - Madeleine Mitchell's Album Launch
Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, Kensington, London, SW7 2BS
Box office: Royal College of Music, 020 7591 4314
A short recital to celebrate the launch of violinist and RCM professor Madeleine Mitchell’s latest album of new music by British composers, 'Violin Muse', which includes Michael Berkeley's Veilleuse. Madeleine and her accompanist Nigel Clayton will give a performance, following a discussion chaired by Head of Composition William Mival with composer Guto Puw on his concerto 'Soft Stillness' with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Tickets: Free but required.
Saturday 30 September 2017 at 7.30PM
Tre Voci - Cello Unwrapped
Three Rilke Sonnets performed by Natalie Clein (cello), Julius Drake (piano) & Fleur Barron (mezzo-soprano)
King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
Box office: King's Place
As a former cellist, soprano Ruby Hughes loves to sing with the 'warm, expressive, very human voice' of the cello, played here by Natalie Clein alongside distinguished pianist Julius Drake. (Unfortunately Ruby has had to withdraw from the concert at the last minute, but is replaced by Fleur Barron with no alterations to the programme). This consummate and curious trio have come together to curate an intriguing exploration of these sonorities, from the second of Michael Berkeley's Rilke Sonnets and Tavener's starkly expressive Akhmatova Songs, to Schubert's exhilarating Auf dem Strom, Turnage's sensuous lullaby and Janacek's enchanting Pohádka. Alongside Bach's sacred arias with cello obbligato is John Cage’s wittily percussive song for voice and closed piano.
Photo: Ruby Hughes by Camillo Escheverri
Saturday 30 September 2017 at 12.30PM
Lunchtime Lecture with Peteris Vasks
Holywell Music Room, Holywell Street, Oxford, OX1 3SD
Box office: Tickets Oxford
Michael Berkeley talks to the composer-in-residence of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, Peteris Vasks, about the creative process and a composer’s life. Michael's Mediations for Strings will be played along with music by Peteris Vasks. Their reactions to each other’s work are bound to be fascinating!