Late Music York, Robert Rice and William Vann, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, February 3
WALTER de la Mare’s Peacock Pie (1922) is a charming collection of rhymes that have an appeal for all ages, not least through their evocation of childhood.
This recital, featuring baritone Robert Rice and pianist William Vann, mainly paired settings from the anthology by Armstrong Gibbs and Howells with first performances of the same poems by living composers, many of whom were in the audience.
Before that, Rice announced himself with Finzi’s song-cycle in tribute to Vaughan Williams, Let Us Garlands Bring, celebrating the latter’s 70th birthday in 1942. He at once established his sense of line and a keen awareness of text, while Vann added some tasty colour, not least in the postlude to ‘Who Is Sylvia?’. The duo was notably effervescent in ‘It Was A Lover And His Lass’.
Thereafter we had no fewer than ten premieres by nine different composers. As a whole, they were encouragingly well crafted, and a handful also revealed real inspiration.
Robert Walker found an ingenious way to conjure scissors at work in The Barber’s, which Armstrong Gibbs had not done. Also in the Gibbs corner was Charlotte Marlow’s Old Shellover, nicely shaped with its opening repeated.
Liz Dilnot Johnson exploited piano extremes in Hide And Seek and David Lancaster used effective syncopation in With Lantern Bright, a setting of the original ‘Then’. William Rhys Meek daringly selected Miss T, already wittily set by both Gibbs and Howells, and still managed to add tonal variety.
Amongst the Howells settings, Hayley Jenkins neatly milked the absurdity of Alas, Alack! in both parts, but her piano was hyperactive in The Dunce. Phillip Cooke conjured an appealing vocal line in Full Moon.
At this point we had heard no fewer than 26 songs. But there were still six to come that had nothing to do with the rest of the evening.
Having successfully curated the programme, David Power rewarded himself with his own (translated) settings of René Char, three written as a student nearly 40 years ago and the same three poems re-cast in 2016. The early ones had little to offer, the later ones were much bolder and more confident. But their relevance here was tenuous and looked like self-indulgence.
Nonetheless Rice and Vann treated them with the same tireless respect as elsewhere, despite not enjoying any biographies of their own in the otherwise truly admirable printed programme.
A GLUT of York theatre companies, a nocturnal sky festival, a Yorkshire musical and a colourful installation light up the dark nights of February for culture guide Charles Hutchinson.
Social drama of the week: York Actors Collective in Beyond Caring, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday to Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm and 5.30pm
DEVISED by Alexander Zeldin and the original Yard Theatre cast in London, this 90-minute play highlighting the social damage inflicted by zero-hours contracts forms York Actors Collective’s second production, directed by founder Angie Millard.
Performed by Victoria Delaney, Clare Halliday, Mick Liversidge, Chris Pomfrett and Neil Vincent, Beyond Caring follows meat-packing factory cleaners Becky, Grace and Sam on the night shift as they confront the reality of low wage employment, never sure whether their ‘job’ will continue. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Late Music at the double: Steve Bingham, violin and electronics, 1pm today; Robert Rice, baritone, and William Vann, piano, 7.30pm tonight, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York
PET Shop Boys’ It’s A Sin chills with Bach’s Allemande in D minor, while a tango from Piazzolla is thrown in for good measure, as Steve Bingham explores four centuries of solo violin music this afternoon. World premieres of David Power’s Miniatures, Wayne Siegel’s Salamander (violin and electronics) and Rowan Alfred’s Cuckoo Phase will be performed too.
York composer David Power has curated Robert Rice and William Vann’s evening recital, featuring the first complete performance of Power’s Three Char Songs (1985 and 2016). Works by Gerald Finzi, Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, Herbert Howells, Robert Walker, William Rhys Meek, Charlotte Marlow, Liz Dilnot Johnson, David Lancaster, Hannah Garton, Ruth Lee, Hayley Jenkins and Phillip Cooke. Power gives a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm with a complimentary glass of wine or juice. Tickets: latemusic.org or on the door.
