Thanks to Diethelm Jonas, I enjoyed two days this month (23 – 24 November) in the Hochschule fur Musik, Lübeck working with Celia Nicklin, Christopher Redgate, Michael Britton of Howarth’s and the Lübeck oboe class. After Chris Redgate’s lecture and recital featuring his 21st Century Oboe and some of the works written for it, I had the chance to lecture on Léon Goossens and his influence on oboe playing and on the composition of Britten’s Temporal Variations. I also enjoyed working with Diethelm Jonas’ excellent class of oboists. Thank you Diethelm for your amazing hospitality!
It was a real pleasure to hear the RWCMD Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform under the direction of David Jones in St David’s Hall on Sunday 19 November. The Chorus of 150 voices opened with a striking performance of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms which also showed off some fine wind and brass playing. Nuno Lucas was the soloist in Prokofiev’s 2nd Piano Concerto and chorus and orchestra had the wonderful opportunity to perform the Coronation Scene form Boris Godunov with the magnificent Robert Hayward, an inspiration to any aspiring singer. The concert was a good example of involving as many students as possible in a major performance. Congratulations to David Jones for his direction fo this exciting project.
On 15 October 2017 Mansfield College Oxford and the Caird family joined forces to present a centenary celebration for my father, former Principal of Mansfield and distinguished theologian, G.B. Caird. The wish to do something to celebrate this centenary coincided with Mansfield’s fundraising campaign to restore the beautiful Vowles organ in the chapel and so the idea of my performing Bach’s Cantata 82, Ich habe genug, with my son and G.B. Caird’s grandson Edmund Caird came into being. The concert quickly gathered momentum and in the end the Vivaldi Double Concerto in D minor for two oboes saw me joined by Oxford oboist Thomas Edmiston and the Mansfield College Choir was augmented by a large choir of friends and relatives to sing Cantata 140, Wachet auf. Here Edmund was joined by soprano Cecilia Osmond and tenor Harry O’Neill with an instrumental ensemble conducted by Alex Laing, lead by Simon Blendis and with organ and harpsichord continuo by Music Director, John Oxlade and Paul Burke.
My siblings, James Caird, John Caird and Meg Laing, the GB Caird Fellow, Jennifer Strawbridge, and Chaplain John Ovenden all made presentations on our father and, in addition, granddaughter Eliza Caird sang the first performance of To GBC, a song setting of a poem by her grandmother, Mollie Caird. It was a great evening and Mansfield College Chapel was packed out.
The fundraising campaign for the new organ was given a boost by the evening, but there is more to do! Anyone who is interested in making a donation to the Organ Appeal should contact Helen Jones, Development Director, Mansfield College, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TF (email@example.com).
I have now completed over a month in my new role as Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and I am enjoying getting to know this wonderful institution. With its large and diverse student population, its very motivated and dynamic staff, with so many performances and events happening and with its warm and friendly ethos (you feel this the moment you enter the building), it is a real pleasure to be working for the College.
My appointment is as interim Principal after the departure of Dame Hilary Boulding in July in a period in which the College has sought to appoint a new Chair of the Board. John Derrick has now been appointed to this role and I am enjoying working with him to establish the way forward. The process of appointment for the full-time Principal has now begun.
Last week, we welcomed Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble to the College.Their concert, including a beautiful performance of the Shostakovitch Chamber Symphony and Stravinsky’s Concerto in D, was sold out and received a great reception with standing ovation. In addition, Valery Gergiev conducted the College’s string orchestra in a two-hour workshop on Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. Thanks go to the College’s President Lord Rowe-Beddoe for facilitating this visit and to the many patrons who supported it.
It was a great honour for Jane and me to be asked back to this summer’s Kammermusik Workshop in Santa Fe. We so enjoyed working with all participants and with Artistic Director Keith Bowen, coaches Stephen Redfield, Denise Reig Turner, Margaret Dyer Harris, Jacqueline Helin, Lori Lovato and Doug Dunston. Thanks to Will Buss and Janet Maker Murray for their work in leading the workshops and to all those who helped. It was a great week with so much music making and then beautful Santa Fe to enjoy, not least a trip to Santa Fe Opera for a performance of The Golden Cockerel. We look forward to Kammermusik 2018 in Oxford!
The 2017 Barbirolli International Oboe Competition came to an exciting close on Saturday with the final at the Erin Arts Centre, Port Erin being contested by Rafael Sousa (Portugal), Andreas Oeste (USA) and Ilyes Boufadden-Adloff (France). The day before, these players were joined by Amy Roberts (UK), Kaede Yamamoto (Japan), Fanny Kloevekorn (Germany), Gabriel Pidoux (France) and Vojtech Podrouzek (Czech Republic) in a most impressive semi-final.
