Last night marked the final performance of both our Émigré concert series and Spitalfields Music Summer Festival 2015 with our Georgian London concert at Shoreditch Church. Joined by our Principal Conductor, Stephen Layton, choir Polyphony and baritone Ashley Riches, it was a fantastic evening of music by some of classical music’s biggest names, Haydn and Mozart chief among them, who fled to London in the eighteenth century to seek fame and fortune. The whole performance was broadcast live via BBC Radio 3, so don’t forget you can hear it all again for free on BBC IPlayer!
Ahead of our upcoming concert, Georgian London on Tuesday 16 June, we caught up with baritone, Ashley Riches before he joins us to perform Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum at Shoreditch Church. He reflects on his spontaneous decision to become a musician, why Don Giovanni is his favourite piece of music and role to sing, and his long-standing admiration for Polyphony, who joins him and CLS for this exciting concert.
When did you know you wanted to become a musician, and what spurred you on?
Actually, there was never really a moment… I had a training contract with a law firm not far from Spitalfields, but decided to try a year at music college before settling down to a ‘proper job’! Somehow it went well enough that I decided to give it a go. I’m a little bit fatalistic about these things – singing is the sort of career that chooses you, to some degree.
The buildings marked with a blue plaque in London commemorate the places some of the most important figures in history have lived and worked. Founded in 1866, the English heritage scheme is apparently the oldest of its kind in the world. Before our upcoming concert on 16 June at Shoreditch Church, we took a blue plaque tour of Georgian London to see where the composers whose music we perform next month worked and took residence when they visited this fantastic city.
Emigration has been a constant theme for musicians throughout history, with composers moving between countries and continents for a wide range of reasons. In our current concert series, we explore the journeys émigré composers have made through their musical output, whose sounds and atmospheres often reflect and have become associated with their life travels. As part of our blog series, Composer Journeys, we’ve been mapping out the journeys these émigré composers have made.
We’re delighted that our wonderful leader Alexandra Wood appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune yesterday with Sean Rafferty, performing ahead of our ÉMIGRÉ concert series.
She talks about what it means to celebrate émigré artists, London as a cultural hub and life as a musician, before playing Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Etude No.3 for solo violin and Prokofiev’s Sonata for Solo Violin, op. 115, First Movement live in the studio.
You can listen to her on catch up from approximately 1 hour 43 minutes in.