“On 3rd March 2019 I will be conducting the best student players from Cambridge University in a performance of Mahler’s 9th Symphony at West Road Concert Hall. They will be joined by select graduate students from London Conservatoires, exceptionally talented young musicians from the Cambridge area (NYO principals and BBC Young Musician finalists) and guest players from professional orchestras. The concert will raise money for the Voices Foundation.
 
As well as culminating in a very special performance, this project will be a unique opportunity for aspiring young musicians to learn from and perform alongside top professional players. From my own experience, working with experienced players can be incredibly valuable in a young musician’s development and by drawing upon leading players from Europe’s foremost orchestras (the Royal Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic amongst others), this performance of Mahler’s music can act as a symbol of cooperation and future investment.”

Joy Lisney – conductor, composer, cellist


The third Petits Concerts recital at the 1901 Arts Club on 21 January 2019 is in support of the SCO Mahler Education Project and features performances by Joy Lisney (cello), Emma Lisney (violin) and James Lisney (piano) in music by Bach, Ravel and Smetana, and the world premiere of Winter Vignettes by Alex Stobbs, performed by Joy Lisney and the composer.

Use code PIANO when booking to purchase half-price tickets

Further information and tickets

 


cropped-sco-logo-squareJoy Lisney is founder/conductor of the Seraphin Chamber Orchestra. Comprising talented young musicians studying in Cambridge and guest soloists, the orchestra performs music from the rich repertoire for strings including lesser-known and rarely-performed works as well as encouraging living composers to write for the ensemble. SCO’s next concert is on 3 March 2019 at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge

Seraphin Chamber Orchestra

‘Petits Concerts’ is a series of recitals at the 1901 Arts Club, a salon style venue just a stone’s throw from Waterloo Station. Inspired by concerts given by Charles-Valentin Alkan at the Erard showroom in Paris in the 1870s, and hosted by concert pianist James Lisney, Petits Concerts brings musicians together in the spirit of “music with friends and amongst friends” in an intimate setting which harks back to the 19th-century European cultural salon. Proceeds from each concert will be donated to musical/education charities.

Use code PIANO when booking and enjoy a 50% discount on full-price tickets

Petits Concerts III – Joy, Emma & James Lisney

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In addition, James Lisney will be giving piano lessons at the 1901 Arts Club from 2pm on the afternoon of each concert. Lessons cost £100 for 90 mins with proceeds going to charity. For further information or to book a lesson, contact James Lisney

brittencurated

A number of artists who have participated in my Meet the Artist series are involved in concerts and events to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. In a series of occasional posts, I will be highlighting these concerts while allowing readers the opportunity to revisit some of the Meet the Artist interviews.

Britten at 100 – Kings Place, London: Thursday 7th – Saturday 9th February 2013

British pianist John Reid is presenting his first concert series in London at King’s Place as part of the celebrations for the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.

Fellow-pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen and John have gathered together a wonderful group of performers to celebrate the life and work of Benjamin Britten, through his music, works by his contemporaries (composers, librettists and visual artists), the repertoire which he championed as founder and director of the Aldeburgh Festival, as well as through commissions by Simon Holt, Jonathan Dove and Martin Suckling.

Other performers include Nicky Spence, Nicholas Mulroy, Joby Burgess, Claire Booth, Andrew Radley, Oliver Coates, Richard Watkins and Christine Croshaw.

Saver ticket: Only £9.50! Your seats will be the best available left 1 hour before the performance. Book early as seats are allocated based on first come, first served.

Further information and tickets here

John Reid’s Meet the Artist interview

Joy Lisney (photo credit: Nick Rutter)

Who or what inspired you to take up the cello, and make it your career?

As a young child there was a lot of music around the house and I listened to Jacqueline du Pré play Bach’s Cello Suites every night before bed. I am not sure what an attentive listener I was – I believe the aim was for me to drop off to sleep! – but I refused to accept any other interpretation of that music! As for my decision to make cello my career, I became accustomed to the life of a touring artist on a series of cruises aged five (!), during which I seemed to take in my stride the challenges of performing among top professionals, signing autographs and even being interviewed by Richard Baker before rushing back to the swimming pool!

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing?

I grew up attending my father’s concerts with Alexander Baillie and listening through the door to their rehearsals at home. I even discussed the finer points of ‘Lord of the Rings’ Warhammer modelling with Emma Kirkby, whose individual approach to singing has always seemed the most natural to me. Lately, I have been influenced more by ideas and principles of making music than by specific performers: I am not aiming to emulate any cellist in particular but to reach my own personal sound in ways I am discovering myself. Of course there are cellists whom I greatly admire and I have seen many things that interest me in the performances of Rostropovich, Miklos Perenyi and Natalia Gutman.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

I have not taken regular lessons for quite some time but just after I took the step of becoming independent of a teacher I had to learn and perform Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Rococo Variations’ in quick succession. It was a steep learning curve but the experience was very formative and I considered both performances to be great successes!

Which performance/s are you most proud of?

I try to make every performance better than the last, but rather than pride, I experience enjoyment when I play.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?

