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."
"Barber's 1st Symphony is a concert hall rarity, a piece written as one highly concentrated movement. It needs a conductor who can clarify its structure and relate the subtlety of its parts to the whole. Mark Heron certainly achieved this, particularly successful when handling the transitions between sections, as when the momentum of the opening spills over into the scherzo - which in turn tailed off into a plaintive oboe melody over rapt strings. He also imbued the ending, which comes full circle in a powerful coda, with a strong sense of inevitability."
"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."
clearly doesn’t want to act as a dictator
but rather as a catalyst
and the composer's
"Heron is a conductor who clearly doesn’t want to act as a dictator towards the musicians, but rather as a catalyst between them and the composer's intentions"
Two new CDs released this month: music of Adam Gorb featuring Manchester Camerata, Ensemble 10/10 and RNCM ensembles; and a recording by the virtuoso contemporary flautist Karin de Fleyt of a major new concerto by Paul Goodey.
Application details for the highest profile in the RNCM's series of conducting masterclasses are now closed. There are still a small number of places left for Sherborne summer school.
A fantastically busy Autumn is now over, with particular highlights being lots of Beethoven, Sibelius's 3rd & 5th symphonies in the run-up to his 150th anniversary in December, and a fabulous festival of Robert Saxton's music at the RNCM. It was also great to visit Stavanger for the first time and see their fast-developing conducting programme.
January brings New Music North West - the UK's largest new music festival, and projects with Manchester Camerata, Royal Scottish National Orchestra amongst others. One of my favourite concerts of the year remains the Nottingham Phil's annual Family concert, this year with a movie theme.
RNCM Conducting now has a facebook page. "Like it" to keep up to date with all the news from there.
2015/16 season dates are now uploaded. Sorry for delay...
Beethoven and Sibelius seem to be where it's at this autumn. In particular a Beethoven 9 double-header in October: 2 performances on consecutive days with different orchestras.
Information about the 2015/16 programme of RNCM Conducting Masterclasses is now available. CNew for this year is a course aimed specifically at those working with youth orchestras and ensembles. For the masterclass pack, click here.
Nottingham Philharmonic close their season in the beautiful surrounds of Southwell Minster with Kodaly, Strauss & Brahms on 11th July.
Looking forward to the revamped RNCM Conducting Weekend which take splace 8-10th May. From it's gigantic proportions in recent years (40 conductors!) we have slimmed down to an elite, high level masterclass with just 10 participants, chosen from around 90 applicants. All of the ensembles and orchestras for the weekend will contain professional as well as student players, and for the final day we welcome Manchester Camerata who will be involved for the first time.
The 2015/16 programme of courses is looking very exciting with some new initiatives to ensure a wider variety of events than ever before. Details here soon.
My course at Sherborne Summer School of Music in August is almost full - do not delay if you are interested in attending this.
There's a nice interview with Jamie Phillips in the current issue of Classical Music magazine.
RNCM Conducting Weekend application process is now open, deadline 6th March. Featuring a new partnership this year with Manchester Camerata. Details here.
Apologies for the delay in posting updates, it's been a busy start to the season. A quick trip to Finland to teach a masterclass in Tampere, and then into a busy period of concerts including Mahler 4, Mahler 9, a handful of Mozart symphonies, Barber fiddle concerto, a rare performance of Shostakovich's 6 Romances for baritone and symphony orchestra, and a concert for the International Guitar Festival of Great Britain with Craig Ogden. 2 CD recordings with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and all the usual teaching and so on. Still to come before a couple of weeks off is Brahms 1st Piano Concerto with the outstanding young pianist Tom Hicks on 11th December at the RNCM.
Details of August's course as Sherborne Summer School of Music are now available. More information here, or on the school website. It's a great course, highly reccommended. Joining me on the faculty this year are the Norwegian conductor, Bjørn Sagstad, and the new Director of Bands at the University of Georgia, Cynthia Johnson Turner.
Former students from RNCM and Manchester University currently hold, or have just completed, assistant conductors positions with the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, English National Opera, Hallé, CBSO. Not too shabby.
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.
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.
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 iTunes.
A bunch of reviews of my William Alwyn Naxos disc can be found here.
Archive news items here.