Edward Gardner conductor

John Adams (b 1947)
Chamber Symphony

Mongrel Airs
Aria with Walking Bass
Roadrunner

Sir Harrison Birtwistle (b 1934)
In Broken Images

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Chamber Symphony No 1, Op 9

All performers at this event are conforming to our safety requirements of being at least two metres apart.

Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic since October 2015, Edward Gardner has led the orchestra on multiple international tours, including performances in Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam, and at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival. Gardner was recently appointed Principal Conductor Designate of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with his tenure commencing in September 2021.

In demand as a guest conductor, the previous two seasons saw Gardner's debut with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Vienna Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and The Philadelphia orchestras, as well as at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in a new production of Janáček's ťa Kabanová. Return engagements include performances with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Philharmonia Orchestra and Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano.

The 2020/21 season sees Gardner open the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s season, returning later for more concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and a tour of Germany and the UK. Highlights with the Bergen Philharmonic include Verdi’s Macbeth in concert, undertaking a European tour, and celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with a two-week festival. Guest conducting highlights, and projects that will be rearranged due to COVID-19, include performances with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, and The Cleveland orchestras.

Music Director of English National Opera for ten years from 2006 until 2015, Edward has an ongoing relationship with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where he has conducted productions of Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, Bizet's Carmen, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Massenet's Werther. Elsewhere, he has conducted at La Scala Milan, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opéra national de Paris.

Piccolo
Daniel Swani

Flute
Daniel Swani
Hannah Clark
Kum Jung Lee
Lucy Driver

Oboe
Ignacio Cano Raboso
Luiz De Campos
Drake Gritton
Christopher Vettraino
Viktoria Kassel

Cor anglais
Viktoria Kassel

Clarinet in B flat
Maria Ferreira Gomes
Michele Prokop
Zhenyu Zhang
Leo Kerr
Lucia Porcedda
Rowan Jones
Nelson Sinclair-Strong

Clarinet in E flat
Maria Ferreira Gomes
Zhenyu Zhang
Nelson Sinclair-Strong

Bass clarinet
Michele Prokop
Leo Kerr
Rowan Jones

Contrabass clarinet
Michele Prokup

Bassoon
Shing To Mak
Phillip Pike
Ryan Delgado Barreiro
Emily Dore

Contrabassoon
Phillip Pike
Ryan Delgado Barreiro
Emily Dore

Horn
Johan Stone
Joseph Longstaff
Kin Tat Alfred Lee

Trumpet
Holly Clark
James Nash
Alexander Morgan
Nicholas Budd

Trombone
Isobel Daws
Hannah Stell
Joshua Blows
Samuel Taber

Percussion
Quentin Broyart
Robert Wills
Chiao-An Chiang

Synthesizer
Jun Yan Chen

Violin
Ayla Sahin
Angus Bain
Mitzi Gardner
Sophie Hinson
Madeleine Pickering
Malgorzata Zwierzchowska
Lavinia Vlad
Caroline Heard
Elena Blanco Junquera
Rodrigo Checa Lorite

Viola
Luca Wadham
India Blackshaw-Britton
Jisu Song
Martha Campbell
Carys Barnes
Thomas Kettle

Cello
Jessica Hu
Abigail Lorimer
Rowena Taylor
Angus McCall
Ben Michaels
Mikolaj Piszczorowicz

Double bass
Lon Fon Law
Jared Prokop
James Trowbridge

Of his Chamber Symphony, John Adams writes:

‘The Chamber Symphony, written between September and December of 1992, bears a superficial resemblance to its eponymous predecessor, the Opus 9 of Arnold Schoenberg. The choice of instruments is roughly the same as Schoenberg’s although mine includes parts for synthesizer, percussion (a trap set), trumpet and trombone. However, whereas the Schoenberg symphony is in one interrupted structure, mine is broken into three discrete movements; Mongrel Airs, Aria with Walking Bass and Roadrunner. The titles give a hint of the general ambience of the music.

‘I originally set out to write a children’s piece, and my intentions were to sample the voices of children and work them into a fabric of acoustic and electronic instruments. But before I began that project I had another one of those strange interludes that often lead to a new piece. This one involved a brief moment of what Melville called ‘the shock of recognition’: I was sitting in my studio, studying the score of Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony, and as I was doing so I became aware that my seven-year-old son Sam was in the adjacent room watching cartoons (good cartoons, old ones from the fifties). The hyperactive, insistently aggressive and acrobatic scores for the cartoons mixed in my head with the Schoenberg music, itself hyperactive, acrobatic and not a little aggressive, and I realised suddenly how much these two traditions had in common.

‘For a long time my music has been conceived for large forces and has involved broad brush strokes on big canvasses. These works have been either symphonic or operatic, and even the ones for smaller forces like Phrygian Gates, Shaker Loops or Grand Pianola Music have essentially been studies in the acoustical power of massed sonorities. Chamber music, with its inherently polyphonic and democratic sharing of roles, was always difficult for me to compose. But the Schoenberg symphony provided a key to unlock that door, and it did so by suggesting a format in which the weight and mass of a symphonic work could be married to the transparency and mobility of a chamber work. The tradition of American cartoon music also suggested a further model for a music that was at once flamboyantly virtuosic and polyphonic.’

The work of Harrison Birtwistle often takes advantage of physical and metaphorical separation, as memorably seen in his opera The Mask of Orpheus, where versions the story are played out by three sets of the same characters in different mediums. In In Broken Images, the players are divided into four groups: woodwind, brass, percussion and strings (a proposed stage plan is included at the front of the score). Reminiscent of the polychoral textures of the Venetian composer Gabrieli, this work sees the four groups in dialogue with and in opposition to one another, both aided and hindered by their physical separation.

Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No 1 is a defining early work. In it, one can hear the composer stretching at the boundaries of musical convention and harmonic expectation. Schoenberg’s compositions, and those of his most famous pupils Anton Webern and Alban Berg, are often either massive in scope (such as Berg’s operas, and Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron and Gurrelieder) or tiny (such as most of Webern’s work, or Schoenberg’s celebrated piano miniatures). The Chamber Symphony reflects this interest in smaller forms, and in the reduction of the late-Romantic symphony orchestra into a handful of solo players.

Anthony Chater