Spring Season 2016 Announcement
Music in the Round has announced their 2016 Spring season of classical chamber music, jazz and family concerts taking place in Sheffield, including their annual weekend festival of chamber music.
From 19 to 21 February 2016, Sheffield’s superb resident chamber group Ensemble 360 will present ‘Mendelssohn and Schumann: The Leipzig Years’ - a weekend festival dedicated to the highly-charged, often turbulent chamber music of Robert Schumann in combination with the ever-youthful compositions of Felix Mendelssohn.
The weekend focuses on the music that connects the two composers to the European city of Leipzig in Germany, from the moment they first met there on Saturday 3rd October 1835. Their participation in the musical life of the city extended well beyond the performance of cornerstone works of the chamber music repertoire that were composed and first performed there. Mendelssohn founded the famous Conservatoire and directed the renowned Gewandhaus Orchestra, while Schumann found love in the city, marrying the young composer and piano prodigy Clara Wieck.
Among the musical highlights of the weekend are performances of Mendelssohn’s stunning Song without Words for cello and piano (Friday 19 February, 9pm) and Schumann’s magnficent Piano Quintet Op.44. (Sunday 21 February, 3pm), as well as Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio Op.49 and his String Quartet Op.80 (Saturday 20 February, 7.15pm).
The weekend also features music from an extraordinary range of composers linked to Mendelssohn, Schumann and the city of Leipzig. This includes music by Bach, whose captivating French Suites will be performed by acclaimed pianist (and Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Sheffield) Peter Hill (opening the festival at 7.15pm on 19 February). (Mendelssohn crucially revived interest in Bach’s music when he gave the first public performance in almost 80 years of his St Matthew Passion). Music by the Sheffield-born composer William Sterndale Bennett also features over the weekend (he was first invited to the city by Mendelssohn, and went on to become a firm friend of Schumann through his extended trips there), with Ensemble 360 giving a performance of his exuberant Chamber Trio to coincide with the English composer’s bicentenary year.
Supporting events include a symposium, led by three eminent guest speakers Laura Tunbridge (University of Oxford), Timothy Baycroft (University of Sheffield) and Julian Horton (University of Durham), as well as a lecture illustrated by musical examples from Ensemble 360.
In a very new departure for Music in the Round, the festival also extends beyond the walls of the Crucible Studio, for some live chamber music recitals in John Lewis Sheffield on the Saturday morning (20 February, 11am – 2pm).
Later in February, the internationally acclaimed pianist Paul Lewis performs in the intimate surroundings of the Crucible’s Studio on the Steinway piano he helped select for Music in the Round in 2014. One of the best British pianists of his generation, Paul will be showcasing the full range of his virtuosity with the lyrical beauty of works by Brahms and Schubert, as well as Liszt’s contrasting nightmarish depictions of Hell in the ‘Dante’ Sonata.
Further visiting artists include the much-loved Leonore Piano Trio (featuring Ensemble 360’s Tim Horton, Benjamin Nabarro and Gemma Rosefield) performing the second in their cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano trios, violin and cello sonatas. While the outstanding Doric String Quartet return with a programme of popular works by Schubert, Haydn and the Hollywood Oscar-winning composer, Erich Korngold.
Music in the Round also plays host to two Sheffield Jazz concerts this season, as well as their first ever jointly-presented improvisation workshop designed especially for both classical and jazz musicians of all ages. The workshops provide a unique opportunity to learn from and play alongside acclaimed jazz musicians Mark Lockheart, Jasper Høiby and Liam Noble on Saturday 2 April.
Music in the Round’s Artistic Director Angus Smith comments:
“It is a great pleasure to present a Spring programme that is packed with irresistible pieces by some of the greatest composers of classical chamber music, together with a few surprises.
I believe that the care and attention our resident musicians, in Ensemble 360, and our visiting artists pay to presenting concerts with a narrative that runs through the performance is particularly evident this season. This is especially the case in our annual Spring weekend festival, featuring two great composers, Mendelssohn and Schumann. As ever, the wonderful chamber music repertoire of the featured composers is the starting point, but this year there’s the added luxury of exploring those who influenced them – especially Bach – and the younger generation of musicians that they in turn influenced. This wealth of music is all set against the background of the German city of Leipzig, arguably one of the most influential musical cities in the world, especially considering its relatively small size. ”
On 5 March, the brilliantly funny Sir Scallywag and the Battle of Stinky Bottom returns to the Crucible Theatre for the first Sheffield family concert, following two sell-out school shows in the autumn. The concert is based on Giles Andreae’s latest Sir Scallywag story, illustrated by Korky Paul. Performed the musicians of Ensemble 360, with narration from Polly Ives, and classical music by award-winning Children’s Composer in Residence, Paul Rissmann, the concert is packed with irresistibly catchy songs, vivid story-telling, bright illustrations and lots of audience participation.
News of Music in the Round’s annual May Festival will follow later this year. It takes place from 6 – 16 May 2016 in the Crucible Studio, Sheffield.
Tickets for the full Spring season are now on sale at www.musicintheround.co.uk and through Sheffield Theatres Box Office on 0114 249 6000.
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