Mark Heron is music director of the Nottingham Philharmonic and Liverpool Mozart Orchestras, a member of the conducting faculty at the Royal Northern College of Music, and Director of Orchestras for the University of Manchester. As a guest conductor he has worked with the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Psappha, Philharmonia, Orquesta Sinfónica de la Región de Murcia, Pori Sinfonietta and many more.
A significant (but by no means exclusive) focus of his work is contemporary music, more details
A significant (but by no means exclusive) focus of his work is contemporary music, more details are here.
Mark is a highly regarded as a conducting teacher, read more here.
"Those great contemporaries, Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen, are composers of contrasting musical ethic and aesthetic. Each pose difficult questions for any conductor and musician. Through attention to detail, and careful shaping of argument and structure, Heron and the orchestra came through the test with flying colours."
"Sibelius's 7th symphony radiated total commitment and deep musical insight."
"Saturday’s performance [of Peter Grimes] had a powerful sense of emotional engagement with the morally ambivalent story and its cast of Suffolk townspeople. Mark Heron’s conducting was incisive and alive to the rich variety of Britten’s score. The famous ‘sea interludes’ were vividly atmospheric, ranging from the shimmering light effects of ‘Dawn’ to the elemental violence of ‘The Storm’"
"under Mark Heron's scrupulous guidance, the character [of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring] seemed balletic through and through. Negotiating an ever changing pulse with resolve, they went on to catch both the vitality of he seasonal dances and the solemnity of primitive sacrifice. Simply awesome."
"Mark Heron led a soulful and passionate performance of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. The sound of the orchestra was astonishing and the pianissimo section in the slow movement was all the more beautiful for its contrast to the relentless vigour called for by Brahms"
"...the Nottingham Philharmonic under Mark Heron seems to reach greater heights of orchestral virtuosity."
"This was surely the best of the many orchestral collaborations seen at the prestigious La Mar de Músicas festival. The brilliance of Toumani Diabate of course made this possible, but it was as much due to the Orchestra Sinfonica de la Region de Murcia directed by Mark Heron who were outstanding in their sympathetic accompaniment."
2014/15 dates as they currently stand are now available on the schedule page.
A busy summer saw me teaching in China for 2 weeks, working with Derbyshire Youth Orchestra on a programme which included The Planets and the first performance a great new work by Paul Patterson, a trip to Prague with the Manchester University orchestra (possibly the loudest Pines of Rome ever), and finally my annual course at Sherborne Summer School where we had 27 conductors from all over the world in the beautiful surroundings of the Dorset town of Sherborne. Concert dates for the coming season will be posted soon, but for now it's a bit of holiday time.
Sherborne class of 2014
Details of the 2014/15 programme of RNCM conducting master classes have been released. Find it all here.
My recent concert of Nielsen, Sibelius & Grieg (2 of my favourite composers - guess which ones?!) with Stockport Symphony Orchestra received an excellent review.
Concert dates for the coming 6 months are now up to date here.
The Nottingham Philharmonic's Britten centenary celebrations (Violin Concerto, Peter Grimes, War Requiem) are now receding into the distance. Read the Grimes review. January saw the annual family concert ("No-one stages a family concert quite like the NPO") with Sharron Davies as presenter. Next is the NPO's 40th Anniversary concert.
Classical Music Magazine wrote about my teaching work in a recent focus on Manchester's musical scene.
I had a great trip to Slovenia in July for Orkesterkamp - a very well organised and high-quality orchestral summer school which is mainly for young Slovenian musicians but they accept some international students. Tutors are top class Slovenian professional players working in Ljubljana and European orchestras like Bavarian Radio, Graz Opera etc. Some of the final concert is on YouTube.
Sherborne Summer School was a great success with conducting students from the UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Canada & the US. Our guest tutor, the Norwegian conductor Bjørn Sagstad, described it as surely the best course of its kind in the world. Why not join us next year - the dates are 3rd - 10th August.
New website from the Nottingham Philharmonic, with 2013 season details. My concert schedule page will be uploaded in the coming weeks.
On Radio 3's Hear & Now programme on Saturday 21st June is a Psappha broadcast of music by Elizabeth Lutyens & Priaulx Rainier. Details here and catch it on iPlayer for 7 days after that.
The Nottingham Philharmonic are about to embark on their Britten mini-season. The closing concert of this season features Callum Smart playing the violin concerto. The autumn will see performances of Peter Grimes and the War Requiem.
It was a huge pleasure to work with Heiner Goebbels, one of the most iconic living composers, in a 3 day festival of his work at the RNCM at the end of March.
Congratulations to Emily Howard who has won a British Composer Award for Mesmerism, a work for solo piano and chamber orchestra which was commissioned by the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and premiered by us in November 2011 with Alexandra Dariescu.
The latest RNCM Wind Orchestra recording is an outstanding disc of saxophone concerti with Rob Buckland and John Harle, featuring works by Andy Scott, Graham Fitkin, Michael Ball and Jacob ter Velduis. Available from Amazon and on iTunes soon.
I'm delighted to be working with Manchester's new music ensemble Psappha. They have a fantastic website with lots of video of live performances, and you can see a recording of Alasdair Nicholson's Punch! from our concert last month here.
Nice review of Nottingham Philharmonic Sibelius/ Nielsen/ Bartok programme here.
A very interesting new book about conducting (no, really) is Music as Alchemy by Tom Service. Rather than looking only at the maestro, Service explores the relationship between a handful of today's top conductors and their orchestras: what happens in rehearsal, what the players think, how the conductor puts the performance together etc. Well worth a read.
A bunch of reviews of my William Alwyn Naxos disc can be found here.
Congratulations to Jamie Phillips who has enjoyed spectacular recent successes. Finalist in the Nestle Salzburg Festival Young Conductor Award, taken on by leading agency Intermusica, and announced as the Hallé's new assistant conductor.
Another student going great guns is Duncan Ward who is Sir Simon Rattle's assistant with the Berlin Philharmoniker.
Comparatively almost over the hill at 26, Gergely Madaras completed his 2 year Junior Fellowship at the RNCM last summer. He has been awarded the inaugural Sir Charles Mackerras Fellowship at ENO, and will be the new chief conductor of the Orchestre Digon Bourgogne.
It's a pleasure to be involved in their development.
Archive news items here.