The jury comprised George Caird (chair), Jean-Louis Capezzali, Elaine Douvas, Diethelm Jonas and Celia Nicklin.
The competition result was:
1st prize: Ilyes Boufadden-Adloff
2nd prize: Rafael Sousa
3rd prize: Andreas Oeste
The set work was Colin Matthews’ Figures, Suspended and the Faber Prize for its performance went to Fanny Kloevekorn. Other prizes were won by Gabriel Pidoux, Vasily Belyavin (Russia), Alex Hayashi (USA), William Ball (UK), Yu-Syuan Liao (Taiwan), Paula Diaz (Spain) and all semi-finalists.
I am very much looking forward to playing two Bach works this Saturday (18 March) in the Lady Chapel of St Albans Abbey. I will be joined for the Double Concerto for violin and oboe by James Clark, violin, and for the Cantata Ich habe genug, by baritone Julian Godlee. The concert will also feature the Brocket Consort conducted by Nicholas Robinson singing Handel’s Dixit Dominus and two works by Purcell, Hear my prayer and the Funeral Sentences for Queen Mary.
It is great to welcome everyone to the Kammermusik Workshop 2016 in Oxford. Starting today, we look forward to five days of chamber music for woodwind and strings. As there was no summer workshop in Santa Fe this year it has been a pleasure to see our friends arriving from the USA – we hope you all have a marvellous week in the UK! Thanks to Will Buss, Janet Yaker Murray, Keith Bowen and all the team who have prepared the week ahead – a lot of hard work but much appreciated. I look forward to working with Roger Coull, Jane Salmon, Robert Manasse, Marie Ross, Stephen Stirling and Julie Price and especially to our concert on Wednesday!
It is a real pleasure to be back conducting and playing with The Oxford Sinfonia after my last concert with them in 2010. Having played and directed the Mozart Oboe Concerto on that occasion, it seems a natural development to play and lead Dvorak’s wonderful Serenade for Winds, Op 44 between Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers overture and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. The concert will take place in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High Street, Oxford on Saturday (16 July) at 7.30pm.
As you can see from its website (www.oxfordsinfonia.co.uk), this is a fine and established orchestra that makes a great contribution to music in Oxford. Their video from the Venice Biennale in 2015 is a good example of their work and vision, which combines adventurous music making with fund-raising for charities. I have enjoyed working with the orchestra very much indeed and look forward to an exciting concert!
Incidentally, my 2010 concert with The Oxford Sinfonia featured Louise Alder singing two arias from Die Entführung aus dem Serail (including Welche Wonne which corresponds to the last movement of the oboe concerto) and Ruhe Sanft from Zaide. It was thrilling to see and hear her starring as Ilia in Garsington Opera’s brilliant production of Idomeneo this month, in a fantastic cast and with exquisite playing from the Garsington Opera Orchestra.
The 4th Barbirolli International Oboe Festival and Competition has now been announced for 1 – 8 April 2017 at the Erin Arts Centre, Isle of Man. One of the most prestigious oboe events in the world, it is named after the celebrated oboist and writer Evelyn Rothwell, Lady Barbirolli. Her vision to encourage a wider appreciation of the oboe, to advance excellence in playing and to expand the repertoire for the oboe is mirrored in an event which gives young emerging oboists the chance to compete for one of the coveted prizes whilst also participating in a week of recitals, masterclasses, ensembles and other activities.
The 2017 jury will be:
Neil Black (former Principal Oboe, English Chamber Orchestra and former Professor RAM) George Caird, chair (oboist and former Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire) Elaine Douvas (Principal Oboe, Metropolitan Opera New York and Head of Faculty, Julliard School) Diethelm Jonas (Professor, Lübeck Hochschule and former solo oboe, Stuttgart, Essen, BRS Orchestras) Celia Nicklin (Professor, RAM and former Principal Oboe, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields)
There will be recitals by Rossana Calvi (Italy) and Diethelm Jonas (Germany) and masterclasses from Rossana Calvi, Diethelm Jonas and Celia Nicklin (UK). In addition there will be seminars taken by Jeremy Polmear (Oboe Classics) and by members of the jury. The set work is by the the celebrated English composer Colin Matthews who will attend the competition and take part in a forum event.
The Festival and Competition is supported by Howarth of London, The Isle of Man Arts Council, Hugh and Sandra Davidson and Jim Mellon.
More details and entry procedure are available now on : http://www.erinartscentre.com/oboe.html