After launching an appeal to raise £100,000 for our birthday year, we’ve already hit the £75k mark. We’d like to say a massive thank you to all those who have donated so far – your generosity has made this season of exciting concerts and projects possible.
Our 2018/19 Birthday season started with a dramatic opening, as LMP members arrived on the number 70 Routemaster bus for a concert performance on the concourse at St Pancras Intl featuring Howard Shelley. Our lunchtime concert series Piano Explored at St John’s Smith Square is now well underway with one more performance before Christmas – the next Piano Explored concert (Wednesday 12th Dec) will feature a performance of Mozart’s ravishing Sinfonia Concertante by Leader Simon Blendis and Principal Viola Judith Busbridge. We’ve also performed at our resident venue St John the Evangelist with Radu Kis (teenage finalist of Hungary’s prestigious Virtuosos 2017 classical music competition) for our season launch, and film score aficionado & conductor Ben Palmer for Sounds of the Silver Screen. In December the orchestra will be performing twice at St John the Evangelist: Four Cellos – a free coffee concert on Saturday 1st December (made possible by the generous support of the LMP Friend’s network), and Deck the Halls – our Christmas extravaganza on Friday 14th December, a concert in aid of the charity Crisis.
For the full list of upcoming concerts, please visit our What’s On page. Alternatively, donate to our appeal and help us reach £100k by Christmas – Donations of any size are greatly appreciated!
As well as playing the cello with the London Mozart Players Ben Rogerson is a member of the BBC Concert Orchestra. He spent most of the nought-ies with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and also enjoys playing regularly with the John Wilson Orchestra. With the ICO he toured all over the world giving concerts with artists including Maxim Vengerov, Steven Isserlis, Anthony Marwood and Nigel Kennedy in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York, the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, and the Community Centre on Inis Boffin off the West Coast of Ireland.
His life with the BBCCO involves a more eclectic range of music making, from classical and pop concerts, to recording music for TV, film, radio and CD. Jeff Lynne and the ELO, Earth Wind and Fire, Kylie Minogue, Sinead O’Connor and Dame Edna Everidge are amongst the artists they have worked with recently, and the orchestra is resident for Radio 2’s flagship show “Friday Night is Music Night”.
Ben has been fortunate to play as Guest Principal Cello for the City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera and Opera North, the Mozart Festival Orchestra and the Johann Strauss Gala Orchestra.
With violinist Gabrielle Painter and Leslie Hollingworth he formed the Szabo Piano Trio. Together they gave recitals throughout the UK and Ireland, recorded for Champs Hill Records, and broadcast on Lyric FM. Nowadays he gives chamber music concerts mostly with the Minerva Ensemble. He has appeared as a guest with the Carducci, Tippet, Merchant and St. Paul’s quartets for performances of the Schubert C Major Quintet.
Ben studied at the Royal Academy of Music where his cello teacher was Derek Simpson of the Aoelian Quartet, and at SUNY Purchase, USA,with Julia Lichten of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
For several years he coached the cello section of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, and served on the faculty of Con Corda, a chamber music course founded in Ireland by the late Hugh Maguire. Now Ben teaches the cello at Tonbridge School, Kent, and at Frensham Heights in Surrey.
He is married to the pianist Alexis White and is very proud of his two children Harry and Scarlett.
I suppose it was as head chorister in a third-rate church choir, receiving the Fane Trophy, engraved ‘For General Progress’, that I perhaps realised my prospects of being a celebrated musician were to be down-graded. Being ‘the excellent leader’ (Oxford Mail) of the County Youth Orchestra counted for nothing as a student at the Royal Academy of Music. But by being generally inoffensive and largely invisible I have enjoyed a rich and varied career freelancing with orchestras including the RPO, LPO, BBCSO and Royal Opera Covent Garden. Opera has played a major role, being a member of ETO and GTO. I have probably played The Marriage of Figaro over 200 times, a record possibly unmatched?
