10th November 2010, 7:30 pm
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Madeleine Mitchell has performed in over 40 countries as a soloist in a wide repertoire and has been described by The Times as ‘one of Britain’s liveliest musical forces and foremost violinists’. She has performed concertos with orchestras including the St Petersburg Philharmonic (2009), Czech and Polish Radio Symphony, Wurttemberg and Munich Chamber, the Royal Philharmonic and other London orchestras; Welsh Chamber, Orchestra de Bahia Brazil, Malaga Symphony of Spain, Kiev Philharmonic and for the BBC. She also directs concertos from the violin such as Bach and Vivaldi Seasons and commissioned and premiered a unique ‘concerto’ for violin and voices by Jonathan Harvey, Roxanna Panufnik and Thierry Pecou at Bath and Spitalfields festivals. She performed Lou Harrison Violin Concerto with Percussion Orchestra in Symphony Hall Birmingham International Series as part of her collaboration with Ensemble Bash, supported by a major award from Arts Council England. Her recording of this and other new works, ‘FiddleSticks’ on the Signum label, received 5 star reviews in both BBC Music and Classic FM Magazines and was shortlisted for Grammy, BBC Music and Midem awards. Recently she stepped in at 12 hours notice to perform Bruch Violin Concerto with the Bath Philharmonia in their New Year Gala to a capacity audience in the Theatre Royal. She plays the Elgar violin concerto in London this Autumn.
Madeleine Mitchell is well known for her recitals, frequently broadcast for television and on BBC Radio 3, ABC (Australia), Bayerischer Rundfunk, National Spanish Radio etc and for her imaginative programming and engaging spoken introductions. She represented Britain in both the festival UKinNY with a recital at Lincoln Center, and for the centenary of Entente Cordiale with France as well as Brazil 2008 where she was widely featured on TV. She has given recitals at Sydney Opera House, Seoul Center for the Arts and Hong Kong – part of a 3 month world tour supported by the British Council, played at many international and most of the major British festivals including the BBC Proms and frequently performs in London. Artists with whom she has collaborated include Norbert Brainin, Joanna MacGregor, Paul Watkins, Kathryn Stott, Craig Ogden and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (as the violinist in The Fires of London). 2010/11 sees her return to the USA for a tour and two new collaborations – with pianist Noriko Ogawa in several UK festivals and with soprano Patrica Rozario.
In addition to Violin Songs and In Sunlight: Pieces for Madeleine Mitchell her burgeoning discography includes 2 albums for Naxos: Alwyn chamber music and the violin works by Howard Blake, accompanied by the composer (2008); ‘British Treasures’ – early 20th century romantic violin sonatas for Somm, Hummel violin sonatas for Meridian and the widely recommended Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time with Joanna MacGregor, re-released by Warner in 2010 at the LSO/Gergiev Messiaen concerts at the Barbican.
A highly creative personality, Madeleine devised the Red Violin Festival under Lord Menuhin’s patronage in 1997, the first international eclectic festival of the fiddle across the arts, for which she was nominated for a Creative Briton Award. It took place again in October 2007 successfully throughout Cardiff over 10 days with extensive media coverage.
Madeleine Mitchell was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal as Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music where she has been a Professor since 1994. As Fulbright/ITT Fellow she gained a master’s degree in New York studying with Dorothy DeLay, Donald Weilerstein and Sylvia Rosenberg at the Eastman and Juilliard schools. She gives master classes worldwide, is Director of the London Chamber Ensemble and is on the faculty of the Orfeo International Festival in the Italian Alps in July and the Interharmony Festival in Germany.
Andrew Ball studied with Kendall Taylor at the Royal College of Music and took a First in music at Queen’s College, Oxford. Regarded as one of the foremost British pianists of his generation, a busy career has taken him all over the world. He has a reputation for innovative and imaginative programmes, and chamber music and contemporary music have always played a large part in his repertoire. He has given countless premieres (including the first British performance of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Piano Sonata at the Bath Festival), made his Proms debut playing Messiaen and studied Tippett’s sonatas with the composer. Ives and Busoni are also special interests. He has played with the Nash Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Villiers Piano Quartet and Gemini and has had a successful duo with Madeleine Mitchell since 1992. Many acclaimed CDs range from the complete Tippett song-cycles and vocal and choral music of Lili Boulanger with Martyn Hill for Hyperion, to Billy Mayerl’s works for piano and orchestra. He has appeared at the Aldeburgh Festival playing two-piano music with Rolf Hind and has played in Stravinsky’s ‘Les Noces’ for the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and with the LSO and Gergiev at the Barbican. Formerly a sought-after teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Andrew Ball was Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music from 1999 to 2005, where he remains a Professor. He was made a Fellow in 2006. He regularly gives masterclasses, including Berlin, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
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Die Nachtigall is one of the ‘Seven Early Songs’ written by Berg before he began to compose in the atonal and then 12-note style. Arranged by Madeleine Mitchell for violin and piano, viewers may wish to click here to see and hear it as originally written for soprano and piano (unfortunately neither singer nor pianist are named), or here for the later orchestral version, sung by Renee Fleming with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda at the 2007 Proms.
Die Nachtigall and the Bridge pieces are included on the CD ‘Violin Songs’ Divine Art (DDA 25063), which will be available at the concert. Popular pieces and rarities by Elgar, Bridge, Massenet, Schubert, Strauss*, Berg and music from Paris around the 1920s – Ravel, Prokofiev, Copland, Boulanger, Poulenc. Madeleine Mitchell – violin and Andrew Ball – piano with Elizabeth Watts* – soprano. Classic FM CD of the Week and featured on BBC Radios 3 and 4.
‘A particularly successful album…Madeleine Mitchell’s playing is most appealing. Her tone is sweet and bright..unfailingly sensitive to the nuances and character of each piece.’ Gramophone
‘A beguiling programme..wonderful lyrical tone…Strauss ‘Morgen’ an exquisite conclusion…overall an enjoyable disc.’ BBC Music Magazine
‘A CD full of small joys, wonderfully played.’ The Strad
‘Utterly magical‘ Classical.net
‘Mitchell is one of the best things to happen to the violin, classical or otherwise. Tremendous touch, wonderful style…simply a great recording’ Midwest Record USA
Click here for a video of Madeleine and Andrew recording the Adagio from Eugene Goosens’ Violin Sonata No.1 (1918), where you will also find other related violin videos.
POSTSCRIPT: This concert was dedicated to the memory of Jean Hudson, the Society’s Vice-Chairman, who died a few days previously. Madeleine and Andrew dedicated their encore, Elgar’s Salut d’amore, to Jean.
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