Regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic repertoire, Imogen Cooper scales the vast emotional terrain of Beethoven’s penultimate piano sonata, whilst the Berkeley Ensemble plot a similar path in two contrasting works for string sextet.
Ludwig van Beethoven - Variations on La stessa, la stessissima
Thomas Adès - Darknesse Visible
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonata in A-flat Op. 110
Misha Mullov-Abbado - Heal Me on this Cloudy Day
Michael Berkeley - New work for double bass (world premiere)
Johannes Brahms - String Sextet in G Op. 36
Imogen Cooper, piano
Tickets: £18 / £15 (including tea, coffee and cake in the interval)
Free for under-26s
Free tickets for under-26 are funded funded by the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust.
About the artists
Regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic repertoire, Imogen Cooper is internationally renowned for her virtuosity and lyricism. Recent and future concerto performances include the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, Sydney Symphony with Simone Young and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard. This season she will perform lieder recitals with Mark Padmore, including at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and a series of solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London, focussing on Haydn and Beethoven.
Imogen has a widespread international career and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, NHK and London Symphony Orchestras. She has also undertaken tours with the Camerata Salzburg, Australian and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras. She has played at the BBC Proms and with all the major British orchestras, including particularly close relationships with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia, play/directing. Her recital appearances have included Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, Paris, Vienna, Prague and the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg.
As a supporter of new music, Imogen has premiered two works at the Cheltenham International Festival; Traced Overhead by Thomas Adès (1996) and Decorated Skin by Deirdre Gribbin (2003). In 1996, she also collaborated with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the premiere of the quintet, Voices for Angels, written by the ensemble’s viola player, Brett Dean.
Imogen is a committed chamber musician and performs regularly with Henning Kraggerud and Adrian Brendel. As a Lieder recitalist, she has had a long collaboration with Wolfgang Holzmair in both the concert hall and recording studio. Her discography also includes Mozart Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia (Avie), a solo recital at the Wigmore Hall (Wigmore Live) and a cycle of solo works by Schubert recorded live and released under the label ‘Schubert Live’. Her recent recordings for Chandos Records feature music by Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner and Robert and Clara Schumann.
Imogen received a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in 2007 and was the recipient of an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society the following year. In 1997 she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music and in 1999 she was made a Doctor of Music at Exeter University. Imogen was the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Classical Music and Music Education at the University of Oxford for 2012-13. The Imogen Cooper Music Trust was founded in 2015, to support young pianists at the cusp of their careers, and give them time in an environment of peace and beauty.
Photo credit: Sussie Ahlburg
Hailed as ‘an instinctive collective’ (The Strad) the Berkeley Ensemble takes its name from two British composers of the last hundred years, father and son Sir Lennox and Michael Berkeley. It was formed in 2008 by members of Southbank Sinfonia, Britain’s young professional orchestra, with the aim of exploring the wealth of little-known twentieth and twenty-first century British chamber music alongside more established repertoire. It now enjoys a busy concert schedule performing throughout the UK and abroad, and is also much in demand for its inspiring work in education.
The ensemble’s flexible configuration and collaborative spirit has led to performances with leading musicians including Sir Thomas Allen, Richard Sisson, Gabriel Prokofiev and Nicholas Daniel. The group enthusiastically champions new music and has worked with composers John Casken and Robin Holloway. It was proud to premiere its first commission, Michael Berkeley’s Clarion Call and Gallop, in 2013 and featured the piece on its debut recording. Released in March 2014, the album was praised by Gramophone for ‘the vibrancy of the Berkeley Ensemble’s performance even compared with Dennis Brain and friends in [the Ferguson Octet’s] first recording.’
The ensemble is rapidly building a reputation for innovative and thought-provoking programming and in spring 2014 received official recognition with a Help Musicians UK Emerging Excellence award. Equally at home on the summer festival circuit and in the concert hall, the group has performed at the Latitude and Greenbelt festivals.
Taking its music to new audiences, most importantly through education work, is central to the ensemble’s activities. Its work in this area includes self-directed projects in addition to collaborations with Southbank Sinfonia, Merton Music Foundation and Pan Concerts for Children. The ensemble regularly coaches students in chamber performance at the University of York, is ensemble-in-residence at Queen Elizabeth School in Cumbria and Ibstock Place School in London and runs an annual residential chamber music course in Somerset.
Photo credit: Louise Mather / No Middle Name Photography