“A Berkeley Celebration”
7.30pm, Saturday 20 May 2023
Hampstead Parish Church, NW3 6UU
Sir Lennox and Michael Berkeley in 1977. © ANGELA GORGAS. Used with permission.
The LFCCM Festival Singers
Joshua Ryan Organ
Madeleine Mitchell Violin
Geoffrey Webber Direction
- Audabefrom Three Pieces for OrganLennox Berkeley
- Kyriefrom Missa BrevisLennox Berkeley
- Gloriafrom Mass for Four VoicesWilliam Byrd
- Intermezzofrom Sonata for OrganMichael Berkeley
- The Lord is my ShepherdLennox Berkeley
- Sanctusfrom Mass for Four VoicesWilliam Byrd
- Agnus Deifrom Missa BrevisLennox Berkeley
- Amen dico vobisMichael Berkeley
- Toccatafrom Three Pieces for OrganLennox Berkeley
- Notes on the loss of a friend: in memoriam Nicholas SnowmanMichael Berkeley
- Released by LoveMichael Berkeley
- Ne irascaris, DomineWilliam Byrd
- This EndernightMichael Berkeley
- Magna Carta Te DeumMichael Berkeley
A celebration of the 75th birthday of Michael Berkeley CBE, the 120th anniversary of the birth of his father Lennox Berkeley, and the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd, featuring the premiere performance of a new work by Michael Berkeley, Released by Love, and a Q&A with the composer led by Petroc Trelawny.
Michael Berkeley (born 1948) is the eldest son of the composer Sir Lennox Berkeley and a godson of Benjamin Britten. As a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, singing naturally played an important part in his early education.
He studied composition, singing, and piano at the Royal Academy of Music, but it was not until his late twenties, when he went to study with Richard Rodney Bennett, that Berkeley began to concentrate exclusively on composing. In 1977 he was awarded the Guinness Prize for Composition; two years later he was appointed Associate Composer to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Since then Berkeley’s music has been played all over the globe and by some of the world’s finest musicians.
His work has been commissioned and performed by artists including Andre Previn, Sir Colin Davis, Mstislav Rostropovich, Heather Harper, John Harle, Nicholas Daniel, Huddersfield Festival, Cheltenham Festival, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales (where he was Composer in Association for three years), Carducci Quartet and Nash Ensemble. His music is regularly heard at the BBC Proms, where his commissions have included large-scale works The Garden of Earthly Delights, Songs of Awakening Love and Concerto for Orchestra.
He has composed three operas: Baa Baa Black Sheep, premiered in 1993 and based on the childhood of Rudyard Kipling; Jane Eyre, his second collaboration with David Malouf, which has been produced in the UK, Australia and America; and most recently For You written to a libretto by Ian McEwan and commissioned by Music Theatre Wales which was also recorded by Signum Classics.
Michael’s significant orchestral work, much of his chamber music and his operas, is available on CD as part of the Chandos Berkeley Edition.
He has been Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Music Festival, where he premiered over a hundred new works and initiated a policy of having a contemporary work in every programme, built the music programme for the Sydney Festival in Australia for three years and, with Judith Weir and Anthony Payne, jointly directed the Spitalfields Festival. He has, for several years, been the featured composer for the New York Philharmusica. He currently presents Radio 3’s Private Passions, which won the Broadcasting Press Guild’s Radio Programme of the Year Award in 1996, and for nine years was Chairman of the Governors of The Royal Ballet until 2012.
Recent commissions have included his oboe quintet Into the Ravine for Nicholas Daniel; Rilke Sonnets for the Nash Ensemble; a new anthem for the Enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury in March 2013; and Cabaret Songs for Barbara Hannigan and Angela Hewitt, premiered in Italy in July 2013.
Michael was made a CBE for services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012. He was appointed a non-party political member of the House of Lords in 2013.
Geoffrey Webber was appointed Organist at Hampstead Parish Church in 2019 before becoming Director of Music in 2022. He is General Editor of the Church Music Society and Associate Artistic Director of Armonico Consort. His musical education began as a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral and he read music at Oxford University, initially serving as Organ Scholar at New College under Edward Higginbottom. He later became Assisting Organist at Magdalen College as well as University Organist; he also served as Acting Organist for spells at both New College and Magdalen. From 1989 to 2019 he was Precentor and Director of Studies in Music at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, releasing many recordings with the college choir of varied repertoire from ranging from chant from the first millennium to music by contemporary composers such as Judith Weir and Julian Anderson. During this time he also taught extensively for the Faculty of Music, and from 2011 to 2019 he served as Course Principal and Director of the MMus degree in Choral Studies. Geoffrey’s publications include North German Church Music in the Age of Buxtehude (OUP 1996) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge Companion to the Organ (CUP 1998).
Australian organist and accompanist Joshua Ryan is a prize-winning graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied as a Bicentenary Scholar under Professor David Titterington. Joshua is quickly establishing himself as one of his generation’s most exciting interpreters of Olivier Messiaen’s organ works, having performed almost all of Messiaen’s religious suites and standalone works. He is currently Organist and Assistant Director of Music of Hampstead Parish Church, Organist of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the City of London, and accompanist of Dulwich Choral Society.
