The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) will be joined by clarinettist Nicola Boud and soprano Soraya Mafi for a series of concerts in November, directed by Michael Collins. Collins will no longer be playing the clarinet, as a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment has prevented the level of preparation which he would have wished.

Collins was diagnosed in 2017, and subsequently underwent a substantial operation and intensive course of chemotherapy. “It was extremely tiring,” says Collins. “I wanted to keep going, so I decided to work all the way through my treatment. When I was given the all clear, it felt like being given another chance. Going forward, I don’t want to slow down, but I need to be sensible about the projects that I take on.”

“I’m so sorry not to be playing these wonderful pieces on period instruments,” adds Collins “but I’m thrilled to be able to work with this wonderful group of musicians. The period basset clarinet makes a very special sound, and I’m delighted to be working with soloist Nicola Boud in music that is so close to my heart.”

The resultant alteration to the programme sees soprano Soraya Mafi join the orchestra for a selection of Mozart arias, and clarinettist Nicola Boud make her AAM debut in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. “I’m very much looking forward to making my AAM debut as soloist,” says Boud “and feel particularly privileged to play the Mozart Concerto under the direction of such an esteemed clarinettist as Michael Collins, whose understanding and experience of playing this precious late work of Mozart’s makes it all the more exciting.”

As part of a new project From her Pen, exploring the works of lesser-known female composers of the baroque and classical eras, AAM will also perform Anna Amalia’s Overture to Erwin & Elmire, alongside Mozart Symphonies Nos. 16 and 27; and Salieri’s Sinfonia Veneziana.

Concerts take place at Oxford Town Hall (23 November) West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge (25 November) and Milton Court Concert Hall, London (29 November).


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