Nautical adventure of the week: York Light Opera Company in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, York Theatre Royal, February 7 to 17, except February 12
BASED on the classic 1989 Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid tells the enchanting story of Ariel, a mermaid who dreams of trading her tail for legs and exploring the human world. Aided by her mischievous sidekick, Flounder, and the cunning Ursula, Ariel strikes a bargain that will change her life forever.
Martyn Knight’s production for York Light features stunning projection, dazzling costumes, unforgettable musical numbers, such as Under The Sea and Kiss The Girl, and choreography by Rachael Whitehead. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Installation launch of the week: Colour & Light, York Art Gallery, February 7 to 25
YORK BID is linking up with York Museums Trust for the return of Colour & Light: an innovative project that will transform the facade of York Art Gallery to counter the cold winter with a vibrant light installation.
This “high impact and large-scale visual arts project” uses 3D projection mapping to bring York’s iconic buildings to life, first York Minster last year, now York Art Gallery, where the projection will play every ten minutes from 6pm to 9pm daily in a non-ticketed free event.
It’s Curtains for…Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
WHEN the leading lady of a new musical mysteriously dies on stage, a plucky local detective must solve this 1959 case at Boston’s Colonial Theatre, where the entire cast and crew are suspects in Kander & Ebb’s musical with a book by Rupert Holmes.
Cue delightful characters, a witty and charming script and glorious tunes in the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s staging of Curtains. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Touring musical of the week: Calendar Girls The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees
YOU know the story, the one where a husband’s death to leukaemia prompts a group of ordinary women in a small Yorkshire Women’s Institute to do an extraordinary thing, whereupon they set about creating a nude calendarto raise money for charity.
Premiered at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2015, Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical is now touring with a cast of music, stage and television stars. Baring all will be Laurie Brettas Annie;Liz Carneyas Marie; Helen Pearson as Celia; Samantha Seager as Chris; Maureen Nolan as Ruth; Lyn Paul as Jessie and Honeysuckle Weeks as Cora. Once more the tour supports Blood Cancer UK. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
English manners of the week: York Settlement Community Players in Separate Tables, York Theatre Royal Studio, February 8 to 17, 7.45pm except Sunday and Monday, plus 2pm Saturday matinees
AFTER directing four Russian plays by Chekhov, Helen Wilson turns her attention to Separate Tables, two very English Terence Rattigan tales of love and loss, set in a shabby Bournemouth hotel in the 1950s.
Guests, both permanent and transient, sit on separate tables, a formality that underlines the loneliness of these characters in a play about class, secrets and repressed emotions. Chris Meadley, Paul French, Molly Kay, Jess Murray, Marie-Louise Feeley, Caroline Greenwood and Linda Fletcher are among the Settlement cast. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Festival of the month: North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales Dark Skies Festival, February 9 to 25
TEAMING up for the ninth time since 2016, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Park authorities celebrate the jewels of God’s Own Country’s night sky this month.
Discover nocturnal activities to heighten the senses such as the Dark Skies Experience (February 9 to 25) night navigation (February 16); trail run and yoga (February 17, sold out); canoeing; planet trail and constellation trail at Aysgarth Falls (February 9 to 25); astrophotography workshops at Castle Howard (February 22), stargazing safaris, children’s daytime trails, art workshops and mindful experiences. More details: darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk; yorkshiredales.org.uk/things-to-do/whats-on/shows/dark-skies-festival/.
Outdoor gig announcement of the week: Richard Ashcroft, Forest Live, Dalby Forest, near Pickering, June 23
FORESTRY England completes its Forest Live return to Dalby Forest for the first time since 2019 with Richard Ashcroft, the two-time Ivor Novello Award-winning Wigan singer, songwriter and frontman of The Verve.
Canadian rocker Bryan Adams and disco icons Nile Rodgers & CHIC were confirmed already for June 21 and 22 respectively. New addition Ashcroft’s set list will draw on his five solo albums, along with The Verve’s anthems Bittersweet Symphony, The Drugs Don’t Work, Lucky Man and Sonnet. Leeds band Apollo Junction will be supporting. Box office: forestlive.com.
In Focus: York Ice Trail, City of Dreams, York city centre, today and tomorrow, from 10am
THE theme for York Ice Trail 2024 transforms York into the City of Dreams, inviting visitors to dream big.
