Join us for the premiere of our 2018 festival commission by Tim Watts – conceived as a companion to Malcolm Arnold’s jazz-influenced concerto, it was made possible through the generous support of festival donors. Works written in or about childhood by Britten and Berkeley complete this all-British programme.
BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny chairs a pre-concert discussion at 6.30pm. Panelists include composer Tim Watts and Joe Hastings from Help Musicians UK.
Benjamin Britten - Three Divertimenti
Michael Berkeley - Catch Me If You Can
Tim Watts - Festival Commission (world premiere)
Malcolm Arnold - Guitar Concerto Op. 67
Benjamin Britten - Simple Symphony Op. 4
Laura Snowden, guitar
Tickets: £15 / free for under-26s supported by CAVATINA
About the artists
Award-winning classical guitarist and composer Laura Snowden was handpicked by Julian Bream to give the Julian Bream Trust concerts at Wigmore Hall in 2015 and 2017, premiering the Trust’s new commissions by Olli Mustonen and Julian Anderson. Laura was the first guitarist to graduate from the world-renowned Yehudi Menuhin School, where guitar tuition was made possible by a donation from the Rolling Stones. Earlier this year she recorded a new guitar concerto by Lisa Streich with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, later premiering it at the Ernst von Siemens Award Ceremony in Munich.
She was featured on the front cover of Classical Guitar Magazine Fall 2016 with an in-depth article describing her as “linking guitar’s past, present and future”. Whilst studying at the Royal College of Music, she was selected for the Tillett Trust, St John’s Smith Square, International Guitar Foundation, Worshipful Company of Musicians and ‘Making Music Philip and Dorothy Green’ young artist schemes, and was invited by guitarist John Williams to perform at Shakespeare’s Globe with her folk ensemble Tir Eolas.
As a composer, Laura won First Prize at the Volos International Guitar Composition Competition and has been commissioned by VIDA Guitar Quartet, the Park Lane Group with support from the RVW Trust and the International Guitar Foundation; her song Live Free was performed at over 300 simultaneous concerts in 60 countries for the charity Voices for Hospices.
Laura currently teaches at the Yehudi Menuhin School and has given classes alongside performances at the International Guitar Foundation's Summer School, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Birmingham Conservatoire, Uppsala International Guitar Festival and the Altamira Hong Kong International Guitar Symposium.
Her upcoming performances include the Volterra Project Summer Institute in Italy, Long Island Guitar Festival, the Guitar and Lute Festival in Sweden, and a tour of Brazil in collaboration with Worldwide Guitar Connections.
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.