March has begun with some really interesting chamber music in Rotterdam in the form of a visit to Codarts by the Schubert Ensemble of London on Monday 2nd and a concert by the Rotterdam Chamber Music Society in the Bergsingelkerk on Wednsday 4th. Both concerts featured experienced professionals playing with talented students in very engaging performances.

The Schubert Ensemble’s planned concert on Monday changed radically through mishap after Simon Blendis’ unfortunate broken arm on Sunday (all best wishes to him for a speedy recovery). Consequently some hours of rapid rethinking resulted in a lunchtime concert in which the Schubert Ensemble (Douglas Paterson, Jane Salmon, Peter Buckoke and William Howard) were joined by violinist Hayato Ishibashi, Master student of Igor and Vesna Gruppman, in performances of movements from the Hummel Quintet Op 87 and Schubert’s Trout. After a fine Chopin Scherzo No 2 from William Howard played at barely any notice, Hayato’s own Codarts Virtuoso Trio with Eva Otero (cello) and Justyna Jarzab (piano) played the first movement of Brahms’ B major trio. This was an inspiring concert for everyone followed by an afternoon of masterclasses and student ensemble play-throughs.

The Rotterdam Chamber Music Society followed the same principle of combining experience with youth. A double wind quintet led by Julien Hervé (clarinet), Karel Schoofs (oboe) and Martin van de Merwe (horn), all from the Rotterdam Philharmonic played with excellent students from Codarts Rotterdam, KC Den Haag and the Paris Conservatoire in a really impressive account of works by Florent Schmitt, Malcolm Forsyth and Mozart. Julien Hervé and Clément Bonnay (bassoon) began the concert with a brilliant rendition of the Poulenc Duo.

The interesting point here is that teaching does a very great deal but there is also a case for learning by osmosis from role models. What better way to develop than just simply to play with outstanding and experienced players? We should do this more often…….

Chamber Music activity will continue with the Grote Kamermuziekprijs at 20.15 on 17 March in the Juriaanse Zaal of De Doelen, Rotterdam. Run in partnership with KC Den Haag and sponsored by the Vrienden van Codarts, the final will feature ensembles from both conservatoires in what promises to be a very exciting evening. The finalists comprise the Lip Stick Marimba Duo,  Babylon Quartet and Les Cinq Wind Quintet.


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