The last York Ice Trail, in February 2023, drew 40,000 visitors to York to view 36 sculptures. Organised by Make It York, the 2024 event again sees the “coolest” sculptures line the streets of York, each conceived and sponsored by businesses and designed and created by ice specialist Icebox.
Sarah Loftus, Make It York managing director, says: “York Ice Trail is one of the most-loved events in the city for residents and visitors alike, and we’re excited to be bringing it back for another year in 2024.
“It’s a huge celebration of our city and businesses, and the concept will inspire everyone’s inner child, encouraging people to let their imagination run wild.”
Icebox managing director Greg Pittard says: “Returning to York for the 2024 Ice Trail is a true honour for us. The York Ice Trail holds a special place in our hearts, and we are thrilled to bring this year’s theme to life.
“Our talented team of ice carvers pour their passion into crafting magnificent ice sculptures that will transport visitors to a world of wonder and delight.”
The 2024 ice sculptures:
Our City Of Dreams, provided by Make It York, Parliament Street.
A Field Of Dreams, Murton Park, Parliament Street.
A Journey In ice, Grand Central, Parliament Street.
City Of Trees, Dalby Forest, Parliament Street.
Chasing Rainbows, in celebration of York band Shed Seven topping the UK official album chart in January, York Mix Radio, Parliament Street.
I’m Late, I’m Late! For A Very Important Date!, Ate O’Clock, High Ousegate.
Sewing Like A Dream, Gillies Fabrics, Peter Lane.
Mythical Beasts: The Yeti, York BID, Walmgate.
Hop On Your Bike, Spark:York, Piccadilly (Spark:York will be open from 12 noon).
Belle Of The Ball, York Castle Museum, Eye of York.
TWO days of York celebrating all things York lead off Charles Hutchinson’s tips for cultural fulfilment, from Eighties’ nostalgia to a monster musical, a ghost story’s return to a singing French iconoclast.
York Residents’ Festival 2024, today and tomorrow
YORK Residents’ Festival returns this weekend with free entry or offers on more than 50 York attractions, restaurants, bars and retailers.
For the weekend organised by Make It York, historical attractions such as York Minster, Jorvik Viking Centre, Clifford’s Tower, Fairfax House, Barley Hall, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and Treasurer’s House will be opening their doors for free to residents across the weekend.
Residents can also take advantage of a free river cruise with City Cruises, free wizard golf at The Hole In Wand, in Coppergate Walk, and the first 100 visitors can visit for free at York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square.
Offers at York eateries and restaurants include The Grand, Rio Brazilian Steakhouse York, Ambiente Tapas and Pearly Cow. Retail offers exclusive to residents are available at Avorium, York Gin, Love Cheese, Potions Cauldron and more besides.
For those preferring to explore by foot, offers and discounts apply to walking tours and outdoor activities. Mountain Goat will be taking residents off the beaten path to explore the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, while the family-friendly Wizard Walk of York promises to be spellbinding. Or why not learn to abseil and climb Brimham Rocks, at Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, Harrogate?
To take advantage of York Residents’ Festival offers, you must present a valid York Card, student card or identity card (e.g. driving licence or bus pass) that proves York residency by clearly stating ‘York’.
Make It York managing director Sarah Loftus says: ‘We’re delighted that we have so many York businesses providing fantastic offers for Residents’ Festival weekend. This is a great opportunity for residents to rediscover some of the brilliant attractions, retail and food offers on their doorstop.
“A huge thank-you to our Visit York members for coming together to provide so many brilliant offers; there’s something for everyone during this fun-packed weekend.”
Meanwhile, Ann Petherick is reopening Kentmere House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill, York, for a new year of exhibitions in time to coincide with the second day of York Residents’ Festival: tomorrow, from 11am to 5pm.
On show are original works of York and Yorkshire by more than 50 professional artists, plus prints, books and cards exclusive to the gallery. The first full weekend opening in 2024 will be on February 3 and 4, 11am to 5pm. Admission is free.
For the full list of offers, and for booking information for York Residents’ Festival, visit visityork.org. Please note, some venues and activities require pre-booking.
