A celebration concert to mark John Gibbons’ 21st season as music director of Worthing Symphony Orchestra is being held on Thursday, February 7 at 7.30pm at the Assembly Hall, Worthing.
WSO has seen a succession of conductors over the 92 years it has been in existence – from Joseph Shadwick in 1927, John Heuval in 1943 and Herbert Lodge in 1935. It was under Lodge’s direction that the orchestra flourished and when he retired in 1954, he was followed by James Kershaw, then in 1968 by Jan Cervenka, who was music director for almost thirty years. John Gibbons succeeded him as principal conductor in 1997.
John said: “It takes a lot of hard work to keep a professional symphony orchestra going in these economically-uncertain times but the rewards are immense: memories of a lifetime built up over 21 years of fabulous music-making with some of the world’s greatest soloists and an orchestra made up of some of the finest musicians working in London and the south-east.”
John lists among his own personal highlights Sir John Tomlinson singing Wotan, Julian Lloyd-Webber playing the Cello Concerto, oboist Nick Daniel playing Francaix, Richard Hills premiering the Wurlitzer Concerto by Paul Lewis and Peter Donohoe playing Ravel.
Most recently WSO has created outstanding music with BBC Young Musician 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who performed at Prince Harry’s wedding, as well as saxophonist Jess Gillam.
“Of course, for many, the outstanding musical relationship for WSO has been with the internationally-famous violinist Nicola Benedetti, who has performed for Worthing audiences on several occasions.”
John added: “This Celebration Concert features the Worthing debut of Jennifer Pike who has taken the music world by storm with her unique artistry, dazzling interpretative flair and exemplary technique. Aged just 12, she was the youngest-ever winner of the former BBC Young Musician of the Year and since then her career has gone from strength to strength.”
Jennifer will perform Erik Gorngold’s Violin Concerto in a programme that includes John Gibbons’ own realisation of Malcolm Arnold’s film score to the WWII film Heroes of Telemark.
The original score and parts were lost, so in 2017, John recreated them and premiered the concert suite with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Malcolm Arnold Festival.
Early in his tenure, WSO performed the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies so it is fitting to conclude the programme with Tchaikovsky’s most popular Symphony No 5 in E minor with its slow movement horn solo.
Tickets on 01903 206206 or online at http://www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.