Top cellist joins University orchestra for concert

Posted by mjs76 at Nov 19, 2010 03:25 PM |
Jonathan Bloxham, one of the UK’s most talented young musicians will perform with the University Orchestral Society on Saturday 27 November in a concert of works by Rossini, Dvorak and Haydn.

It used to be said that the definition of an intellectual was someone who could listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger. Of course, that was back in the days when they still showed westerns on TV.

Rossini’s iconic and popular piece is one of three being performed by the University Orchestral Society at Fraser Noble Hall on Saturday 27 November, an evening which features no fewer than three conductors. One of these is the orchestra’s principal conductor, Paul Jenkins from our Department of Chemistry, who will take charge of a performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major featuring soloist Jonathan Bloxham.

Since making his debut aged 11, Bloxham has become one of the most highly acclaimed young musicians in Britain, performing with orchestras and as part of chamber music ensembles at some of the country’s most prestigious venues and festivals. He has studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music (where he won the Violoncello Competition in 2008) and is now continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The Cello Concerto in D Major was for many years thought to have been written by Antonin Kraft, a legendary cellist who was a close friend of Haydn (and Mozart and Beethoven). However, in 1951 the original manuscript was unearthed in the archives of the Austrian National Library, signed and dated by Joseph Haydn himself, which proved that it had been written in 1783 for Kraft, not by Kraft. It is a very difficult piece to perform and should prove a real treat in the hands of a talented artiste like Jonathan Bloxham.

Bloxham himself takes to the podium to conduct Dvorak’s Symphony No.8 (yes, he conducts as well and won the Weiz Conducting Competition earlier this year). Many musicologists consider the Eighth Symphony to be even better than the famous Ninth (New World) Symphony. It draws on Bohemian folk music, is relatively short at about 36 minutes and requires both the piccolo player and the cor anglais player to be absolutely on the ball because both instruments pop up just once, for literally a few seconds each, near the end of the first movement and then are never heard from again!

The third conductor of the evening will be chemistry student David Russell, who is lead violin with the Knighton Chamber Orchestra (under Paul Jenkins’ baton). David will conduct the Rossini overture which was written for the composer’s final opera in 1829. A perennially popular favourite, the overture entered the public consciousness as the theme tune to The Lone Ranger, a western series about a masked hero which ran on American radio from 1933 to 1954 and on TV from 1949 to 1957 (with periodic attempts at revival ever since).

The University Orchestral Society brings together talented musicians from across the University of Leicester. Fraser Noble Hall is on London Road, the concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £6/£5/£4 from our arts centre Embrace Arts.