Nostalgic gig of the week: The 80’s Movie Mixtape, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight, 7.30pm
THE 80’s Movie Mixtape is a truly independent theatre show showcasing West End singers and musicians from around London and Surrey in a new tribute to Eighties’ blockbuster movies and their electrifying soundtracks.
A band of six actor-musicians – Jamie Ross, lead vocals, keyboard; Celia Crwys Finnigan, lead vocals, keyboard, alto saxophone; Laura Sillett, lead vocals, keyboard, baritone saxophone; Dom Gee-Burch, lead guitar; Ed Hole, bass, and Luke Thornton, drums – combine songs from Footloose, Top Gun, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing, Back To The Future, American Gigolo, Ghostbusters, Flashdance, Against All Odds and Electric Dreams with Eighties’ party anthems. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
On the move: Navigators Art & Performance, The Basement Sessions 3, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, February 23, 7.30pm
YORK creative collective Navigators Art & Performance is moving this weekend’s Basement Sessions 3 bill to next month. “Unfortunately, the Basement is ankle deep in flood water and we’re going to have to postpone the gig this Saturday,” says co-founder Richard Kitchen.
Taking part will be poet and actor Danae, from Mexico via York; “punk/jazz riot” Neo Borgia Trio, from the University of York Big Band; writer, poet, performer and multi-instrumentalist JT Welsch; comedian Will Glitch, from Norwich via Hull; left-field post-punk favourites Percy; acoustic duo The Jammingtons Experience and transatlantic guitar band Fat Spatula. Box office: https://bit.ly/nav-events-all.
Independent Venue Week gig of the week: English Teacher, The Crescent, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm
“LEEDS’ music scene is the best in the world,” proclaims Lily Fontaine, English Teacher’s vocalist, guitarist and synthesiser player, without a blink of hesitation. This weekend she heads to near-neighbour York with bassist Nicholas Eden, drummer Doug Frost and lead guitarist Lewis Whitling, who she first met at house parties while they all studied at Leeds College of Music (now Leeds Conservatoire).
After tinkering with projects of their own, they settled on playing together, developing their fusion of dream pop and post-punk noise. Coming next? Writing new songs “somewhere between Adele, Jockstrap and Fontaines D.C.”. Box office: for returns only, thecrescentyork.seetickets.com.
Haunting return of the week: The Woman In Black, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees
STEPHEN Mallatratt’s stage adaptation of Scarborough author Susan Hill’s spine-chiller returns to York for the umpteenth time, directed as ever by Robin Herford. As he did at York Theatre Royal in November 2014, Malcolm James plays lawyer Arthur Kipps, who engages a sceptical young actor (Mark Hawkins) to help him tell his terrifying story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Musical of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Young Frankenstein The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
WHEN the infamous Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, Dr Frederick Frankenstein (James Willstrop), inherits the family castle in Transylvania, will he be doomed to repeat the same mistakes in Mel Brooks’s musical adaptation of his 1974 monster horror-movie spoof?
Andrew Isherwood directs York company Pick Me Up Theatre as Frankenstein’s experiment yields both madcap success and monstrous consequences with the help and hindrance of hunchback henchman Igor (Jack Hooper), Scandinavian assistant Inga (Sanna Jeppsson), mysterious housekeeper Frau Blucher (Helen Spencer) and needy fiancee Elizabeth (Jennie Wogan-Wells). Box office: 01904 501395 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Comedy gig of the week: Guz Khan Live!, York Theatre Royal, Wednesday, 7.30pm
COVENTRY comedian, impressionist and actor Guz Khan is on his way to selling out York Theatre Royal after his February 25 gig at Leeds City Varieties already did so. Raised on a housing estate in Hillfields, he graduated from Coventry University and taught Humanities at Grace Academy in his home city before focusing on stand-up.
