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'Age of Wonders' CD Launch Concert- Michael Stimpson & Solem String Quartet

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St. Mary's Church

High Street

Downe

BR6 7US

United Kingdom

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The outstanding Solem Quartet play Beethoven and Michael Stimpson’s second string quartet, The Beagle, in an evening of words and music to celebrate the release of a new CD, Age of Wonders. Written to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, Age of Wonders begins as a work for violin and piano, and evolves through string quartet and string orchestra to complete as a work for full orchestra. Released on Stone Records, the Philharmonia Orchestra present the work in its entirety under the baton of Stuart Stratford, with Maya Iwabuchi (violin) and Tom Poster (piano).

At this launch event at St. Mary’s Church, Downe, Kent (the home of the Darwins), the Solem Quartet play Beethoven’s String Quartet N. 8 in E minor, Op.59 No. 2 ‘Razumovsky’, together with the string quartet from Age of Wonders, The Beagle. There will also be readings, poems, and drinks in this special evening.


SOLEM STRING QUARTET

Solem String Quartet

Winners of the 2014 Royal Overseas League Ensemble Competition, the Solem Quartet were brought together in 2011 by their studies at the University of Manchester, where they take their name from the University motto arduus ad solem", meaning striving towards the sun”.

The quartet enjoy a busy concert schedule at venues across the UK including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Bridgewater Hall and Holywell Music Room, as well as performing internationally in several European countries. They are currently Junior Fellows in Chamber Music at the RNCM (2015-17), giving regular coaching to chamber ensembles as well as a series of concerts throughout the year. As part of their work with Live Music Now, they also give concerts and workshops in a number of special needs schools in the North West of England.

In September 2016 the Solems took up the position of Quartet in Residence at the University of Liverpool. They were also recently appointed Ensemble in Residence at Aberystwyth MusicFest. They have been privately commissioned to undertake a complete Beethoven cycle, to take place over five years starting in 2018, in London and Aberystwyth.

Their repertoire expands widely from early Haydn to living composers such as Emily Howard, whose quartet ‘Afference’ they performed in a BBC Proms Extra broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. They have recorded two CDs of 20th Century British music for Divine Arts record company. They are 2016/17 Park Lane Group Artists and have given recitals at Kings Place, St John's, Smith Square and St Martin-in-the-fields in the last season as part of the PLG recital series. They are also recent award winners of the Tunnell Trust, through which they will be undertaking a tour of Scotland in February 2018.

The Solem Quartet have benefited from inspirational teaching from a number of the world's greatest chamber musicians including Gábor Takács-Nagy, Miguel da Silva, Peter Cropper, Thomas Riebl and Hatto Beyerle. They have attended the European Chamber Music Academy and the National Youth String Quartet Academy as well as courses with the Chilingirian, Dante and Maggini Quartets, and in January 2015 they undertook a two-week chamber music residency with Simon Rowland-Jones in Aldeburgh. The quartet were delighted to have been selected for the prestigious ChamberStudio Mentorship 2014/2015, which allowed them to study intensively with the internationally renowned cellist Christoph Richter at Kings Place.


MICHAEL STIMPSON

Michael Stimpson, composer


The works of Michael Stimpson have been performed and commissioned by some of the UK’s most distinguished artists including the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Allegri and Maggini String Quartets, Bristol Bach Choir, Roderick Williams, Paul Agnew, David Campbell, Philippe Gra n, and Sioned Williams. A number of the UK’s nest venues have featured performances of his work including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, and Cadogan Hall, as well as a variety of UK festivals. International recognition has prompted performances in Australia, Europe, Iran and the USA, with an upcoming premiere of his third string quartet in Italy in 2017.

Michael’s works are varied in their subject matter, the stimulus often from contemporary events, favourite authors and poets. String Quartet No. 1 (Robben Island) re ected the breakdown of apartheid; The Stars Have Withdrawn Their Shining (harp), the life of John Ruskin; The Angry Garden (choir and orchestra) explored the issue of global warming; and A Walk Into War (tenor and piano quintet) was based on the writing of Laurie Lee.

His major work to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War 2, Clouds of War (choir and orchestra) was presented at Cadogan Hall in the presence of HRH Prince Michael of Kent. This was followed by a four-stage work, Age of Wonders, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Beginning as a piece for violin and piano, it evolved through string quartet and string orchestra to a work for full orchestra, commissioned by the Darwin Symphony Orchestra in Australia. Michael went on to write the opera, Jesse Owens, a work in four Acts for soli, chorus and full orchestra based on the life of the iconic US athlete.

Other available CDs include Journeymen (Allegri Quartet), Dylan & The Drowning of Capel Celyn (Roderick Williams, baritone and Sioned Williams, harp) and Jesse Owens & Preludes in Our Time (Abigail Kelly, Johnny Herford, Megumi Fujita and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Stuart Stratford).

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St. Mary's Church

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Downe

BR6 7US

United Kingdom

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