Levon Chilingirian at Home free

Friday, 28.04.2017 19:00, Duke’s Hall

Levon Chilingirian and Joshua Fisher violin
James Sleigh viola
Jo Cole cello

Cordis Quartet
Behn Quartet
Fitzroy Quartet
Kirkman Quartet

Enescu Octet for Strings in C, op.7
Kareem Roustom A Voice Exclaiming, for triple string quartet

Our Chamber Musician in Residence, Levon Chilingirian, curates an evening of eclectic ensemble works featuring Academy teaching staff alongside fellowship and student quartets.

Free, no tickets required


Levon Chilingirian explains the philosophy behind this concert and describes the programme

‘There’s a very special atmosphere at the Academy: a warm social interaction between professors. It’s not only string players with string players – I’m always chatting with keyboard players, guitarists and singers. We keep in touch, but we rarely play together, so this concert is a good chance to extend that friendship.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity for the students to work together for once. We’ve got so many excellent quartets at the Academy and they all know each other, but it’s rare that they have the chance to play alongside each other. This is a friendly space where they can get on stage together and have fun.

Another element is for us to play with the students we know and teach every day – to get on stage and stick our necks out. That aspect is very important for me, and also for Jo Cole, our Head of Strings. It puts us on a level playing field, rather than standing over a group that is playing some fiendish quartet, saying, ‘It should go faster here’, ‘Why don’t you play in tune?’, ‘The sound isn’t right’, or ‘How about this phrasing?’. They always know we’re trying to help them, of course, but I remember as a student thinking, ‘It’s all very well you telling us what to do, but why not show us?’

The Enescu is a magnificent piece, although it’s not played very much. It’s complex, and extremely expressive. Some movements go very fast and there are four or five themes throughout the piece that are superimposed – it’s like Charles Ives, Romanian style. This is early Enescu – dark and full of East European flavours, ambitious and harmonically advanced. It reminds me of early Korngold, where he does spectacular things that if he wouldn’t dare do if he were older, although in the case of Enescu, his later pieces are also wonderfully free and full of panache and experimentation.

The Roustom is the perfect piece for the students to explore. There’s lots of lively rhythmic writing, as well as some interesting Middle Eastern tonalities, quarter-tones and slides.’

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