Khan, 38, is best known as the creator and star of the BBC Three comedy drama Man Like Mobeen, wherein he played a former Small Heath drug dealer now trying to live a good life as a Muslim. Box office: “Last tickets” on 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Most unexpected Yorkshire gig announcement of the week: Eric Cantona, Cantona Sings Eric, Leeds O2 Academy, April 16, doors, 7pm
ERIC Cantona once told Leeds United fans from the balcony of Leeds Town Hall, “why I love you, I don’t know why, but I love you” as the 1992 league champions paraded the Division One trophy. Only 207 days later, he was gone…to bitterest rivals Manchester United. Never to be forgiven.
Now 57, the avant-garde French footballer, sardine philosopher, actor, English advert regular and painter “to the rhythm of jazz” is to return to the city. Not in one of those “An Evening With” shows full of nostalgic football chat but as Eric Cantona, singer and musician, performing solo, with piano and cello for company. Box office: academymusicgroup.com/o2academyleeds/events or ticketmaster.co.uk/eric-cantona-tickets.
Piano recital of the week: Late Music presents David Hammond, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York, Friday, 1pm
DAVID Hammond performs a crossover of ambient and classical solo piano music centred on work by Erik Satie, Brian Eno, Federico Mompou and Howard Skempton, with new works by David Power and Derek O’Connell in the first Late Music recital of 2024.
The full programme will be: Erik Satie, Gnossiennes 1-3; Harold Budd/Brian Eno, The Plateaux Of Mirror; Derek O’Connell, Je mesure le son (first performance); John White, Sonata 95; David Power, Seven Paces Of Stillness (first performance); Erik Satie, Pièces Froides: No.2 Danses de travers; Federico Mompou, Cants Mágics; Howard Skempton, Well, Well Cornelius; Howard Skempton, Rumba; Howard Skempton, Quavers; Budd/Eno/Power mash-up, Remembered, and Erik Satie, Gnossiennes 4-5. Tickets: £5, latemusic.org/david-hammond-piano-2/ or on the door.
In focus: Exhibition launch of the week: Pyramid Gallery, York, from 11am today
FOUR exhibitions are opening simultaneously today at Pyramid Gallery: Gomery & Braganza, ceramics and painting; Linda Combi’s 52 Postcards; glassmaker Jo Kenny’s What Lies Beneath and Ringleaders’ contemporary handmade rings.
Di Gomery, Loretta Braganza, Linda Combi and Jo Kenny all will be attending the 11am to 2.30pm launch. “Come along to the opening and enjoy a glass of wine or soft drink with the artists,” says gallery owner and curator Terry Brett.
Di’s studio is at South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, in Bishopthorpe Road, York. Her paintings are lyrical responses to landscape, still life and the human form, painted primarily in oil on canvas or board, often large in scale. Her approach is one of playful energy with an underlying structure and solidity.
Di, who worked in the design industry for Courtaulds (England) and Jakob Schlaepfer couture fabric design (Switzerland), has exhibited previously at Pyramid Gallery, Partisan café, in Micklegate, York, HartLaw Solicitors, in Wetherby, Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax, and the Fronteer Gallery, Sheffield.
Paintings created specifically for this Pyramid exhibition explore edges and volume, make reference to other artists, and generally play with surface and colour combinations. Her artistic influences include the work of British and American women abstract expressionists.
Loretta was born in Mumbai, India, came to Great Britain in 1965 and lives and works in York. She began her practice as a ceramicist in 1990 via a career in dance, graphic arts, textile design and sculpture, as well as teaching drawing and painting at York College.
Her distinctive style comprising taut edges, clean lines and complex mark making swiftly earned her exhibitions and commissions, as well as awards from the Crafts Council and the Arts Council.
Artist and illustrator Linda Combi, raised in a California desert, now settled in York, returns to Pyramid Gallery, this time with 52 Postcards, a series of original collage paintings, print cards and booklets that reflect on migration.
“I was inspired to create 52 postcards around the theme of displacement,” she says. “I decided to create postcards as you’d typically send them when you’re on holiday to family and friends back home, but for refugees, they can have very different connotations. It’s grounded in the concept of refugees being in another place, writing a letter to home or to their former self.
“In many of my postcards I use birds as a symbol for people forced to flee. They’re innocent, and they’re on the move.”
Linda’s postcards are mixed media, primarily hand painted and printed papers, but also incorporating coloured pencil, pen, stickers and crayon.
