Showcasing four young stars of the classical music world, all 25 years old and under, London Mozart Players announces its return to live concerts in the Spotlight On… series at Fairfield Halls and Cadogan Hall this June and October, featuring star cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, saxophonist Jess Gillam, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and violinist Leia Zhu. The series reopens Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on Friday 4 June 2021.
The Spotlight On… series is a continuation of London Mozart Players’ proud 72-year tradition of supporting rising stars, with the young Jacqueline du Pré, Nicola Benedetti and Michael Collins just three of many outstanding musicians who performed with LMP at the start of their careers. The only professional orchestra in the UK managed entirely by its players, London Mozart Players was one of the first ensembles to return to live music-making in June 2020 and is poised to return to audiences this summer. Building on the success of their digital broadcasts the Spotlight On… series will also be available to view online for a limited period via the LMP website.
London Mozart Players is the resident orchestra at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls, newly refurbished in 2019. Croydon has the largest population of young people in London, with 25% of the borough’s residents under 18 years old, and two thirds of these identifying as people of colour. Alongside the concerts, LMP has planned an extensive programme of education work, enabling the stars of today to inspire the next generation of musicians in the borough.
The Spotlight On… musicians will hold Q&As with local primary school children and older players, lead masterclasses and workshops (with wind and string players from Croydon Music & Arts and aspiring young pianists from schools in Croydon). Fairfield Halls is the cultural heart of the borough and LMP will be using it to showcase Croydon’s young talent as part of the series, including pre-concert performances in the foyer of Fairfield Halls from local cello and saxophone ensembles.
Through its 100K Challenge, London Mozart Players is committed to reaching at least 100,000 children and young people in 2021. Each concerto performance will be filmed and will be made available free to schools across the country with specially designed ‘listening guides’, targeted at different age groups from 4-18.
On Friday 4 June, the first concert at Fairfield Halls since March 2020, superstar cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason joins LMP for Dvořák’s stirring and poignant Cello Concerto, performed in its full version under the baton of Jaime Martín alongside Mendelssohn’s Hebrides overture. Kanneh-Mason and London Mozart Players share an association that began in 2017, including their sell-out concert in January 2020; the cellist will also appear in their 2021-22 season. The filmed concert will be available online from 19 June 2021.
Former BBC Young Musician finalist and BBC broadcaster Jess Gillam joins London Mozart Players at Fairfield Halls on Thursday 24 June 2021 in two spectacular works for saxophone: Michael Nyman’s electrifying concerto, Where the Bee Dances, named for the lively dances performed by foraging bees to communicate the locations of food sources, and Glazunov’s 1934 Saxophone Concerto, the composer’s last work. The programme is completed with Mozart’s ‘Haffner’ Symphony No. 35, all under the baton of Jonathan Bloxham. The filmed concert will be available online from 18 September 2021.
Appearing at Cadogan Hall on Saturday 26 June 2021, charismatic young pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason joins London Mozart Players to perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1, a showcase of captivating melodies and glittering passagework that highlights the prodigious talent of the BBC Young Musician finalist and four-time winner of the Royal Academy Iris Dyer Piano Prize. Kanneh-Mason is joined on stage by conductor Stephanie Childress, also in her LMP debut, who conducts London Mozart Players in Beethoven’s majestic Symphony No. 2. The filmed concert will be available online from 3 July 2021.
The Spotlight On… series concludes on 9 October 2021, as 14-year-old violinist Leia Zhu brings her prodigious talents to Fairfield Halls in Tchaikovsky’s lyrical and expressive Violin Concerto. Conducted by Gerard Korsten, London Mozart Players also present Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and the overture to Mozart’s Magic Flute. The filmed concert will be available online from 16 October 2021.
An exceptional young musician from Newcastle, Leia Zhu made her UK concerto debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in February 2020; she has already performed at major concert halls across Europe, and has attracted thousands of subscribers on her YouTube channel ‘The Violin Girl’. This June, Zhu performs the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with London Mozart Players at Grayshott Concerts (25 June 2021).
LMP Executive Director Julia Desbruslais commented: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be returning to the concert platform with a live audience whom we have missed so much, to perform alongside these supremely talented ambassadors for classical music. We hope that the Spotlight On… series will not only bring audiences flooding back to the concert hall, but through our extensive education programme, young people will be inspired and motivated to want to experience the joy and enrichment that engagement with classical music can bring.”