Music form the Heart

Back in January 2021, with a new lockdown and no prospect of live performance, we started a series of relaxed, informal chats about music with like-minded people.

Our guests spoke passionately about Bach, Canteloube, Vaughan Williams, Jaoa Gilberto, Hugh Masekela, Ivor Novello, Jacob Collier and many more. This snowballed into a series of fascinating conversations with brilliant musicians, all of whom gave their time freely and enthusiastically, and without exception spoke brilliantly about their chosen subjects.

As a way of saying thank you, I've created this gallery where we showcase some musical and non-musical ideas they want to share, or are simply  just enthusiastic about.

In week 7 we were joined by Stephen Henderson who told us about his amazing experiences working in film studios with legendary characters such as Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith, Peter Sellers and many more.  Stephen starts the gallery with his video on how to make the perfect Martini.

Pour one and enjoy the evening!

Session 2 was when we welcomed our first guest, Chris Hopkins. Chris talked eloquently about Beethoven and opened our eyes to so many things about interpretation and preparation. He also told us about his conducting and his initiative as a pianist and collaborator on

 Impressions, www.projectimpressions.art. Here with dancer "Banks".

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Emer McDonough, principal flute of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, gave us amazing insight into the challenges of her role both as an orchestral principal, a soloist and a chamber musician. She wanted to share this performance of Brahms' first symphony played by the RPO with you. Just click on her image to start the video.

Philip Ellis, Conductor of Birmingham Royal Ballet, talked with us in week 3 about the synergy between music and movement in dance.  He also revealed his talents as an artist, so there are two links here, one focussing on his art (there are 4 galleries to enjoy) and the other featuring a glorious moment from Massenet's Manon that perfectly illustrates the passion and joie de vivre expressed through fabulous music and brilliant technical dance ability. 

Just click on the appropriate image.

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In our final session we met John Elliott, who apart from being a tuba player of renown, is also the master of a multitude of weird and wacky instruments that toot, growl, honk and grumble - but all in the most beautiful and musical way! Here we link to his latest gig, playing with Speedometer featuring rapper James Junior on Satchmo's Stomp. John's playing sousaphone, but unfortunately not whilst on a unicycle as seen here!

In week 6 we were treated to a wonderful illustrated talk by violinist Elizabeth Cooney about Bach's Chaconne. Not only did we discover the history and complexity of the composition, but we learnt about the many hidden messages within the music; an utterly fascinating evening. 

We all wanted to hear Elizabeth play more as a result, so here's a link to a recording of her performing Ravel's Tzigane, the perfect taster to when she performs LIVE at Pirbright Arts soon!

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Our penultimate conversation was with the great pop and session bass guitar player, Steve Pearce. We spent much of the time talking about musical style, approach and the enigma that is groove. It's safe to say everyone was mesmerised by Steve's authority, charm and humour and wonderful stories of working with some of the greats.

Here he is, centre stage, laying it down for Hamish Stuart (Average White Band).

Although we had three consecutive weeks with Irish musicians, it was only Kieran Leonard, in week 7 who talked specifically about Irish music, showing us how it has developed over the years and illustrating it with practical demonstrations. It was wonderful to see everybody having a go at Irish rhythms on their improvised Bodhráns, Tupperware and pizza boxes will never sound the same again! Best left to the expert, here's Kieran drumming up a storm.

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Brindley Sherratt is one of the world's great Bass opera singers, and our chat covered a range of topics, as he gave us a personal view of the challenges  the modern opera singer faces. We cant wait to see and hear him perform LIVE at Pirbright Arts later in the year. 

This clip features him as the Commendatore  in a Glyndebourne production of Don Giovanni.

It's fitting that our final offering comes from YOU the Pirbright Arts audience. In session 9 we welcomed multi-instrumentalist Sarah Freestone who finished the evening by demonstrating how she creates interactive workshops for schools, gathering ideas,  musical and other, and converting them into real pieces of music. You can join in our project and add your contributions

to the final mix of Pirbright - We Presume. Anyone can take part, instrumentalist or vocals, any age, and its suitable for novices to international soloists! Click here for the pack of materials and instructions.

Once complete it will become Pirbright Arts' Anthem.

Click on Sarah's image to hear the latest mix.

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