“Refugees and other displaced people have to endure so much,” she says. “Everyone should support refugees – not only do they enrich society, but more than anything, it’s just basic kindness and human empathy to understand how frightening it must be to be to have to flee.”
Fifty per cent of Linda’s sale proceeds will go to UNHRC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agency mandated to aid and protect refugees, and the Lemon Tree Trust, an organisation that works alongside displaced people to transform refugee camps through gardening.
Glassmaker Jo Kenny creates pieces at the furnace inspired by exploring the beaches at Whitby, where she now lives. Such a simple childhood pleasure revisited, she finds a contemplative quality in the act of poking around in rock pools. “I feel the joy and excitement of discovery under each pebble,” she says.
Her What Lies Beneath series encourages the viewer to “look a little deeper and maybe feel a little of that childlike excitement making their own discoveries”.
Awarded an Arts Council England grant, Jo was able to develop the series further in collaboration with Scottish master craftsman Gordon Taylor, who completed pieces with his cutting and polishing skills.
Jo splits her time between making and teaching. Her key themes are the effect of the passage of time, erosion, entropy, persistence of image and all things pertaining to the ocean.
Di Gomery and Loretta Braganza’s exhibition runs until March 11; Linda Combi’s 52 Postcards until March 9; Jo Kenny’s glass until March 7, at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York. Gallery opening hours are:Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturdays, 10am to 5.30pm. The project can be viewed at Linda’s website, lindacombi.biz, from where purchases can be made too.
CHRISTMAS music, Scrooge the farmer, artist fairs and pantomime frolics set up Charles Hutchinson for the festive season ahead.
Festival of the week: York Early Music Christmas Festival, today until December 9
YORK Early Music Christmas Festival 2023 takes the theme of Music, Minstrels and Mystery, with today’s concerts by Flutes & Frets (Bedern Hall) and The Gesualdo Six & Fretwork Viol Consort (NCEM) having sold out already.
So has December 9’s finale, the Yorkshire Bach Choir’s Bach Christmas Oratorio (Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall), but tickets are still available for The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen, Fiddlesticks, The Marian Consort, Ceruleo and Baroque In The North. For concert details and tickets, visit ncem.co.uk. Box office: 01904 658338.
Tour opening of the week: Badapple Theatre Company in Farmer Scrooge’s Christmas Carol, until December 30
A GRUMPY farmer? From Yorkshire? Surely not! Welcome to Kate Bramley’s rural revision of Dickens’s festive favourite, A Christmas Carol, now set on Farmer Scrooge’s farm and in his bed in 1959 in Green Hammerton company Badapple Theatre’s tour of Yorkshire and beyond.
York actors James Lewis-Knight and Emily Chattle play multiple roles in a tale replete with local stories and carols, puppets and mayhem, original songs by Jez Lowe and a whacking great dose of seasonal bonhomie. For tour dates and ticket details, visit: badappletheatre.co.uk or call 01423 331304.
Artists with Christmas in mind: South Bank Studios Christmas Artists Trail, hosted by South Bank Studios, Bishopthorpe Road, York, today and tomorrow, 10am to 4pm
JOIN artists, illustrators and makers in the South Bank area of York for a weekend of festive cheer and a chance to visit artists’ houses and studios. For sale will be paintings, illustrations, ceramics, textiles, cards and gifts.
Taking part: Jill Tattersall, at 11 Mount Parade, today and tomorrow; Marie Murphy, 38, Scarcroft Road, today; Donna Maria Taylor, Carolyn Coles, Karen Winship, Rebeca Mason (11am to 4pm, in the loft), Katie Hill (outside) and Rachel Jones (outside) at South Bank Studio, today only.
Other art events happening in York over the weekend will be PICA Studios’ open studio, in Grape Lane, today and tomorrow, 10am to 5pm, and Rogues Atelier’s open studio, in Fossgate, today and tomorrow, 10am to 5pm.
Comedy gig of the week: Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, today, 5pm and 8pm
ESSEX comedian Markus Birdman headlines Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club’s brace of Basement gigs today. Joining him will be Tal Davies, Hasan Al-Habib and promoter/master of ceremonies Damion Larkin.
