Concert series hits the right note

Kethryn Tickell and the Side on stage at Alwinton Summer Concert series
Kethryn Tickell and the Side on stage at Alwinton Summer Concert series

A summer concert series started with a bang last week as a renowned Northumbrian musician kicked off events.

Described as the most successful concert ever, Kathryn Tickell and her band The Side started the Alnwinton Summer Concerts series.

The Apollo Saxophone Quartet

The Apollo Saxophone Quartet

And they helped choose the winner of the Alwinton National composer’s competition, performed the winning composition and were so impressed they have taken it into their repertoire.

Competition winner, Bolton-based Helen Walker, is a musician, composer, songwriter, recording artist and record producer. Her winning piece, Gather Here, was an instant hit with Tickell and the band.

Kathryn said: “As soon as we heard it we knew it would sit beautifully in our repertoire. I thought straight away ‘oh yes, we’re having that!’ and while all the final pieces were accomplished compositions, Helen’s work felt like something I’d known all my life.”

There was a second world premiere performance when the band played Agustin Fernadez’s newly commissioned piece, After the Gathering.

John Casken

John Casken

Bolivian-born Agustin is a passionate supporter of Northumberland’s traditional music and his evocative and haunting contemporary piece was written in a direct dialogue with one of Tickell’s compositions The Gathering.

The next concert in the series will take place on Saturday, May 28, at 7.30pm in St Michael and All Angels Church, Alwinton.

The Apollo Saxophone Quartet (ASQ) will perform their programme of Sax and Film, including a piece written by them to accompany the screening of the black and white silent film Journey Across the Impossible.

The ASQ has been at the forefront of British contemporary music for more than 30 years. The four players have made the largest single contribution to the saxophone quartet repertoire in the UK, commissioning and premiering more than 100 works.

They are made up of Rob Buckland on soprano sax, Andy Scott on alto sax, Carl Raven on tenor sax and Jim Fieldhouse on baritone sax.

The concert will include six pieces written for ASQ by an international list of composers including Alwinton Concerts’ artistic director John Casken.

John said: “Working with the quartet has long been a great pleasure and privilege. I am delighted that they are joining us at Alwinton. The evening’s programme featuring pieces by a diverse list of composers, as well as their own music accompanying Journey Across the Impossible, will showcase their well-deserved reputation as a top-class international group. It is going to be a really exciting concert.”

Tickets, £14, £12 conc, under-16s free, are available from the box office at www.alwintonconcerts.org where there is also more information.