Joshua’s musical interests are diverse and wide ranging. He has worked across Europe and Australia as a soloist, accompanist, and continuo player with a vast array of conductors, singers, choirs, and ensembles including The Academy of Ancient Music, London Mozart Players, Sydney Chamber Choir, Allegri Ensemble, Philippe Herreweghe, John Butt, Rachel Podger, Edward Gardner, Susan Landale, David Ponsford, Hans Davidsson, Eamonn Dougan, Nicky Spence, and Nicholas Mullroy. Joshua has also featured on four critically acclaimed discs as the accompanist with the Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and William Vann, recorded for the SOMM and Albion labels. Reviews by BBC Radio 3 have described his accompanying as “wonderful and beautiful” and “full of colour.”
Alongside Joshua’s performance career, he is also a musical researcher. He is the curator of The Mulliner Project, a significant research project on the reinterpretation of the music of The Mulliner Book on a range of historical and modern instruments. More information about the project is available at themullinerproject.com.
Madeleine Mitchell has been described by The Times as “one of the UK’s liveliest musical forces [and] foremost violinists”. She has performed as solo violinist and chamber musician in 50 countries in a wide repertoire, frequently broadcasts for radio and TV, and performs in major festivals including the BBC Proms. She recently recorded live with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales the Grace Williams Violin Concerto for BBC Radio 3 and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Her “Century of Music by UK Women” (1921-2021) for International Women’s Day with the London Chamber Ensemble (which she founded) was widely featured in the national media. In 2022 she won a Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award to make a short film with the V&A Fabergé exhibition. She has performed concertos with the Czech and Polish Radio Symphony orchestras, Wurttemberg and Munich Chamber, Kiev Radio/TV, St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic and other London orchestras, Orchestra of the Swan, Welsh Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra de Bahia Brazil, and for the BBC. She has been invited to tour Japan, performing Bruch Violin Concerto in Tokyo.
As a recording artist with a wide discography, Madeleine has been nominated for both Grammy and BBC Music Awards. Many well known composers have written works for her, including Sir James MacMillan. Her popular albums include “Violin Songs” and “Violin Muse” (with Guto Puw Violin Concerto written for her, with BBC NOW conducted by Edwin Outwater and the first recording of Michael Berkeley’s Veilleuse) as well as “FiddleSticks” with Lou Harrison Violin Concerto and Percussion Orchestra and companion pieces as part of a major award by Arts Council England for her collaboration with ensemble bash. Her Naxos recording of Grace Williams Chamber Music with the London Chamber Ensemble was number two in the Classical Charts. Her recording of the Suite written for her by Robert Saxton, premiered at Three Choirs Festival with Clare Hammond, was released in September 2022. Her next album, “Violin Conversations”, will be released by Naxos in June 2023 and features premiere recordings of works mostly by living UK composers including Thea Musgrave, Errollyn Wallen, Martin Butler, Richard Blackford, Howard Blake, Douglas Knehans, and Kevin Malone.
In recital Madeleine Mitchell has represented Britain in the Canberra International Music Festival, UKinNY at Lincoln Center, at the Queen’s Jubilee in Rome and “Great British Week” in Kuwait. She has given recitals at Sydney Opera House, Seoul Center for the Arts (as part of a three-month world tour), and in cities such as Vienna, Moscow, and Singapore, as well as at The Wigmore Hall and London’s Southbank Centre.
Amongst many awards, Madeleine won the Tagore Gold Medal as a Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, where she is now a Professor, followed by the prestigious Fulbright/ITT Fellowship to study in New York for a Master’s Degree at the Eastman and Juilliard schools. She frequently returns to tour the USA, receiving standing ovations for her recitals in San Francisco and Texas in January 2023 and a return invitation in October.
A highly creative personality, Madeleine devised the eclectic “Red Violin”, the first international festival celebrating the violin across the arts, with Founder Patron Lord Menuhin. She gives master classes worldwide and is on the faculty of the Orfeo Music Festival in the Dolomites and Language & Music for Life, performing and teaching in the summer. In June she leads the London Chamber Ensemble in a concert for the Schubert Society of Great Britain at St James, Sussex Gardens, in a programme including Schubert’s Cello Quintet.
The LFCCM Festival Singers
The Festival’s own professional vocal ensemble, The LFCCM Festival Singers, expands and augments the Choir of St Pancras Parish Church with additional singers from London’s world-class choral institutions. Most members of the ensemble have come from a collegiate background and gone on to study as postgraduate students at one of the London conservatoires. This combination of superb sight-reading and world-class vocal training gives the group tremendous flexibility, enabling the performance of a repertory that spans five centuries: ranging from motets from the Eton Choirbook to new commissions by composers such as Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Cecilia McDowall, Howard Skempton, Michael Finnissy, Gabriel Jackson, Francis Pott, Sebastian Forbes, Francis Grier, Kerry Andrew, Antony Pitts, and many more.