Friday 26 July 2019

January 2019, Manchester Weinberg Conference

It may have been six months ago, but minds are still reeling from the amazing 'Weinberg: East and West' conference at the University of Manchester at the start of this year. Michelle Assay and David Fanning organised a fantastic four-day event, including concerts and a complete Quartet Cycle performed by the fantastic Quatuor Danel.

Egbert Baars, of the DSCH journal, attended and has uploaded an excellent gallery of photos from the conference. I've included a selection of photos below (reproduced here with permission):

From my workshop with the Quatuor Danel on the original version of Weinberg's First Quartet. 

Gidon Kremer, who paid us an extraordinary 'flying' visit, stopping by with enough time to perform and give a moving talk. 

The ensemble from one of the afternoon concerts (L-R): Marc Danel, Michelle Assay, Rosalind Dobson 

A video conference call with Victoria Bishops, Weinberg's first daughter. 

Conference delegates enjoying a meal before an evening concert. 

Truly exceptional, the Quatuor Danel: Marc Danel, Gilles Millet, Vlad Bogdanas, and Yovan Markovitch.

Performers and scholars. back row L-R: Larissa Zvereva, Vlad Bogdanas, Yovan Markovitch, and David Fanning; front row L-R: Inessa Dvuzhilnaya, Gilles Millet, Michelle Assay, Marc Danel, and Verena Mogl.

Conference sessions: Antonina Klokova and Verena Mogl.

Aleksander Laskowski.

Michelle Assay and David Fanning.
Group photo of performers, scholars, and general public.

For more of Egbert's photos, you can visit his website at:

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Weinberg at the 2019 Proms

For me, I have always felt that a landmark in the Weinberg revival would be reached with the first performance of his music at the BBC Proms. As the largest festival of classical music in the world, they represent the 'establishment' of music in the UK. At long last, in time for his centenary year, this year's Proms features Weinberg's music for the first time ever in three concerts spread across the season. Here's a summary of the events:

1) Tuesday 6 August, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dalia Stasevska (cond.), Sol Gabetta (cello)

Sibelius: Karelia Suite
Weinberg: Cello Concerto (in its London premiere)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6

More details here.

2) Thursday 22 August, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (cond.), Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello)

Dorothy Howell: Lamia
Elgar: Cello Concerto
Knussen: The way to Castle Yonder
Weinberg: Symphony No. 3

More details here

3) Monday 2 September, Silesian Quartet, Wojciech Świtała (at Cadogan Hall)

Weinberg: Quartet No. 7
Bacewicz: Piano Quintet No. 1

More details here

In addition to these three concerts, there's also a Proms Plus talk on Weinberg before the Thursday 22 August concert, which will feature myself and Erik Levi discussing Weinberg's life and music. More details here

All-in-all, an exciting representation of Weinberg's music. I should add, all concerts will be broadcast live on Radio 3, and will also be available to listen back online. 

Music behind the Iron Curtain: Weinberg and his Polish Contemporaries

I am delighted to share news about the publication of my upcoming book, Music behind the Iron Curtain: Weinberg and his Polish Contemporaries, with Cambridge University Press. Here's the blurb:

Mieczysław Weinberg left his family behind and fled his native Poland in September 1939. He reached the Soviet Union, where he become one of the most celebrated composers. He counted Shostakovich among his close friends and produced a prolific output of works. Yet he remained mindful of the nation that he had left. This book examines how Weinberg’s works written in Soviet-Russia compare with those of his Polish contemporaries; how one composer split from his national tradition and how he created a style that embraced the music of a new homeland, while those composers in his native land surged ahead in a more experimental vein. The points of contact between them are enlightening for both sides. This study provides an overview of Weinberg’s music through his string quartets, analysing them alongside Polish composers. Composers featured include Bacewicz; Meyer; Lutosławski; Panufnik; Penderecki; Górecki; and a younger generation, including Szymański and Knapik.

The book will be available from mid-Autumn; for anyone able to travel to London, there will also be a launch event at the Wigmore Hall on Saturday 26 October. More details (and tickets) available here.

I'm very excited to be able to share this research with you all, and I hope to have more posts about the book over the coming weeks and months.