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06 October 2017
London Conchord Ensemble is one of Europe’s leading chamber ensembles. Their imaginative programming and charismatic performance style have won them many accolades over the years, and they celebrated their 10th anniversary with a BBC Chamber Music Prom at Cadogan Hall. The group has made frequent broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and American National Public Radio. Highlights of recent seasons include performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw,
Wigmore Hall, Dusseldorf Tonhalle, Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts, Library of Congress in Washington D.C., and tours of Germany, France, America and New Zealand. Conchord performed a ten-centre nationwide tour as part of Chamber Music New Zealand's International ‘Kaleidoscopes’ Concert Season that included Radio New Zealand broadcasts. With a variety of programmes designed to showcase their flair and flexibility; the group also reached out to a younger audience where they introduced great chamber music works to children.
Alban Berg was an Austrian composer. Berg studied from 1904 to 1910 under Arnold Schoenberg and together with his teacher and fellow student Anton Webern he is part of the Second Viennese School. Berg married with Helene Nahowski (1885-1976), a singer who was a daughter from Anna Nahowski and, allegedly, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.
At first, Berg applied a free atonality, but later he started developing strict twelve tone techniques and combined these to a style which, despite its expressionistic character, reminds of the Late Romantic music of Gustav Mahler.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose actual name is Joannes Chrysotomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a composer, pianist, violinist and conductor from the classical period, born in Salzburg. Mozart was a child prodigy. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. Along with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart is considered to be one of the most influential composers of all of music's history. Within the classical tradition, he was able to develop new musical concepts which left an everlasting impression on all the composers that came after him. Together with Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven he is part of the First Viennese School. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. From 1763 he traveled with his family through all of Europe for three years and from 1769 he traveled to Italy and France with his father Leopold after which he took residence in Paris. On July 3rd, 1778, his mother passed away and after a short stay in Munich with the Weber family, his father urged him to return to Salzburg, where he was once again hired by the Bishop. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death.
Johann Strauss II was an Austrian violinist and composer of many waltzes and operettes. His father, the composer Johann Strauss sr., did not want him to become a musician. As a child, he studied in secret under his father's biggest rival's guidance, Joseph Lanner. Johann Strauss jr. could really focus on a career as a composer once Johnn sr. left the family. His two brothers, Josef and Eduard, were composers two, but Johann jr. was by far the most succesful. This led to an enormous jealousy among the brothers, especially with Eduard. Yet, musically too, Johann jr. was far better equipped then his two brothers. During his lifetime, he was already known as the king of waltzes and the growing popularity of the Viennese waltz is partly due to him as he was able to lift the genre from the regular dance halls to concert stages. He was regarded as one of the most prominent composers of his time, among others by Johannes Brahms who was a personal friend of his. At the age of 73, Strauss II died of pneumonia.
Arnold Schoenberg was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, but perhaps also one of the least listened to. Strikingly, Schoenberg was self-educated, even though his music is imbedded in complex music theory. It was Schoenberg who definitely departed from tonality and he developed the twelve tone technique. In this composition style, one has to use every twelve tones of the scale, before one can be repeated. The struggle to adhere to this dogma is clearly audible: his music is tense, hectic and particularly acute - and therefore at times not that accesible to occasional listeners.
Nevertheless, his music and his liberation of tonality had an enormous impact on all composers that came after him. Together with the music of his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern, his style is often referred to as the Second Viennese School, parallel to the First Viennese School of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, who, in a similar vein, changed the history of music for good.
His most performed works are his string sextet Verklärte Nacht, his five Orchestra pieces op. 16, and his opera Moses und Aron. The development of Schoenberg's music can be heard in his Five String Quartets in particular.