C o n c e r t s

Saturday 29 June, 2019 7.30pm

Nielsen Clarinet Concerto with Hereford String Orchestra
Sibelius Symphone No 3
Leominster Priory


S o l o

'Harmonic Monologues' for solo clarinet


Gavin Bryars - Three Elegies for solo clarinet with multi-track clarinets
Paul Harvey - Three Etudes on themes of Gershwin for solo clarinet
Graham Fitkin - Switching for solo clarinet with multi-track clarinets
Igor Stravinsky - Three Pieces for solo clarinet with original animation
Joan Tower - Wings for solo clarinet
Artie Shaw - Jazz Etudes (selection) for solo clarinet
Steve Reich - New York Counterpoint for solo clarinet with multi-track clarinets​

The programme for 'Harmonic Monologues' was developed with the idea of taking the clarinet out on the road, a one-man clarinet show as it were. There is a wonderful and varied repertoire of works for solo clarinet and with the advantage of modern technology there is an even greater range of possibilities.


The idea began with New York Counterpoint, Steve Reich's iconic, innovative and highly original work for ten pre-recorded clarinet and bass clarinet lines with a solo clarinet part to be performed live. The challenge was to find enough other works for solo clarinet that would both compliment New York Counterpoint and add their own worthy contribution to the overall programme. After a great deal of thought and many revisions the current line-up of pieces achieves that goal. The other main large scale work is Three Elegies by the British composer Gavin Bryars. Like New York Counterpoint it has a number of pre-recorded clarinet lines, eight in total, but the score calls for basset horns (or alto clarinets), bass clarinets and a contra bass clarinet in addition to the B flat clarinets. This backdrop provides an almost orchestral, sometimes organ-like, rich texture over which the live solo clarinet spins a beautiful melodic line. The opening has a haunting, introverted character which slowly unfurls into sublimely uplifting, highly melodic music which returns in the final section to a more sombre, yet astonishingly beautiful epilogue. Bryars uses the whole range of clarinet timbres to brilliant effect.

Paul Harvey combines some of Gershwin's best known melodies with complete mastery in his Three Etudes on Themes of Gershwin. Written very much in his own style, he takes us on a whistle-stop tour through the clarinet's character. These original works are at times jazzy, humorous, haunting, lyrical and acrobatic.​


Graham Fitkin wrote Switching for Nick in 2016. It is based on the model of New York Counterpoint, with solo clarinet and pre-recorded clarinets and bass clarinets, and is the perfect companion piece to the Reich. The solo clarinet begins, gradually introducing the many different rhythmic and melodic ideas of the piece, each one with a distinct character clearly marked in the score. The pre-recorded lines enter in turn, taking on the ideas introduced by the solo clarinet. The whole thing builds and builds until the final, dramatic climax.


Igor Stravinsky was the first great composer to write for solo clarinet. His Three Pieces are seminal works for the clarinet and simply had to have a place in this programme.


Written by the highly celebrated female American composer Joan Tower, Wings is a musical depiction of a large bird flying high, gliding along thermal currents moving at times slowly and at others looping and diving at great speeds. This is followed by Artie Shaw's Jazz Etudes, again for unaccompanied clarinet.


The programme ends with New York Counterpoint, bringing the programme to an uplifting and euphoric close.​


E n s e m b l e s

The Woodstock Ensemble with

Eloisa-Fleur Thom, violin
You-Chiung Lin & Stefan Hofkes, piano
David Barrell, narrator


The Woodstock Ensemble is best known for their relaxed, fun approach to performance and this, combined with the highest musical standards, makes each concert a memorable occasion. The pieces are introduced to the audience with informal, yet informative, fun introductions. This is largely why they are regularly invited back time and again.
The group is made up of close friends and colleagues who have worked together for over fifteen years. The unusual combination of piano duet, violin and clarinet, lends itself to the performance of some interesting works arranged for this versatile group which would otherwise require much larger forces. Saint-Saëns’ evergreen Carnival of the Animals, one of the most popular pieces ever written, can be played either on its own, or with newly written poems by Dominic Lopez-Real, narrated by the wonderful David Barrell. Solo works and pieces for piano duet can also be inserted into any programme to add variety.


Sample programme:
Stravinsky - The Soldier’s Tale for violin, clarinet and piano with narration
Ravel - Ma Mère L’Oye for piano four-hands
Saint-Saëns - Carnival of the Animals for violin, clarinet, piano four-hands and narration, with poems by Dominic Lopez-Real

The Clifton Trio with

Joseph Spooner, cello
Stefan Hofkes, piano


The Clifton Trio has been playing together for over ten years and the musician’s have forged a very special bond which is clearly seen and heard in their performances. They have performed widely throughout the UK and The Netherlands, and have also toured The USA. The core repertoire pieces of the ensemble are the great works by Brahms and Beethoven in addition to many other interesting and beautiful works. They often mix their programmes with duo and solo items.