On screen I’ve appeared in scenes with Keira Knightley, Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Michael Caine. Other highlights include concerts with George Harrison, standing at a urinal next to Andre Previn, and a few more. Downsides have been multiple Saturdays ruined by disappointing Everton results and late night motorway closures. Early in my student days I narrowly avoided death from a falling slab of frozen meat in Marylebone High St.
Embarrassing moments have been mercifully few, but the discovery that it was my mobile phone ringing in the hushed final moments of Boheme, and my subsequent inabilty to silence the wretched thing stands out. The fact that it was in full view of a packed hall was irksome to say the least. And the caller? LMP’s Orchestral Manager, Mr D Wilson. It obviously hasn’t spoiled our relationship as, for the time being, I still hang on to my membership of this esteemed group. Outside interests? Birding, gardening and the Guardian cryptic crossword.
ANDREW ROBERTS studied in London with Carl Pini and in New York with Joyce Robbins. Whilst a student, he was principal 2nd violin of the Britten-Pears Orchestra and the European Community Youth Orchestra.
In 1981 he was a founder member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, travelling all over the world and working with conductors such as Claudio Abbado and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Subsequently, he joined the Auriol String Quartet which studied with Milan Skampa (of the Smetana Quartet), Andras Mihaly (a pupil of Kodaly) and members of the Amadeus Quartet. The Quartet was resident at Aldeburgh in 1989 and gave recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Snape Maltings Concert Hall and throughout the UK and Europe.
Andrew played for fifteen years in the Bernard Roberts Piano Trio, with his father Bernard and brother Nicholas, releasing CD recordings of music by Stephen Dodgson (Claudio Records CC5257-2) and Frank Bridge (Black Box BBM1028) to critical acclaim, the ‘Gramophone’ magazine praising “utterly sympathetic, beautifully prepared performances from this fine family group”. The Trio’s performance of the ‘Piano Trio no.2’ by Frank Bridge was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Composer of the Week’ programme.
Other CD recordings include the ‘Piano Quintet’ by Georges Enescu (the Solomon Ensemble/Naxos 8.557159), music by Silvina Milstein (Lontano, to be released on Lontano records) and the ‘String Quartets no.1 and 2’ by Buxton Orr (with the Beethoven String Trio of London on Toccata Classics/ TOCC0103)
Andrew is a member of the London Mozart Players and his varied musical life also includes performance on period instruments as a member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Recent work includes live BBC Radio 3 broadcasts of chamber music from St Georges, Bristol and for the opening of King’s Place, London; concerts at the Finchcocks Keyboard Collection, Kent and the inaugural concert of the Elgar Concert Hall at the University of Birmingham.
In 2013, he formed a Duo partnership with the pianist Rachel Fryer, to explore the rich repertoire for violin and piano.
We are thrilled to announce that London Mozart Players (LMP) is the recipient of a Catalyst small grant from the Arts Council of England (ACE); these grants are designed to help create a more sustainable and resilient art and culture sector. This is the second grant LMP has had from ACE in the last 18 months and shows our strengthening relationship with this important funding body. This most recent grant will enable LMP to become more financially secure and widen the orchestra’s income streams.
LMP will be using the grant in three ways:
- To help develop and promote our new Podium leadership and training programme for businesses.
- To help create an annual fundraising event during our 70th birthday year in 2019 featuring LMP alumni and ambassadors including Simon Callow and Jane Glover.
- To recruit new members to our Development Group – a group of committed supporters from the business community who act as ambassadors for LMP, recruiting new patrons, donors and businesses.
More information on the grants here.
After a wonderful night of music at St John’s Smith Square, with Nicola Benedetti and Leonard Elschenbroich on top form in a thrilling and visceral programme of Beethoven and Brahms, it was gratifying to read Ivan Hewett’s review in the Telegraph which opened with a couple of paragraphs on how the LMP had managed to successfully reinvent itself, while remaining true to its roots as custodians of excellence in classical music.
