Michael Collins and Mozart share a birthday – 27th January

London Mozart Players look forward to their 70th birthday on 11th February

Michael Collins & LMP perform the Clarinet Concerto at St John’s Smith Square & St John’s Upper Norwood

Clarinet Concerto to be performed on the basset clarinet – the instrument the work was written for

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and clarinet virtuoso Michael Collins share a birthday – 27th January, which falls just two weeks ahead of the London Mozart Players’ own 70th anniversary on 11th February. To mark this triple celebration, the UK’s longest established chamber orchestra, together with distinguished clarinet virtuoso Michael Collins, will perform some of Mozart’s best-loved works in two very different concerts, one for the community of Upper Norwood on Saturday 26th January, and the other at St John’s Smith Square in Westminster on Sunday 27th January, both concerts at 4pm.

Michael Collins is indisputably one of the leading clarinettists of his generation. He won the woodwind prize aged 16 in the first BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and since then he has performed as a soloist with many of the world’s major orchestras. He was recently given the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year Award – past recipients include Itzhak Perlman, Murray Perahia and Andras Schiff. The award was made in recognition of the pivotal role Collins has played in expanding the clarinet repertoire, commissioning music from today’s most highly regarded composers.

The LMP is committed to bring world-class musicians to their home of St John the Evangelist in Upper Norwood, where their concerts are sponsored to encourage young people, those of limited means and those who are new to classical music, to attend. Previous guest soloists have included Nicola Benedetti, Leonard Elschenbroich and Thomas Trotter – and Howard Shelley will be performing in SE19 later in June. In addition to the community tickets, there are also 100 £25 tickets available for general admission (which also include a post-concert champagne reception with Michael), so that local classical music lovers can enjoy the top-flight classical concert right on their doorstep. The programme will be Mozart’s Symphony No.27 in G, K.199 and the Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622, and Michael will also be interviewed on stage by LMP co-principal cellist Sebastian Comberti.

On Sunday 27th January, in a more traditional concert at St John’s Smith Square, Michael will be leader and soloist in a performance of the sublime Clarinet Concerto with the London Mozart Players, and will also conduct Symphony No. 34 in C, K.338. This wonderful all-Mozart event will conclude with the magnificent Symphony No. 41 in C, K.551 (Jupiter), under the direction of leader Simon Blendis. The concert is being recorded for later broadcast as part of the Classic FM Full Works series.

Completed just two months before his death, Mozart’s lyrical Clarinet Concerto is considered one of his greatest works. Though often played on the clarinet, the audience will be treated to a performance on the sonorous basset clarinet, the instrument it was originally written for. Michael will bring all his dazzling virtuosity to this masterpiece. This concert is a wonderful opportunity to hear the piece in its original form, performed by one of the instrument’s greatest practitioners.

These concerts of musical treats will be the perfect distraction for a cold January afternoon, and, in their birthday year, underline the LMPs’ commitment to take classical music into all possible venues and communities.

Founded in 1949 by Harry Blech to delight audiences with the works of Mozart and Haydn, the London Mozart Players is known for its unmistakable British roots. Over the last seventy years, the orchestra has developed an outstanding reputation for adventurous, ambitious programming from Baroque through to genre-crossing contemporary music. Their 70th birthday season reflects the orchestra’s distinguished legacy, with concerts featuring former Artistic Director Jane Glover and Conductor Laureate Howard Shelley, and LMP will take centre stage at a Gala Concert for the reopening of Croydon’s renowned Fairfield Halls, hosted by their Patron HRH The Earl of Wessex. From Mozart and Haydn to contemporary composers, this season’s programming upholds Harry Blech’s vision of authentic performances of the core classical works, while at the same time embracing new musical genres and championing the composers of today.


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