Duncan to perform for first time with Viva

duncan%20ward%201Derby-based regional orchestra Sinfonia Viva will perform for the first time with Duncan Ward as its new Principal Conductor Duncan Ward in Derby Cathedral on Saturday January 10.

Duncan Ward, 25, is an accomplished conductor and composer and the highlight of the concert will be a new commission which he has composed especially for Viva.

Mr Ward has had a meteoric rise in the classical music world since winning the 2005 BBC Young Composer of the Year.

He is now published by Peters Edition and has been based in Berlin for the past two years as Conducting Scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie, to which he was appointed on the recommendation of Sir Simon Rattle in 2012.

His new commission for Viva is entitled ‘Resounding Vaults’ which has been inspired by the decision to move the orchestra’s Derby performance home to the Cathedral following the closure of the nearby fire-damaged Assembly Rooms.

Mr Ward said: “Derby Cathedral is a majestic, resonant space with great potential for the antiphonal placement of instrumental groups.

“Ever since playing Gabrieli as a young horn player, I have been enchanted by the musical possibilities such a setting can create. In Gabrieli’s case, brass choirs calling to each other from the opposing balconies of St Mark’s, Venice.

“I therefore leapt at the chance to compose a work showcasing the wind, brass and percussion sections of the Orchestra.

“In ‘Resounding Vaults’ bell-like circling harmonic sonorities are juxtaposed with wilder contrapuntal fantasy for duos and trios within the ensemble. Distant choral-like windows in the texture pave the way for soaring melody echoing around the space.”

Viva will also be joined by acclaimed soprano Rebecca Bottone for a performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Les Illuminations’ which he wrote in the Thirties- dedicated to French speaking Swiss soprano Sophie Wyss.

Britten’s ‘Chacony in G Minor’ opens the programme – arguably Britten’s most famous arrangement of one of Purcell’s compositions with its origins in a slow Spanish dance resulting in a tranquil and beautifully expressive work.

The climax of the evening is Beethoven’s Symphony No.4 which was commissioned by Count Franz von Oppersdoff in 1806.

Viva Leader Benedict Holland continued: “Derby Cathedral is the perfect setting for this momentous concert.

“The programme is sublime and will be a brilliant introduction to our inspirational and multi-talented newest member.

“As an orchestra, we pride ourselves on being able to embrace new opportunities and ways of working to make classical music accessible. I am sure that Duncan will quickly become part of the Viva family and bring his own vibrancy to our music making.”

Sinfonia Viva Chief Executive Peter Helps concluded: “We are delighted that Duncan has joined us as Principal Conductor.

“His breadth of skills as both a conductor and composer have already made a huge impact on the orchestral world and he is the perfect fit for Sinfonia Viva.”

Derby Cathedral and Sinfonia Viva successfully secured £23,500 investment from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme to enable this and a further concert in March to be staged in the building and build the Cathedral’s credentials and capabilities of staging future concerts.

Mr Helps continued: “Sinfonia Viva is based in Derby and has been performing in the city for more than 30 years.

“This funding, along with a host of other support including from colleagues at Derby LIVE, ensures that classical music concerts will continue for Derby audiences.”

Supported by Rolls-Royce plc, Derby City Council, Derby LIVE, Derby Cathedral and Orchestras Live. Sinfonia Viva is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Principal Conductor position sponsored by the Nottingham City Gate Branch of Handelsbanken.