You can read the review here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/best-top-classical-concerts-january-2018-review/
We are delighted to confirm the appointment of business psychologist and consultant Neville Osrin as the new Chairman of London Mozart Players Orchestra Ltd (LMP) with effect from 1st January 2018. He takes over from Paul Archibald who is stepping down after three years in the role, whilst remaining on the board.
Paul, who has has done a brilliant job over the last three years, commented: ‘I feel that now is an excellent time to bring in some new ideas that will take the orchestra forward over the coming years. I have been proud to be part of the team that has overseen the transition of the London Mozart Players to a player-governed orchestra. The orchestra has a history of 70 years of high quality music-making and I believe Neville is the right person to guide the next stage of LMP’s exciting journey. The orchestra is a dynamic organisation and I look forward to continuing to play my part as a Director of the Board of LMP and Principal Trumpet.’
The appointment comes as we look forward to celebrating our 70th birthday in 2019, and cements a relationship with Mr Osrin who, as a member of the LMP Development Group, has been instrumental in guiding the LMP’s recent initiative in the development of ‘Podium’ – an interactive leadership programme designed to help businesses achieve greater levels of performance through the example of an orchestra’s teamwork and leadership model. Launched in December 2017, Podium fuses the thrill of live music-making with dynamic and insightful analysis of leadership issues.
Neville Osrin commented: ‘Being invited to serve as Chairman the Board of one of the world’s finest chamber orchestras is both an honour and an immense privilege. In a national and international musical landscape populated by many fine orchestras, the London Mozart Players occupy a near-unique position. It’s performances and many recordings demonstrate the extraordinary and consistent quality of its virtuosity and interpretative strengths. It is directed largely by its leader rather than a conductor, and the players themselves fill key managerial and Board roles. Their outreach programmes, community involvement, commissioning of new works and numerous innovative initiatives reveal an ensemble whose accomplishments are truly beyond the ordinary.
I look forward with great pleasure to working with the Board in meeting the many challenges facing those in the arts; enabling the LMP to thrive, while continuing to amaze and delight audiences with their peerless performances.’
Martin Grainger, sub-principal horn for the LMP since 2014, has also been appointed to the Board of Directors for London Mozart Players Orchestra Ltd.
Martin was born in Stourbridge in the West Midlands. He read Music at the University of York where he studied the horn with Bob Ashworth, and later at the Royal College of Music in London with Julian Baker Whilst there he was awarded the Sir Arthur Somervell and Manns Prize for brass playing.
He spent the following years building a varied freelance playing career working with a wide variety of ensembles such as the BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Royal Northern Sinfonia, English National Ballet, and Royal Ballet Sinfonia. He first worked with the London Mozart Players in 2006 and continued to play with them regularly before being appointed sub-principal horn in 2014. He also guests with other chamber orchestras such as Britten Sinfonia and City of London Sinfonia, and regularly plays principal horn with Brandenburg Sinfonia.
Martin has also performed extensively as a chamber musician – apart from LMP chamber ensembles, he plays regularly with Locke Brass Consort, Brandenburg Brass, Camerata of London Wind Quintet and Brass Monkeys Brass Quintet. As soloist in recent years Martin has performed Strauss 2, Mozart K417, and most recently Mozart K495 with Brandenburg Sinfonia.
Martin is a firm believer in the importance of music in education and is a keen and committed teacher, holding teaching positions at Trinity School Croydon, Winchester College, Croydon Music & Arts, and Sydenham School amongst others. He also coaches the horn and brass sections for the Croydon Youth Orchestra and Croydon Youth Winds.
When not playing or teaching, Martin enjoys spending time with his family, and tinkering with cars and mostly breaking bits of them.
Sijie (Susie) Chen
Sijie Chen was born in China and moved to the UK when she was 5 years old. She started studying at Chetham’s School of Music when she was still only able to play in first position, and later she led the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra performing Mahler 6 with Mark Elder. While she was an ABRSM scholar at the Royal College of Music she reached the string finals of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, studied for a year as an exchange student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, and also fell in love with period performance. Now she enjoys a varied career performing on modern and period violins.
