Academy of St Olave’s to play German works in debut performance at York St John University’s Creative Centre Theatre

Alan George: Academy Of St Olave’s musical director

THE Academy of St Olave’s presents a trio of early Romantic masterpieces by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann its Winter Concert on January 21.

The 8pm programme will be performed in a new location for the York chamber orchestra: York St John University’s Creative Centre Theatre.

This will be one of the first classical music concerts to be held in the 170-seat theatre, which opened last year.

Schubert’s incidental music to the play Rosamunde, including the famous third Entr’acte, will be followed by Beethoven’s Leonore No. 3 Overture, arguably the finest of the four overtures he composed for his only opera, Fidelio.

Both Fidelio, under its original title of Leonore, and Rosamunde were first performed at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, in 1805 and 1823 respectively,  meaning the Academy’s presentation of Rosamunde will mark 200 years since the play’s premiere.

The concert concludes with Schumann’s melodious Symphony No. 3, inspired by the composer’s move to Düsseldorf in the Rhineland and thus nicknamed “The Rhenish”.

The Academy’s musical director, Alan George, says: “We’re looking forward to performing a trio of thrilling works by three of the great Germanic composers of the early 19th century: Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann; a combination sure to delight our audience.

“We’re also pleased to be one of the first orchestras to perform at York St John University’s Creative Centre Theatre, helping to introduce a new – and warm! – venue to the city’s music scene. Finally, I’m delighted that the Academy has chosen once again to support Jessie’s Fund at this concert.”

The Jessie’s Fund children’s charity was set up by Alan and his wife, Lesley Schatzberger, after their nine-year-old daughter Jessie’s brain tumour diagnosis in 1994. Sadly, Jessie died shortly afterwards, but Lesley and Alan decided that Jessie’s Fund should become a charity dedicated to helping seriously ill and disabled children through the therapeutic use of music.

Based in York, Jessie’s Fund now helps children all over the United Kingdom. The Academy’s support through this month’s concert comes at a pivotal time for the charity, as Lesley steps back from leading it. More information on the charity’s work can be found at:  https://jessiesfund.org.uk/.

Tickets cost £15 (£5 for students and accompanied under-18s) at www.academyofstolaves.org.uk. Please note, ticket numbers are limited, so booking in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Academy of St Olave’s returns with Mozart works for first concert since January 2020

“It’s such a pleasure to be back performing orchestral music in York,” says Academy of St Olave’s musical director Alan George

THE Academy of St Olave’s will play its first concert since January 2020 on September 25, performing Mozart works at St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York.

The York chamber orchestra’s 8pm programme will feature Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with soloist Lesley Schatzberger, followed by his exquisite Symphony No. 40 in G minor.

A short symphony by Baroque composer William Boyce will complement the Mozart pieces, carrying special significance for the Academy, having been performed at its inaugural concert more than 40 years ago.

Lesley Schatzberger will play the Mozart concerto on her basset clarinet, an instrument that can accommodate the low notes of the phrases as Mozart composed them, unlike the smaller modern instrument.

Musical director Alan George says: “It’s such a pleasure to be back performing orchestral music in York. This will be our first time playing together since January 2020, so we really are excited to be reunited after our enforced sabbatical.

Lesley Schatzberger: Soloist for Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto

“We have selected a programme of two of Mozart’s acknowledged masterpieces – the ever-popular Clarinet Concerto and the passionate 40th Symphony – that are sure to delight our audience, and we can’t wait to perform to an audience again.”

The Academy’s chair, Christine Smith, says: “We’re thrilled to be returning with what we believe will be the first York orchestral concert for nearly two years. This has probably been the most challenging concert to organise in the Academy’s history, but we’re confident we have all the measures in place to ensure the concert is a tremendous success, and it will be such a tonic to be able to make music together again after such a long absence.”

The September 25 concert will support Jessie’s Fund, a York charity founded by director Lesley Schatzberger to help children through music therapy.

Tickets are available online only, so must be booked in advance at academyofstolaves.org.uk, priced at £15, £5 for accompanied under-18s, with no booking fee.

Please check the Academy website the week before the concert for confirmation of the Covid-19 mitigation measures being taken.