I am looking forward to playing Bach’s G minor Concerto with the Oxford Bach Ensemble tomorrow, 13 January at 7.30. Conducted by Edward Higginbottom in St Margaret’s Church (where I was a member of the choir all those years ago), the concert includes Part VI of the Christmas Oratorio, Jesu Meine Freude and Der Gerechte kömmt um – a veritabe feast! Proceeds are going to Sarcoma UK and Help Musicians – do join us!
Having recorded my contributions in August for BBC 4′s Soul Music on Bach’s Cantata, Ich habe genug, it was great to hear the programme as it came out this Wednesday. Congratulations to Rosie Boulton for putting together such a beautifully judged view of this great work. And thanks to all who made contact with appreciative comments – the power of Bach reaches us all!
It was an honour to be asked to join the jury for the VII Tomassini International Oboe Competition in Petritoli, Italy from 30 November to 3 December. The jury were: Thomas Indermuhle (Chair), Jean-Louis Capezzali, George Caird, Marco Salvatori and Daniele Giulio Moles. There was an exceptionally high level amongst the contestants and after two rounds which included performances of Bach’s G Minor Sonata, Schumann’s Romances, the Strauss Concerto and Berio’s Sequenza VII, six wonderful oboists emerged for the final round: Ayaka Nishino (Japan), Ilyes Boufadden-Adlos (France), Seulgi Kim (South Korea), Mariano Barco Esteban (Spain), Camille Giraudo (France) and Auli Morales Natalia (Spain). In the end, Seulgi Kim emerged as the winner with a scintillating performance of Mozart’s C major Concerto with Mariano Esteban second and Ayaka Nishino, third.
it was a pleasure, too, to take part in the Jury concert on 2 December in which I played Finzi’s Interlude with pianist Valeria Picardi. Thomas Indermuhle performed CPE Bach’s G minor Sonata with pianist Silvia Ciammaglichella and A. Nishimura’s Karura and Jean-Louis Capezzali played the lyrical Pixis Grand Sonate and Songs Without Words by Mendelssohn arranged by David Walter.
It was a great visit to Petritoli and a fine festival of oboe playing commemorating the great Italian oboist Giuseppe Tomassini. Congratulations to the amazing Lorenzo Luciani, Director extraordinary! And thanks to Marco who drove me to and from Ancona airport at unsocial hours!!
The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama collaborated with Welsh National Opera in a significant Opera Gala on 25 November to celebrate their association in creating the David Seligman International Opera School. Conducted by Carlo Rizzi and with the wonderful Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Opera Course students including Huw Ynyr Evans, Xi Jiang, Oscar Castellino, Rachel Goode, Blaise Malaba, Rhodri Prys Jones, Wendy Silvester, Lucy Mellors and André Henriques performed scenes from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, Verdi’s La Traviata and I Vespri Siciliani, Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and a complete performance of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in an unforgettable evening.
The International Opera School is supported by a distinguished Circle of Presidents including Sir Bryn Terfel, Rebecca Evans, Sir Brian McMaster, David Pountney and Carlo Rizzi. They are joined by the Hodge International Chair in Opera, John Fisher of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, by International Chair in Directing, Martin Constantine and Head of Vocal Studies, Angela Livingstone in leading a school that promises to provide the highest quality training available in opera. In assocaition with Welsh National Opera, the School will enable emerging artists to train alongside some of the leading figures in opera today.
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.