RNS: Spring has Sprung
Paul McCreesh conductor
Jennifer Pike violin
Royal Northern Sinfonia
Delius On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Thea Musgrave Green
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Schumann Symphony No.1 ‘Spring’
Spring marks a new beginning for nature every year, and one of the most evocative sounds of the season is the sound of the cuckoo – you may not have heard one yet this year, so listen out instead for the cuckoo calls in Delius’ sublime tone poem. Continuing the spring theme, Thea Musgrave’s Green is all about ‘the freshness of youth, and the plant life in our world on which we all depend’. Then revel in the soaring beauty of Vaughan Williams’ ascending lark with dazzling British violinist Jennifer Pike, before ending the evening with Schumann’s energetic and lyrical ‘Spring’ symphony itself, full of the optimism of spring and the shedding of winter gloom. Paul McCreesh makes a welcome return to Sage Gateshead for this feel-good programme.
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Paul McCreesh, conductor
Paul McCreesh is the founder and Artistic Director of the Gabrieli Consort & Players which he established in 1982 and with whom he has toured world-wide and made many award-winning recordings. McCreesh is well-known for the energy and passion that he brings to his music making and is especially enthusiastic about working with young musicians and broadening access to classical music; he works regularly with youth orchestras and choirs and is active in building new educational initiatives whenever possible.
In 2019/20, he conducted Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.2 and excerpts from Schubert’s Rosamunde with the New Japan Philharmonic, Haydn’s Creation with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Handel’s Messiah with the Casa da Música Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Haydn’s London Symphony & Beethoven’s C Major Mass with Filharmonia Poznanska, with whom he conducts again this season.
In the previous season, he conducted works by Elgar, Haydn and Brahms with the Kammerakademie Potsdam, a programme of Elgar, Britten and Mendelssohn with the Bamberger Symphoniker, he returned to the Filharmonia Poznanska for some Rossini and Britten, and conducted performances with the MDR Sinfonieorchester at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Basel Chamber Orchestra.
McCreesh has guest conducted many of the major orchestras and choirs across the globe, including most recently the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Bremen Philharmonic, Prague Philharmonia, Arctic Chamber Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Verbier Festival orchestras, and Berlin Konzerthausorchester. McCreesh also enjoys regular and ongoing collaborations with Saint Paul and Basel Chamber Orchestras.
Jennifer Pike, violin
Renowned for her unique artistry and compelling insight into music from the Baroque to the present day, Jennifer Pike has established herself as one of today’s most exciting instrumentalists.
Jennifer Pike first gained international recognition in 2002, when aged 12, she became the youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the youngest major prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition. Aged 15 she made acclaimed debuts at the BBC Proms and Wigmore Hall, and her many subsequent Proms appearances include being a ‘featured artist’ in 2009. She was invited to become a BBC New Generation Artist (2008-10), won the inaugural International London Music Masters Award and became the only classical artist ever to win the South Bank Show/Times Breakthrough Award.
Performing extensively as soloist with major orchestras worldwide, Jennifer’s highlights include concertos with all BBC orchestras, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hallé, Brussels Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Tampere Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Singapore Symphony, Tokyo Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestras. She has appeared as a guest director with the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata. She made her Carnegie Hall debut playing Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with the Chamber Orchestra of New York, recorded for Naxos.
Eminent conductors with whom she has worked include Jirí Belohlávek, Martyn Brabbins, Sir Mark Elder, James Gaffigan, Richard Hickox, Christopher Hogwood, Andris Nelsons, Sir Roger Norrington, Michael Sanderling, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam, Tugan Sokhiev, John Storgårds and Mark Wigglesworth.
Royal Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of Sage Gateshead, is the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra. Founded in 1958, RNS has built a worldwide reputation for the North East through the quality of its music-making and the immediacy of the connections the musicians make with audiences.
The orchestra regularly flies the flag for the region at major festivals, including the BBC Proms. They appear frequently at venues and festivals in Europe, including La folle journée in Nantes. In recent seasons they have toured to Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul and Tokyo.