On Wednesday 7 November at 8.00pm University of York’s Ensemble in Residence, the New Music Players makes its first appearance of the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall season in a programme full of drama and colour: from Ravel’s lyrical and erotically charged Chansons madécasses to a brand new work specially commissioned by the New Music Players from the distinguished British composer Michael Finnissy.  The programme is completed by Galina Usfolskaya’s theatrical Grand Duo for cello and piano and Bagatelles by David Lumsdaine. Michael Finnissy also gives a pre-concert talk at 7.00pm.

This is the second year of NMP’s residence at University of York which involves coaching student ensembles as well as working closely with student and staff composers both in composition workshops and in performances. Later in the season they continue their commitment to innovative and ‘cutting-edge’ programming with performances of Edward Dudley Hughes, James Wood (also a new work, an NMP commission), Rebecca Saunders, Elliott Carter and György Ligeti alongside earlier 20th century by Eisler, Lutyens, Berg and Schoenberg.

NMP will also be taking part in public composition workshops in the University Spring Festival of new music (May 6th-11th 2002) which includes also the National New Composers’ Forum with the Orchestra of Opera North.

Tickets for 7 November are available at prices from £7.00 to £11.00 from the box office which is open to personal callers 1.00-3.00pm; telephone booking (01904 432439).

International Jazz

The week beginning 17 November involves a mini-Jazz festival with two concerts forming part of York's International Jazz Series. The first, at 7.30pm on Saturday 17 November is Andy Sheppard’s Learning To Wave. Andy Sheppard is Britain’s foremost jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist. His new sextet creates a fresh and individual sound featuring his lyrical composition at its very best, creating irresistible rhythms, virtuoso improvisation, evocative melodies and powerful resonances of Asian, African and Indian music.

This is followed on Sunday 18 November at 4.00pm with the pianist Django Bates whom the Italian press dubbed ‘the Monty Python of jazz’; the French press described him as being ‘in full possession of an over-active imagination’, while the Danes awarded him the Jazzpar Prize (‘the Nobel Prize of jazz’) in 1997. A virtuoso on the piano, treasured for his off-beat wit, Django Bates continues to astonish with his vast range of international projects. This performance features music from his 1994 album Autumn Fires (and Green Shoots), reviewed at the time as a ‘synthesis of virtuosity, subtle humour and a wonderful intellect’.

Later that week, on Friday 23 November at 8.00pm Billy Jenkins (guitar) and Ian McMillan (words) present a part-improvised and part-scripted performance of words, music and knitting, produced by Simon Thackray. The concert will be preceded by a free knitting class at 7.00pm. This concert is part of a ‘Breaking Borders’ tour funded by Yorkshire Arts, Northern Arts, North West Arts and the Arts Council of England

On Billy Jenkins: ‘It’s his contempt for conventional method that makes this unlikely son of Bromley the most original jazz guitar improviser in Britain today’ Stephen Graham, The Independent
On Ian McMillan: ‘You could call him daft as a brush, but he is as switched on as a power station’
Charles Hutchinson, Yorkshire Evening Press

All performances take place in Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall. Tickets for each of these concerts are available at prices from £7.00 to £13.00 from the box office which is open to personal callers 1.00-3.00pm; telephone booking (01904 432439).

Other concerts in November

After a highly successful opening to this season which has proved very popular with audiences the Concert Series moves to a characteristically explorative grouping which begins in Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on 14th and 15th November at 8pm with The Orient Expressed – a reinterpretation of world musics, dance and theatre, featuring extended use of the visually stunning ‘Black Light’ theatre technique. Musical accompaniment is provided by instruments from around the world, as well as voices. There will also be solely musical items focusing on oriental representations, primarily by western composers.

The exploration of less familiar music continues Joglaresa directed by Belinda Sykes in a programme entitled Al’Andalus and which includes courtly Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish music of medieval Spain and to be performed in Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on Wednesday 21 November. Medieval Spain was an incredible melting pot of culture – Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in a harmony that would be unheard of after the Spanish Inquisition. Medieval specialists Joglaresa present an exotic mix of the Orient and Occident, performed with traditional European and Arabic vocal techniques and medieval Mediterranean instruments.

Tickets for these concerts are available at prices from £6.50 to £11.00 from the box office which is open to personal callers 1.00-3.00pm; telephone booking (01904 432439).

After the less familiar there is a return to core repertoire with Schubert’s most famous song cycle, Die Winterreise,  a sequence of ‘terrifying’ songs and, despite its familiarity, always challenging for performers and audience alike. Baritone Stephen Varcoe is considered by many to be one of Europe’s finest Lieder singers and has made many memorable appearances in this series. He is partnered on the fortepiano by Peter Seymour with whom he has made many Lieder recordings for BBC and WDR-Köln.

Tickets for this concert, in Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on Wednesday 28 November at 8pm are available at prices from £7.00 to £11.00 from the box office which is open to personal callers 1.00-3.00pm; telephone booking (01904 432439).

The University of York reserves the right to change programme details and performers without notice.