Musgrave at 90

It was a huge pleasure to welcome Thea Musgrave to the RNCM for a major festival of her music last month. Her generosity towards all of the performers, but particularly the students, was fantastic to see. Keep a look out for A BBC Radio 3 broadcast of the BBC Philharmonic concert from the Festival in the coming weeks, and for some high profile further performances coming later in the year.

That was autumn..

Autumn flashed by in a swirl of concerts, recordings and masterclasses. At the RNCM we kicked off our French Connections season which continues until the summer. We also held our largest ever New Music Northwest Festival in which I gave performances with the BBC Philharmonic, RNCM New Ensemble and RNCM Wind Orchestra over a fairly intense week! The BBC concert will be broadcast on Radio 3 on 20th January.


The Nottingham Philharmonic season kicked off with a brilliant performance of one my favourites - Nielsen's 5th Symphony. "You could feel the air crackle with energy and excitement throughout a performance full of turbulence and tension. The end of the first movement - with offstage drum and with clarinet perched high above the organ - was surely one of the most dramatic symphonic moments ever staged in the Albert Hall." Full review here

Manchester University Orchestra gave excellent performance of 2 iconic symphonies - Shostakovitch's 10th and Beethoven's Eroica

At the RNCM we launched a new masterclass for wind & brass conductors which attracted participants from Austria, Belgium, Costa Rica, Italy, Portugal, USA and the UK. Trips to Norway and Singapore (in both cases not always at the same time as my luggage!) finished the year.

Music for a busy city

I've just recorded a couple of new works with Manchester Camerata for Manchester International Festival's Music for a Busy City project. 6 new works have been commissioned and recorded, with each piece "belonging" to a specific location in the city. The recordings will be played in sequence every hour of every day of the Festival which runs from the end of June until mid-July.

Pictured with composers Huang Ruo and Mohammed Fairouz, sheng and cello virtuosi Wu Wei and Hannah Roberts, producer Phil Rowlands and Manchester Camerata musicians.

Unique Brahms cycle

At the end of March the Nottingham Philharmonic performed all four Brahms symphonies in a weekend, nos. 1&2 on Saturday evening and nos. 3&4 on Sunday afternoon. We used the new Henle urtext editions prepared by preeminent Brahms scholar Professor Robert Pascall, who was at both concerts and gave associated pre-concert talks. As well as almost certainly being the first complete cycle given with the new parts, Professor Pascall said he had never experienced all four symphonies played within a two day period.

Read the review from the Nottingham Evening Post here.

Post Brahms with Professor Robert Pascall

Post Brahms with Professor Robert Pascall

Mark Heron clearly loves Brahms and all four symphonies demonstrated his ability to mould detail into huge architectural designs.