In 2022, Birdman suffered a stroke and ended up with a platinum heart, the subject of his Platinum Tour show. This year he was a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent. Box office: lolcomedyclubs.co.uk.
York Late Music: Micklegate Singers, After Byrd, today, 1pm; Nina Kumin, Jonathan Sage and Kate Ledger, 7.30pm, both at Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York
MICKLEGATE Singers bring together three anniversaries, Byrd, Rachmaninov and Thomas Weelkes, in a lunchtime musical sandwich of more than 500 years of a cappella choral music.
In the evening, Nina Kumin, violin, Jonathan Sage, clarinet, and Kate Ledger, piano, mark July’s death of Anthony Gilbert by performing four of the British composer’s works, plus music by Nicola LeFanu and David Lumsdaine, who both knew him well. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.
40th anniversary gig of the week: Spear Of Destiny, The Crescent, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm
FORTY years on from Epic Records’ release of Spear Of Destiny’s debut album, The Grapes Of Wrath, Kirk Brandon leads his punk-influenced power rock band on a 17-date November and December tour.
On the back of American travels, Brandon will be performing with his longest-serving line-up: Adrian Portas (New Model Army/Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters Of Mercy/The Cult/The Mission) and Phil Martini (Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind), bolstered by Clive Osborne on saxophone and Steve Allen-Jones on keys. Support comes from former Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes & The Dark. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Festive folk gig of the week: Kate Rusby, Established 1973 Christmas Tour, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm
BARNSLEY folk nightingale Kate Rusby marks turning 50 on Monday with the release of her seventh Christmas album, Light Years, and an accompanying tour that opens in York.
In the company of her regular band, coupled with the added warmth of the Brass Boys, Kate combines carols still sung in South Yorkshire pubs with her winter songs and favourite Christmas chestnuts. Look out for the fancy dress finale. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Pantomime opening of the week: Rowntree Players in Cinderella, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, December 9 to 16, except December 11
HOWARD Ella directs Rowntree Players in a rollicking romp of a pantomime, wherein Cinderella and Buttons are fighting to save the Windy End Hotel when the Queen announces a ball to celebrate Prince Charming’s birthday.
Trouble is brewing with the arrival of a “truly horrific trio”, determined to find themselves a prince. Expect song, dance, all the traditional silliness…and a mad rush for the last few tickets for all performances. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Recommended but sold out already
RIPON singer-songwriter Billie Marten, now based in London, returns home to Yorkshire to showcase her fourth album, Drop Cherries, on which she explores the struggle with modernity versus tradition, nature, mental health, relationships and “a general voyeurism on the world as she sees it”. Clara Mann supports.
ANTHONY Gilbert’s Monsoon Toccata: In Memoriam Janet Owen Thomas (1961-2002) will be performed by pianist Kate Ledger at Saturday night’s Late Music concert in York.
“This concert will be a celebration of composer Anthony Gilbert who died in July this year, aged 89,” says Late Music administrator Steve Crowther. “The programme includes his memorial piece written for Janet Owen Thomas, the York composer, who died tragically young.”
Performed by violinist Nina Kumin, clarinet player Jonathan Sage and pianist Ledger at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, the 7.30pm programme features three more Gilbert works, plus music by Nicola LeFanu and David Lumsdaine, who both knew him well.
Here Steve Crowther pays tribute to Jane Owen Thomas and her contribution to York Late Music.
“I never met Janet, even though she lived near me in Holgate, York. I did speak with her on the phone however, inviting Janet to compose a short piece for a small ensemble,” he recalls.
“It was the early days of Late Music and I worked with director David Power. It was then called the Late Music Festival with a strapline: The Cutting Edge, and the following year, The Cutting Edge Gets Sharper.
“The concerts were a niche market, and quite often the niche didn’t bother turning up. Low audiences with marginal box office revenue did not appeal to grant-funding bodies and so there was, as Kwasi Kwarteng discovered many years later, little in the way of inward investment.
“So we decided to change our marketing strategy, or rather, develop one. Living Composers, performed Live. This really sounded unique and, apart from the Go West Festival in Wales, it was.
