Orchestra of the Swan becomes Associate Ensemble at Birmingham Town Hall

We took up residency in our new second home at the beginning of this season. Opening with a stunning concert featuring David Le Page playing the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla. Everybody was so excited to be playing in the new hall which is simply one of the best settings for chamber orchestra performances in the country. The atmosphere was one of anticipation with an audience consisting of some who remembered the Town Hall from an era of ballroom dancing and good old fashioned entertainment. That’s exactly what they got from Orchestra of the Swan and soloist Morgan Szymanski in Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto!

Click here to read the Birmingham Post review of our opening concert

Birmingham Town Hall was, and will be again, an internationally recognised venue for music. Home to the CBSO between 1926 and 1991, the Hall has showcased many premieres and reverberated to every type of music from Elgar to the Rolling Stones, Mendelssohn to the Beatles and Count Basie to Duran Duran. Closed in 1996 on health and safety grounds and concerns over structural stability, Town Hall has undergone numerous alterations and changes to reflect the needs of users and performers of the time; the 21st century redevelopment is the next stage in that process.

The Hall has a state of the art acoustic canopy which consists of a series of reflectors arranged in a checker board style. These are suspended over the stage and auditorium and can move to preset positions in order to alter the acoustic character.

Click here for further information and to visit
the Birmingham Town Hall Website

Naxos announce the release of Musica Barocca’s album for July 2008

After six years in “the can”, Naxos have finally announced that they are to release Six Suittes en Trio this summer. I received an email from Juan Estevez, director and harpsichordist of Musica Barocca in November letting me know. I immediately tracked down the first edit that I’d been sent back in 2002 and it sounded as fresh and vibrant as I remembered.

I am especially proud of this recording as it was my debut on viola da gamba. It is also a lasting reminder of the great fun I had working with Juan, Maria Martinez and of course my good friend Lisete Da Silva. We were joined for this project by Mauricio Buraglia playing theorbo and guitar. Mauricio brings so much to the recording with his powerful, rhythmic playing. The disc was recorded by John Taylor who somehow managed to capture the raw, folk style approach from the instrumentalists whilst maintaining the elegant, refined quality that this music demands. The sessions took place at Forde Abbey in Dorset.

For more information please visit

Everything’s Coming Up Roses for Orchestra of the Swan

Along with the other members of Masquerade Quartet I have just finished recording a CD of fantastic arrangements of classic swing tracks and tunes from stage and screen. Under the working title of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” (no prizes for guessing the title track) the recording will be marketed by Orchestra of the Swan as “Swan…Unbuttoned”. Violist Mark Chivers has arranged all the music and the results are brilliant. Who could believe it possible to capture that brassy sound on tracks like the James Bond Theme with String Quartet?

Standards like Moonriver and Misty are at their silkiest with beautiful violin playing from Simon Chalk and Liz Hodson. Of course Mark gets his pick of the solos (smart move arranging and playing the viola!) with a spellbinding performance of My Funny Valentine.

The recording was engineered and produced by David le Page at Castle Road Studios. Dave has done a fantastic job with the sound already and that’s just the first edits! After the news in January that Arts Council England have decided to cut regular funding from their most dynamic and exciting chamber orchestra we decided that we wanted a percentage of the sales from this recording to generate revenue for Orchestra of the Swan. Everything’s Coming Up Roses will be released at our gig in the Spring Sounds Festival starting at 8.00pm at the Shakespeare Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon.

RC Sherriff Trust awards Nimbus Ensemble £2,400

Artist Corinne Manches and the Nimbus Ensemble have been awarded £2,400 by the RC Sherriff Trust. The grant is to fund an innovative art and music programme for children aged 8 – 12 called “The Moon Ants Law”. Our project will take place over ten weekly sessions at the Riverhouse Barn, Walton-on-Thames.

Participants will explore and create dynamic artworks in various media inspired or influenced by the music and make music inspired by art. This picture is an example of a piece of artwork the children might create called a “Jig-a-large”. At the end of the project, participants will record what they have created and have a CD to keep along with their art.

Download a poster advertising “The Moon Ants Law”

Click here for further details, dates and booking information

Cellist at Large