JENNIFER PIKE CURATES DAY OF CONCERTS DEVOTED TO POLISH MUSIC AT WIGMORE HALL, SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER
DAY EXPLORES PIKE’S POLISH HERITAGE WITH MUSIC SPANNING FOUR CENTURIES, INCLUDING A WIGMORE HALL COMMISSION FROM PAULINA ZALUBSKA FOR PIKE AND HARPSICHORDIST MAHAN ESFAHANI
PIKE ALSO PARTICIPATES IN WIGMORE HALL’S LEARNING PROGRAMME IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE DAY OF CONCERTS
Acclaimed British violinist Jennifer Pike is drawing on her Polish heritage to curate three concerts at Wigmore Hall throughout Saturday 14 October dedicated to exploring four centuries of Polish music. The programmes that Pike has curated range from anonymous works from the sixteenth century to a new commission for harpsichord, violin and tape.
One of the most striking things about these three concerts on one day is the range of repertoire which ranges from works from composers familiar to most classical music lovers to rarities that don’t even have a composer credited to them from over four hundred years ago. The range of works performed is matched by the variety of musician friends that Pike has invited to join her: harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, violinist Thomas Gould, cellist Guy Johnston, lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, flautist Eimear McGeown and pianists Petr Limonov and Tom Poster.
A committed advocate for the importance of music education, Jennifer Pike will work with Wigmore Hall’s Learning Programme as part of her residency at the Hall.
Pike’s mother was born in Poland and became separated from her British husband for six months due to the imposition of martial law in the early 1980’s. Communication between them was only possible through letters carried in diplomatic pouches and when a MP took up their case it made the front pages of the UK national press. Eventually she was able to leave Poland on the first flight out of the country once flights were resumed with the West.
Unsurprisingly, Pike has strong views on her dual heritage and the way culture unites people in a common emotional experience that surmounts linguistic or national boundaries: "Polish Music Day at Wigmore Hall is the culmination of a special three-year journey of mine exploring some of the most sublime and soul-searching instrumental music spanning four centuries of Poland’s cultural history. I came across Knapik's Partita, for instance, in a secluded music shop in Krakow and was immediately blown away by its sound world. It plumbs the depths of the human spirit relentlessly with its extremes of earth-shattering intensity, shimmering, almost minimalist textures and serene, other-worldly calm. I am also delighted to be giving premieres by Krzysztof Penderecki and rising star Paulina Załubska. The last few years have seen shifts in a global perspective that have been alarming to many. At such time music’s power to enrich lives, deepen our understanding of other cultures and send a powerful message of inclusion and respect cannot be underestimated. I'm honoured to be playing alongside wonderful friends and close collaborators and I hope you'll join us to celebrate and discover some well-loved masterpieces and hidden gems of Polish culture."
Jennifer Pike gained international attention in 2002, when aged 12, she became the youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and the youngest major prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition. At 15 she made celebrated debuts at the BBC Proms and Wigmore Hall, soon after becoming a BBC New Generation Artist, winner of the international London Music Masters Award and the only classical artist ever to win the South Bank Show/Times Breakthrough Award.
Passionate about helping young people from all backgrounds enhance their lives through music, she is an Ambassador for the Prince's Trust and Patron of the City Music Foundation. In demand as soloist with top orchestras worldwide, she recently recorded the Sibelius violin concerto with the Bergen Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis and the Mendelssohn with the CBSO to great acclaim. Her new recording of the Lark Ascending with the Chamber Orchestra of New York has just been released.
Pike went to Oxford in 2012 to study Music after three years on a postgraduate course at the Guildhall, which she started at the age of just 16, in order to spend time thinking about music and researching while continuing her international career. Her studies have since informed her playing and made her reject many of the orthodoxies and assumptions that are unthinkingly adopted by many in the industry.