Welcome to the ISWO 2023/2024 Season
The Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra (IWSO) has been proud to present a regular programme of classical music, from its home venue at the Medina Theatre in Newport, for over 40 years. We are very much looking forward to another season of live performances in 2023/24, and we would like to thank our friends and followers once again for their continued support.
We launch our season in November as we welcome Aki Blendis, string finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition in 2022, and a very promising talent who will be playing the wonderfully lyrical Violin Concerto by Samuel Barber, alongside Mahler’s Symphony No.1 in D ‘Titan’ and Brigg Fair by Delius.
In January we welcome back as guest conductor James Thomas, who made his memorable debut with the orchestra last year in a stunning performance of Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony. Cellist Finn Mannion, the youngest ever winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Julius Isserlis scholarship, will be playing Tchaikovsky’s charming Rococo Variations. Completing the programme will be some more Russian masterpieces, Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.1 in D minor and Borodin’s overture to Prince Igor. We also mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of England’s favourite composers, Gustav Holst, with a performance of A Somerset Rhapsody.
We welcome back our old friend Viv McLean in March to play Gershwin’s jazz–infused Piano Concerto in F. We will also present two shorter works, Franck’s Le Chasseut Maudit and Othello by Coleridge–Taylor. Finishing off the evening will be the merry prankster himself in Strauss’ Till Eulenspeigel.
May is marked by an Island premiere for Anthony Hedges’ work, Scenes from the Humber, alongside the dramatic Night on Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky. Talented Ukrainian clarinettist Dmytro Fonariuk will be playing two pieces, the breath-taking Introduction, Theme & Variations by Rossini alongside Weber’s Concertino in E flat. The concert concludes with Borodin’s Symphony No.2 in B minor.
We end our season with the traditional concert of more popular works including this year a return to Medina for local hero, pianist Thomas Luke, BBC Young Musician finalist in 2020 and winner of the Iris Dyer Piano Prize. Thomas will be performing Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto. We will also play Island–based composer Pam Wedgwood’s suite Three Card Trick alongside some favourites including Walton’s Orb and Sceptre, Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours and Copland’s ballet suite Billy the Kid.
New Season Programmes
The Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming season will be filled, once again, with an exciting selection of wonderful music. The opening concert (Sunday 5th November) will feature Mahler’s magnificent Symphony No.1 in D ‘Titan’.
In January there is a chance to hear Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.1, believed lost but rediscovered many years later. March offers Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspeigel, that chronicles the misadventures of the eponymous prankster, and May features Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B minor.
Our season is rounded off in July with Copland’s effervescent ballet music Billy the Kid.
Aki Blendis, Violin
Sunday 5th November 2023, 7.15pm Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody, Frederick Delius Violin Concerto, Samuel Barber Soloist: Aki Blendis Symphony No.1 in D ‘Titan’, Gustav Mahler We open the 2023 /24 season with Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody by Frederick Delius. Delius wrote his rhapsody for large orchestra in 1907. He dedicated it to his friend Percy Grainger, who had collected the song, Brigg Fair, in Lincolnshire some two years earlier. The song tells of a young man who sets out for the fair on a hazy August morning to meet his sweetheart. Delius’ work is a theme and set of variations. Samuel Barber composed his Violin Concerto in 1939. The first two movements were written while the composer was in Switzerland, but the outbreak of World War II curtailed his writing and he did not start the final movement until he was back in the USA. The first two movements are lyrical and melodic yet the finale is played at breakneck speed, never pauses and utilises complex rhythmic devices. The solo violin plays in a perpetual, continual motion with only two orchestral breaks. The IWSO is delighted to welcome Aki Blendis, string finalist in the BBC Young Musician of […]
Finn Mannion, Cello
Saturday 20th January 2024, 7.15pm Prince Igor Overture, Alexander Borodin A Somerset Rhapsody, Gustav Holst Variations on a Rococo Theme, Pyotr Tchaikovsky Soloist: Finn Mannion Symphony No.1 in D minor, Sergei Rachmaninov The IWSO is delighted to welcome back the talented young conductor James Thomas. His concert last year, which featured Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony, was incredibly well-received and the orchestra had no hesitation in offering an invitation to James to conduct again this season. This concert begins with the overture to Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. Borodin began work on the opera in 1869 and he worked on it for the rest of his life. His work was hampered in two fronts, firstly his own self-critical personality and his demanding position as Professor of Chemistry at St. Petersburg Medical Academy. His friend, composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, assisted him in orchestrating the Polovtsian Dances a decade later but on his death in 1887, Borodin left significant parts of the opera in rough sketch form only. The overture is largely constructed by Alexander Glazunov, who had to rely on his memory of hearing Borodin playing it on the piano, as well as interpreting the rough sketches discovered in his papers. Composed in 1906, Gustav […]
Viv McLean, Piano
Saturday 16th March 2024, 7.15pm Le Chasseur Maudit, César Franck Piano Concerto in F, George Gershwin Soloist: Viv McLean Othello Suite, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Till Eulenspiegel, Richard Strauss To start this programme the IWSO will perform César Franck’s tone poem Le Chasseur Maudit or, in English, The Accursed Huntsman. Other than this overture and his Symphony in D, Franck’s output did not gain much recognition during his lifetime and today he remains in relative obscurity. That said, The Accursed Huntsman is an incredibly thrilling and melodic work. Viv McLean is an IWSO audience (and orchestra) favourite and we are delighted he makes his return to Medina Theatre once again to play George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. Originally entitled New York Concerto, Gershwin began composing it in 1925 with the last movement completed within three months. He then went on to complete the first and second movements and fully orchestrated it himself. The form is relatively classical but it is the jazz elements that set it apart. The first movement employs a Charleston rhythm and is quick and pulsating. The second movement has a poetic nocturnal atmosphere as a form of blues with the final movement reverts to the style of the first. Samuel […]