An album of double concertos by composer-violinist Ittai Shapira, composed as part of his recovery and in an attempt to regain and connect fragments his memories after a terrible act of violence inflicted on him over a decade ago.
Ittai will use selected sequences from these compositions to work with patients, refugees, women recovering from violence and abuse, veterans with PTSD, and as an educational tool for societal healing.
Sephardic Journeys for Violin and Cello - soloist Thomas Carroll - emphasizes a sense of identity and empathy, and draws on the rich and vast Sephardic sound world.
Midnight’s Children for Violin and Clarinet – soloist Robert Plane - is in three main movements, which respond to the three books in the novel, telling the history of India from 1915 to 1978. It features Salman Rushdie as narrator.
Magyar: Concerto for Two Violins – soloist Hagai Shaham – was inspired by the film Seven Pounds, in which the main character sets off on a journey to commit seven random acts of kindness; and is rich in Hungarian musical tradition.
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) is one of the UK’s most versatile orchestras, with a varied range of work as both a broadcast orchestra and national sym- phony orchestra of Wales. The orchestra’s adventurous programming is driven by principal conductor Thomas Søndergård and conductor laureate Tadaaki Otaka; the Welsh composer Huw Watkins is the orchestra’s composer-in-association.
Generously supported by the Arts Council of Wales, and part of BBC Wales, BBC NOW is orchestra-in-residence at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall, and performs a busy series of live concerts throughout Wales and the UK, with almost all of its performances heard on the BBC. BBC NOW appears biennially at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and annually at the BBC Proms. Autumn 2015 saw one of its most ambitious tours as the orchestra visited South America, including a community residency celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia.
The orchestra’s home is BBC Hoddinott Hall, a world-class concert hall and recording studio based in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, where BBC NOW continues its work as the UK’s foremost soundtrack orchestra.
Rob has tirelessly pursued a particular passion for British clarinet music in concert and on disc, his Gramophone Award winning account of Finzi’s Concerto and Gramophone Award-shortlisted Bax Sonatas being just two of a large collection of recordings of works by the great English Romantics. He has performed and recorded with the Gould Piano Trio for over twenty five years, and their recording of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time to mark the composer’s centenary was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as the ‘finest modern recording’ of this epic masterpiece. He also appears on the Goulds’ recorded cycles of Beethoven and Brahms Trios and makes regular tours to the USA with them. They commissioned Huw Watkins to compose ‘Four Fables’ for them in 2018 in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival which they direct together in Northumberland. He looks forward to collaborating with the Elias String Quartet in Bliss’ Clarinet Quintet in 2020 and 2021.
Rob has explored the clarinet quintet repertoire with a number of the finest string quartets, opening BBC Radio 3’s ‘Brahms Experience’ with a live broadcast from St. George’s Bristol of the Brahms Quintet with the Skampa Quartet. He has given concerts in Germany and the USA with the Mandelring Quartet and at home in the UK with the Maggini, Carducci, Tippett, Brodsky, Dante and Sacconi Quartets. Rob has enjoyed a 25 year long relationship with the Royal Over-Seas League since winning the competition’s Gold Medal in 1992, highlights of which have included a recital tour of New Zealand and a gala performance of Bruch’s Double Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka in Colombo as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
Always keen to take on a challenge, Rob gave his first performance of Boulez’s ‘Dialogue de l’ombre double’ at the Belfast Sonorities Festival in 2018, a work he subsequently revived in Manchester’s Stoller Hall in 2019. His delving into unjustly neglected works has unearthed concertos by Iain Hamilton, Ruth Gipps and Richard Walthew which he subsequently recorded at Glasgow City Halls with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins. The resulting disc, ‘Reawakened’, was released by Champs Hill Records in July 2020. ‘Contrasts’, a disc of Hungarian repertoire for the same label, was praised by the Guardian as ‘a little gem’ on its release last year.
Rob is principal clarinet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and has held the same position with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He was recently appointed Head of Woodwind Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.