Every month I receive e-mails from musicians around the borough requesting that they come and perform at one of our Westminster Music Library events.
About nine months ago I spoke to Michael Hernandez – the leader of The Coloratura Wind Quartet – who agreed to bring his ensemble for a recital in the Music Library. Having wowed our audience with a brilliant concert last October, imagine my delight when I discovered that this incredibly accomplished clarinettist is also a brilliant alto saxophone player, who had recently put together a saxophone quartet.
This fledgling ensemble comprises an impressive wealth of experience and talent; its members primarily perform as professional soloists and instrumentalists within larger ensembles in addition to coaching and mentoring responsibilities. A prevailing love for and commitment to chamber music however inspired the formation of this group. Would we be interested in hosting a recital in 2013?
This was an offer I simply could not refuse, and we were not disappointed. These talented musicians are not just saxophonists; they are consummate, dedicated, and professional musicians that stand up to the best of chamber ensembles of any instrumentation anywhere. Indeed Andy Robinson is usually to be heard playing viola! Baritone saxophone and viola is not the usual combination of instruments you would expect one musician to be so accomplished in.
The programme was a colourful mixture of music from the classic saxophone quartet repertoire, traditional Klezmer tunes arranged for saxophone quartet, and arrangements of jazz standards by those musical giants Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart.
The final piece – Gordon Jacob’s Saxophone Quartet – was a memorable close to a truly enjoyable evening, and judging by the rapturous applause that followed, I suspect I was not alone in thinking that we had “not had enough saxophone”.
“I cut my musical teeth in Westminster Music Library, providing free concerts of such a high standard just adds to its proven track record”.
“Amazing – it was a joy to hear the (almost complete) family of saxophones playing together”.
“Great music and great players, thanks for the opportunity”
“I really enjoyed this concert, an excellent performance. Thank you!”
On Tuesday, Westminster Music Library played host to a packed audience, eagerly anticipating an evening of songs from both the classical and musical theatre performed by two promising musicians. They were not disappointed, our two rising young stars – baritone Daniel Smith and pianist Adam Hope (Adam making a return trip to Westminster Music Library, this time as accompanist) – already have a glittering set of credentials in the world of music performance.
The concert opened with classical songs by Handel, Haydn and a selection of eighteenth century Italian songs, all demonstrating Daniel’s deep understanding of musical interpretation and sensitivity.
Having lulled our audience into a mood of calm and tranquillity, the second set opened with Adam playing something distinctly syncopated, giving us a big clue that what we were about to hear would be a lot livelier, and quite possibly ‘jazzier’. From Nat King Cole to Andrew Lloyd Webber, we were treated to timeless classics like “Mona Lisa” and toe tapping numbers from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat. The boy sure can swing, and with a pianist like Adam to accompany him, we reckon his future as a world class performer is guaranteed, catch them while you can.
Our audience clearly enjoyed it too…
“Many thanks to all concerned for an excellent concert and the opportunity to join the library.”
“Daniel and Adam were both fantastic and the staff were extremely welcoming, helpful and friendly.”
“A very enjoyable and special musical evening, thank you.”
“Very well performed, I’m sure Daniel has a very bright future.”
Last Thursday evening, Westminster Music Library gave our customers a fantastic opportunity to come to a concert of beautiful music from both the classical and contemporary repertoire.
Currently studying performance at University and already the winner of several competitions and scholarships, young soprano Sara Laurense Johansen demonstrated her versatility with performances of songs by Faure, to musical numbers from West Side Story and Les Misérables.
Her exceptional virtuosity in both the classical and operatic repertoire has already taken her to many far flung places to perform, lucky for us she was able to make room in her diary to stop off with her accompanist at Westminster Music Library. With her sights firmly set on becoming a leading opera singer on the international stages of the world, those who heard her sing last week agreed she’s well on her way to achieving this. You would do well to remember her name…
“I love the idea of having concerts in the library, I think Sara sang beautifully”
“Very enjoyable, Sara has a beautiful voice and she sang a great variety of music”
“Wonderful selection of songs, great accompaniment on the piano”
“I really enjoyed it, keep them coming!”