Sijie is most at home performing chamber music with small ensembles and in chamber orchestras. She has collaborated with Nicola Benedetti, Huw Watkins, Ben Gilmore, Alasdair Beatson, Christoph Richter, the Hebrides Ensemble, and other wonderful musicians and friends. Sijie is a founding member of the Raeburn Quartet, who play Classical quartets on gut strings. She regularly takes part in the Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music sessions, and has also performed chamber music in the Edinburgh International Festival as well as festivals in the USA, Canada and Israel.
Sijie is the co-leader of the London Mozart Players and she has appeared as leader and co-leader with the Academy of Ancient Music (of which she is a member), Scottish Chamber Orchestra (of which she was a member 2010-15), Dunedin Consort, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Welsh National Opera, and she tours with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
Martin Smith was an Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and a scholarship winner at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied violin with Lionel Bentley and Manoug Parikian. He subsequently studied further with Nicholas Roth and the renowned Russian virtuoso Grigori Zhislin. For some years he was a member of the Duke String Quartet, with whom he appeared throughout Britain and Europe, and he has also appeared with the Allegri and Bridge Quartets. He currently performs with the Ellerdale Piano Trio, which he founded in 1992, and with the Primavera Ensemble.
Martin first played with the LMP in 1988, and joined the orchestra a year later. From the outset he has been involved with the orchestra’s educational and outreach work, and particularly relishes coaching young string players. As a result he has been a key player (no pun intended) in the LMP’s many Side-By-Side projects. Away from the LMP Martin has worked with most of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras, such as the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields and the English Chamber Orchestra. He also leads New London Sinfonia and Orchestra Nova, and has appeared as guest leader of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, Brunel Ensemble and London Concertante. He has made solo appearances around the UK and also in France, Germany, Holland and the United States, many as leader of the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, which he led and directed for over ten years.
Martin is also active as a conductor. He has appeared with the London Mozart Players, and has led orchestral workshops for them and for ESTA. He has been conductor and artistic director of Enfield Chamber Orchestra since 2008, and of the Richmond Orchestra since 2016, and has also worked with various other orchestras in the south of England.
Martin’s hobbies include Roman roads, the outdoors in general, and the avoidance of housework. He lives in St. Albans with his solicitor wife Margaret, and hopes one day to understand his daughters.
Peter Francomb began playing the horn at the age of ten. His early studies were in Eastbourne with Jane Allen, and in London with Ifor James and Ron Harris. Early performing experience was gained with the Brighton Youth Orchestra. In 1974, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Douglas Moore. In 1976 at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras, he won the Van Cliburn Foundation Scholarship, which funded a further year’s tuition with David Cripps and Tony Halstead at the Guildhall School of Music. On leaving college, he worked as guest principal horn with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In the field of chamber music, he has worked with the Nash and Prometheus Ensembles and since 1985 has been a member of the Albion Ensemble.
In 1988 he was invited to become the principal horn of Royal Northern Sinfonia and in 2018 he will celebrate 30 years as principal horn. During his time in Newcastle/Gateshead, he has played a large part of the horn solo repertoire. In 1992 he was invited to perform Giovanni Punto’s 5th horn concerto at the International Horn Convention in Manchester, and he subsequently recorded this and three other concertos for Pan Classics with Royal Northern Sinfonia. In 2016, Peter was invited to become principal horn of the London Mozart Players and he now combines these duties with Royal Northern Sinfonia. In Spring 2016, Peter performed Mozart’s 2nd horn concerto with LMP at St. John’s Smith Square. This April, Peter performed Strauss 1st horn concerto with Thomas Zehetmair conducting, at Sage Gateshead, repeated at Keswick in October. Peter continues to be invited as guest principal with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, The Philharmonia, The RSNO, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Opera North.
LMP at St John’s
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