Live from Southwold: Southwold Sonatas
SUNDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2020 - 8:00PM
Violinist Marije Johnston is joined by pianist Nathan Williamson for a concert from St Edmund's Church in Southwold. The evening includes three sonatas by Mozart, Prokofiev and Brahms.
1 hour before your concert, you will receive an email through the address provided at time of purchase with a private link and code to connect you to your concert experience.
SUNDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2020 - 8:00PM
Allegro con spirito | Allegro
Five Melodies Op. 35 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Andante | Lento, ma non troppo | Animato, ma non allegro | Allegretto leggero e scherzando | Andante non troppo
Sonata for violin and piano No. 3, Op. 108 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Allegro | Adagio | un poco presto e con sentimento | Presto agitato
MARIJE JOHNSTON, VIOLIN
Marije Johnston grew up in the Netherlands where she studied at the conservatoires of Utrecht and Amsterdam before coming to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester aged 19. She graduated with distinctions in her Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Professional Performance Diploma and was awarded the Gold Medal, the RNCM’s highest accolade. She also regularly appeared as a soloist with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra and National Youth String Orchestra of the Netherlands (which she led for many years).
Marije was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra for many years with whom she toured the world and had unforgettable experiences like playing Beethoven’s ninth symphony at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus Roman Theatre in Athens for an audience of 5000 people.
It was under the guidance of the late Dr. Christopher Rowland, director of chamber music at the RNCM, that she founded the Navarra Quartet and fell in love with chamber music. The Navarra Quartet went on to win numerous top prizes in major international quartet competitions such as the Florence, Melbourne and Banff competitions and won awards such as a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship, MIDEM Outstanding Artist of the Year award and the Kersjes Prize of 50.000 euros in the Netherlands.
In July 2020 their newly released CD ‘Love and Death’ received critical acclaim and was praised for its imaginative programming and emotional depth. They have toured extensively throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East, playing in wonderful venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Concertgebouw and Louvre.
The Quartet are the proud artistic directors of the Weesp Chamber Music Festival in Holland.
Marije is passionate about teaching children and taught at Chetham’s School of Music for many years. With the Navarra Quartet she was quartet in residence at the Royal Northern College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire and Repton School. She also gave educational workshops at concert halls such as the Wigmore Hall and at many state and private schools around the country and abroad.
Marije is in much demand as a chamber musician and is frequently invited to perform with ensembles such as the Aronowitz, Schubert and London Bridge Ensembles and Fibonacci Sequence.
Marije plays a F. Cuypers kindly loaned to her by the Nationaal Muziekinstrumenten Fonds in the Netherlands.
NATHAN WILLIAMSON, PIANO
Nathan Williamson (b.1978) leads a highly individual career as pianist, composer and artistic director. Alongside regular solo, chamber and concerto performances, Nathan is in demand for new work from a wide variety of artists both at home and abroad. He also stages and facilitates projects at local and national level, ranging from collaborations on new repertoire, performances for the concert hall and theatre, and music-making activities for musicians of all ages and abilities.
Nathan’s career has led to performances at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, De Doelen, Barbican Centre, Purcell Room, LSO St Luke’s, and the Aldeburgh, Lucerne, Bolzano and Spoleto festivals, and collaborations with artists including Claire Bloom, James Gilchrist, Guy Johnston, Arisa Fujita, Linda Merrick, The Gryphon Trio, Njabulo Madlala, Boris Kucharsky, Alexander Baillie, Ensemble Endymion, the Allegri and Sacconi Quartets, as well as working alongside numerous living composers in performances of their work. Since 2016 Nathan has been a member of the renowned new music ensemble Piano Circus who, alongside their position as artists-in-residence at Brunel University London, have commissioned over 100 new works from leading composers and undertake regular international tours.
In 2020 Nathan will perform a cycle of the five Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Prometheus Orchestra conducted by Edmond Fivet in Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings. The first four performed in February were met with high regards for which Donald Sturrock wrote: Power, vulnerability and a sense of spontaneous invention are essential for great Beethoven performances and Nathan had all of these, combined in something that was beautiful, elegant, heartfelt and thrilling… It was a total joy to hear Nathan’s subtle, touching and yet thoroughly grand performance. Nathan will conclude with Beethoven’s fifth ‘Emperor’ Concerto in October 2020.
2021-22 will see the release of three discs on SOMM of British song from 1914 to the present day with tenor James Gilchrist, including premiere recordings of his own music and that of John Woolrich, Geoffrey Poole, Doreen Carwithen and Gustav Holst.
Previous albums include Nathan’s debut recording, Brahms and Schubert: Late Piano Works, was reviewed by Donald Sturrock as ‘a truly electrifying debut from a musician with a rare marriage of thoughtfulness and passion… I doubt this Sonata [Schubert D.959] has ever had a more powerful advocate.’ His first CD for SOMM, Great American Sonatas (2017), was hailed by Musical Opinion as ‘a landmark in recordings of American Piano Music’ and his second disc, Colour and Light, of British 20th century piano works, was chosen as Album of the Month in International Piano Quarterly: ‘No praise could be high enough of Williamson’s performances… Whether in the dream-world of the Delius Nocturne or in the fire and ice of the Herschel Hill Toccata, Williamson unearths musical treasure beyond price’ (Bryce Morrison). Both solo recordings, along with a disc of British 20thcentury works with violinist Fenella Humphreys for Lyrita (2017), also received 5 star reviews in Classical Music, BBC Music Magazine and Musical Opinion.
Nathan’s own work Trans-Atlantic Flight of Fancyis featured on NOW Ensemble’s album Dreamfall (New Amsterdam Records) and Homecoming, a commission for violinist Piotr Szewczyk as part of his Violin Futura project, was recorded on Navona Records following dozens of performances by Szewczyk and other violinists worldwide.
Other recent compositions include The little that was once a man, a song cycle to texts by Bryan Heiser, premiered by James Gilchrist and the composer, and a major new Sonata for cello and piano was commissioned and premiered by Charles Watt and the composer at the 2018 William Alwyn Festival. A short children’s opera, Machine Dream, commissioned by Mahogany Opera, has been performed in numerous primary schools across the UK in the last 12 months as part of the ground-breaking ‘Snappy Operas’ project. Other recent commissions include works for the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Bury St Edmund’s Cathedral, piano-duo Mariko Brown and Julian Jacobson, and Ensemble Endymion. A cycle of String Quartets has led to premieres in the UK and US by the Tin Alley and Barbirolli Quartets. Nathan has also been commissioned several works for younger and amateur performers by Pro Corda and Music Works chamber music courses, Rugby School, Waveney and Blyth Arts, and the Chamber Music 2000 project.
Nathan studied with Malcolm Singer and Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of only a handful of students to ever graduate with a first in two disciplines. He won a scholarship to Yale University, where his principal teachers were Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Michael Friedmann and Joan Panetti, to whom he was appointed deputy on her revolutionary ‘Hearing’ programme of ear-training and aural analysis. Further postgraduate studies followed with Robert Saxton at Oxford University, before a period of teaching at the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Nathan lives in the town of Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, where he founded and directs the Southwold Concert Series and the Southwold Music Trust, seeking to make music a central part of the local community. He was also director of the Alwyn Music Festival for 2018 and 2019, an annual week-long festival of events all along the Suffolk coast in October. He is married to Daisy, a music therapist, and together with their two young children they love nothing more than heading straight out onto the beaches and beautiful countryside which surround their home.