When I was sixteen I performed in Cheltenham’s Pittville Pump Room for the first time, and fell in love with the beautiful domed ceiling and generous acoustic – you can play anything in there and it sounds good! I completely lost myself, staring into the chandelier as I played a Bach gamba sonata, and this performance marked a big jump forward in my development as a musician. The first time I played in the Kleine Zaal of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, it totally blew me away.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

That is a very difficult question to answer – I am constantly astonished by the different sensations and emotions I gain from listening to a wide range of music, from Wagnerian opera to sixteenth-century vocal music, right up to the myriad styles of music in the twentieth century.

Who are your favourite musicians?

I admire those musicians who try to reach the heart of the music and do not aim to impose their own stamp on it just for the sake of it. Carlos Kleiber and Martha Argerich have been particular inspirations. The cellist whom I look up to above any other is Mstislav Rostropovich. I regret that I was never able to hear him live but even on a recording his vivid communication is unsurpassed. He was also an excellent pianist and conductor, and I intend to conduct and compose as part of my musical life.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

When I was eleven years old I was lucky enough to perform the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor with Alexander Baillie. I remember being more nervous than I have ever felt (before or since) and Alexander tried to abate my nerves by assuring me that however badly I played everyone would love it anyway because I was cuter than he was! Needless to say, it was not a comforting thought, but as soon as I went on stage, as always, all my insecurities drifted away.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

I don’t think I am quite at the point of imparting wisdom, but if pushed I would say that what I have learnt so far is to approach every work with humility and love; approach every work like a composer and put one hundred per cent of yourself into it and value that input. I have also learnt that your understanding of something you take the time to discover by yourself is so much deeper than something given to you fully-formed by a teacher.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

I would like to have the privilege of performing around the world, in recital and perhaps with professional orchestras as well. I also love to perform in the wonderful smaller venues and local music societies dotted around, which are often fascinatingly quirky and frequented by the best audiences!

 

Interview date: June 2012

 

www.joylisney.com

Jan Vriend

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and make it your career?

It grew as I made my way into the musical world. From early childhood composers inspired me – and still do. The ‘urge’ to create is not unlike feeling hungry or any other ‘needs’, part genetic (nature), part imparted (nurture). The rest is discipline and hard work as you keep learning (which is also an urge) and developing (which keeps the urge alive) – voilà, a virtuous circle. Out of all the things I have done in music, practical and theoretical, composing slowly began to take over.

Who or what are the most important influences on your composing?

‘Inspiration’ or ‘influence’ comes from many sources, from nature to books, from people to science and technology, from a musician’s special skills to the nature of a commission, from a problem to the search for a solution. In different stages of my career, different influences dominated. For example, when I was infatuated with Xenakis, his music and writings, his persona and reputation left noticeable traces in my music.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

To stay alive and make a living out of a profession which has become ever harder to pursue in a musical world that tends to cling on to the familiar rather than to taking risks – especially in times of hardship, such as now.

Apart from that, the greatest challenge was to discover my strengths and weaknesses, to acknowledge that I cannot be Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky or Varėse, and find Jan Vriend.

Which compositions/recordings are you most proud of?

Huantan (1968), Heterostase (1981), Jets d’Orgue (1985-91), Hallelujah II (1988), Hymn to Ra (2002), Anatomy of Passion (2004), Echo 13.7 (2006), Meden Agan (2006)…

Who are your favourite musicians?

Young people, who are still full of curiosity and passionate in their commitment to the cause of the music they play, as opposed to the pursuit of fame and fortune or as a chore to making a living.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

A concert in Amsterdam in the 1960s, when Yuji Takahashi performed Eonta by Xenakis with a brass ensemble from Paris conducted by Konstantin Simonovich. Details of that experience are in a book I am about to finish.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians/composers?

The question encompasses too many issues (ideas and concepts) for an easy answer. But here is a thought: whatever sounds you choose to work on in whatever combinations, the point of their interactions is to make musical sense. To find out what that means is a lifelong preoccupation, something we put to the test again and again in each new composition (project) we undertake.

What are you working on at the moment?

A work for string orchestra – a challenge, an ambition I have been harbouring for many years but never had the chance to concentrate on. The difficulty is that I haven’t yet been able to find an ensemble to take it on, which makes it a somewhat fortuitous (gratuitous?) enterprise and has given me my first ‘writer’s block’ in many years.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

On holiday in a sunny resort by the sea.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in love and in the closest possible proximity of the beloved.

What is your most treasured possession?

My piano – since I cannot claim my two daughters among my ‘possessions’.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Work… when it goes well.

What is your present state of mind?

It’s in survival mode. But, overall, I look on the bright side.

More details are on my website and the real ‘story’ is, of course, in my music.

Jan Vriend’s ‘Degrees of Freedom’, written specially for Ensemble Matisse, receives its premiere on 3 November 2014 in music and media event ‘Interference Patterns’ at London’s Kings Place . The work aims to explore the provocative idea that freedom cannot exist without boundaries. Further information and tickets here

Jan Vriend on SoundCloud:

Interview first published May 2012