Sample programme:

Max Bruch - Selection of works from the ‘8 Pieces’
Kenneth Leighton - Fantasy on an American Hymn Tune Op. 70
Johannes Brahms - Clarinet Trio Op. 114


Other repertoire includes:
Alwyn - Folk Songs; Trio Op.10; Pezzi pianissimi Op. 41
Beethoven - Clarinet Trio in B flat Op. 11; Trio in E flat op. 38
Ireland - Trio in D minor
Lindberg - Clarinet Trio
Rota - Clarinet Trio
Zemlinsky - Clarinet Trio

The Ebony Collective with

various string players


The Ebony Collective is an ensemble conceived to explore the rich and extremely diverse repertoire of music for clarinet and strings and although various combinations are possible, the most frequent is clarinet with string quartet. The ensemble is flexible in nature, with string players being taken from a pool of highly able, gifted musicians.
The iconic quintets by Mozart and Brahms are core to the ensemble, but there are many other interesting works from other established composers and a wealth of newly written contemporary works. From the lyrical, impressionistic expression of Howells’ Rhapsodic Quintet, the virtuosity and uninhibited exuberance of the Quintet by Weber to the darker sound world of Max Reger’s Quintet and the shimmering, glittering soundscapes by Magnus Lindberg, Elliott Carter and James MacMillan, there is a universe of diverse and stimulating music.
Founded in 2014, the Ebony Collective is a new and exciting ensemble, with a vision to bring the deeply expressive, subtle yet broadly wide-ranging sonorities of this combination of instruments to the fore. 


Sample programme:

Herbert Howells - Rhapsodic Quintet
Magnus Lindberg - Clarinet Quintet or Elliott Carter - Clarinet Quintet
Johannes Brahms - Clarinet Quintet Op. 115


Other repertoire includes the quintets and quartets by:
Aho, Andriessen, Bainbridge, R. R. Bennett, M. Berkeley, Bliss, Bowen, Busoni, Carter, Corigliano, Françaix, Glazunov, Haydn, Hindemith, Hummel, Jacob, Keuris, Krommer, MacMillan, Maxwell-Davies, Mozart, Penderecki, Skempton, Reger, Turnage, Weber


P l a y e r s

Eloisa-Fleur Thom

Eloisa-Fleur is a prize-winning violinist and up and coming young musician of the highest calibre. She is already the Artistic Director of ‘The 12 ensemble’, an un-conducted string orchestra of a dozen young elite chamber musicians who are currently taking the London Music scene by storm. The ensemble was recently awarded an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK and holds a 2014 residency at The Forge Venue, London. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Maurice Hasson and during her time there, she won many awards and prizes.


You-Chiung Lin

Born in Taiwan and now based in the UK, You-Chiung Lin is very active as a soloist and chamber musician. After graduating from Tunghai University in her native country, she was awarded a full scholarship to study with Piers Lane at the Royal Academy of Music in London and with Douglas Finch at the London College of Music & Media, where she held the Keyboard/Accompanist Fellowship for several years. She has appeared in masterclasses with Imogen Cooper, John Lill and Artur Pizarro amongst others. In addition to giving many successful concerts both at home and abroad, she has presented highly acclaimed performances on various cruise lines. As a concerto enthusiast, You-Chiung has appeared with a number of orchestras including the Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square. She also returns regularly with the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Bristol Concert Orchestra in collaboration with their resident conductor Stefan Hofkes. Her recordings include selections of solo works by Chopin, Liszt, Mozart and a live performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2.


Stefan Hofkes

Stefan Hofkes was born in The Netherlands, where he studied piano and conducting at the Utrecht Conservatoire. Under his prominent teachers, Alan Weiss, David Porcelijn and Alexander Warenberg, he concluded his studies with the coveted solo-recital diploma. He furthered his conducting studies at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Christopher Seaman, winning the Ricordi Conducting Prize in 1996. After his studies Stefan received extensive coaching and support from Bernard Haitink. As a pianist Stefan has performed in venues including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall and St. George’s in Bristol and has made extensive concert tours throughout Europe and the Middle East. Stefan's versatility has created a special relationship with the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London, enabling him to conduct and record major Dutch compositions at prominent concert venues.


Joseph Spooner

Joseph Spooner came to the cello indirectly, via a degree in Classics at Cambridge and a doctorate in Greek papyrology at London and Florence universities. During subsequent postgraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music, he embraced traditional repertoire and developed a taste for contemporary and non-standard works. Since then, he has pursued a diverse career, principally as a soloist and chamber musician and this work has taken him across the UK, from the Baltic to the Atlantic and from the recording studio to France, Austria, the Netherlands, New York and Russia. As a soloist, there have been performances of familiar and less familiar concertos including Dvořák, Leighton, Korngold, Shostakovitch and Moeran; broadcasts from his recordings on BBC Radio 3 and Radio New Zealand and recital series featuring the complete works for the cello by Bach, Beethoven, Bloch, and the Mighty Handful.


David Barrell

David Barrell trained at London University, The Royal Academy of Music in London and The American Opera Centre, Juilliard, during which time he was awarded first prize in the New York Oratorio Society International Soloist Competition at Carnegie Hall. He has appeared with Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, The Glyndebourne Festival, The Royal Opera House at the New York Metropolitan, Teatro Regio Turin, Opera de Nice, Maggio Musicale Florence, as well as the opera houses of Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and at the Wexford, Spoleto and Edinburgh International festivals. He has appeared in concerts with among others The London Symphony, The Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Scottish Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, The Nash Ensemble, The London Sinfonietta and The Tokyo Symphony orchestras.


Rod Laver

For over 20 years Rod has been a star of the Juggling world with his extraordinary ping pong and gentleman juggling skills. He has performed on TV, in Variety, Cabaret and Circus throughout the world. He recently entered the Guinness Book of Records and was featured in “The Virtuosos of Juggling” celebrating the world’s greatest jugglers.


Eloisa-Fleur Thom
You-Chiung Lin
Stefan Hofkes
Joseph Spooner
David Barrell
Rod Laver