“The main issue here was that quite a few of the living composers we programmed were no longer with us after we had gone to print. We then went nuts and threw the kitchen sink at the programming.
“The concerts now included jazz, Indian music, gamelan, crossover, loads of fusions; we even dug up Beethoven. Anyway, this long and winding road led us to where we are today. So back to Janet.
“OK, so this next bit isn’t going to sound professional or cool; not that I have ever been professional or cool. Janet said she would be interested and then caught me off guard with: ‘What will the commission fee be?’ I started laughing and said: ‘you’re kidding?’. She wasn’t.
“I have often thought Late Music should host a memorial concert of Janet’s music. And we will. I thought this programme note written by Anthony Gilbert – for a short piano piece called Monsoon Toccata, was very touching, very moving. It feels so right and so fitting to include this in Anthony’s own Late Music memorial concert.”
Anthony Gilbert wrote: “In 1988, Janet Owen Thomas met up with me in Sydney at the end of a short organ recital tour – possibly her last before devoting herself entirely to composing.
“We returned to England together, doing a rapid circular tour of Northern India on the way. Alighting from the plane at Delhi, we were hit by the whirling wind and torrential rain of the seasonal monsoon, and early the following morning there was also a minor earthquake.
“This experience determined the spirit of the music, and Northern Indian Raga determines the purely technical approach, with the quasi-improvisatory toccata-like textures acting as decoration to a slow-moving, widely spaced modal top line, which almost loses control of the overall shape at the mid-point – a reflection of the impact of those natural phenomena.”
Janet Owen Thomas, composer, writer, teacher and organist: the back story, from British Music Collection
Born: Merseyside, to Welsh and German parents.
Education: Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, Liverpool; read music at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, taught by Jane Glover and Robert Saxton (composition).
Further studies: After premiere of her choral work New And Better Days, commissioned to mark the opening of Liverpool’s Tate Gallery, read for degree in Music Technology at University of York, then took advanced composition studies with Anthony Gilbert at Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
Works included: UK premiere of Rosaces at 1991 BBC Proms (youngest composer featured that year). Concerto Grosso Cantus for Bang-on-a-Can, 1992, performed in Goldberg Ensemble’s Contemporary series at RNCM, broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Under The Skin, BBC commission for 1999 Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music. Preludes for Piano, premiered in London in 2000.
Commissioned or performed by: BBC; Goldberg Ensemble; Park Lane Group; Allegri and Bingham Quartets; Gemini; Boccherini String Trio; Stephen De Pledge; Mary Wiegold; Lontano; Kevin Bowyer; the Option Band and others.
Lived and worked in: York, dividing her time between teaching, writing and composition.
IN her obituary for Janet Owen Thomas, fellow York composer Nicola LeFanu wrote of her musical style: “The hallmark of her style is linear counterpoint; the music is carefully constructed to allow for self-similarity in its proportions, both in the large and in the detail.
“In speaking of her work, Thomas acknowledged the influence of the 17th and 18th-century music which she played so much in her days as an organist. Her contrapuntal textures are transformed, though, by the ‘shimmer and glitter’ which she loved.”
THE Late Music concert series, aka Living Music, Live, has made a habit of inviting pianist Ian Pace over the years. It is easy to see why. He is a monarch of the keyboard, not least in repertory of the last two centuries.
He brought his full powers to bear on a programme that began and ended with Liszt transcriptions of Beethoven, with Gershwin and Kern transcriptions by Michael Finnissy and Steve Crowther’s Fourth Piano Sonata in between.
This was the opening concert in what is planned to be an annual series, The Beethoven Project, curated by Crowther and focused around all of Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s symphonies.
Liszt was an indefatigable transcriber of works by others, especially where they could be incorporated into his own virtuoso recitals. They also provided him with a more or less regular income.
His version of Beethoven’s Fifth is masterly, seemingly leaving nothing out and taxing the pianist to the very limit. But Pace was equal to his every demand. No-one could claim that this was a note-perfect account – how could it be? – but it was dazzling nonetheless.
He started with the three opening quavers so rapid that they were almost indistinguishable. The whole first movement, complete with repeat of the exposition, was adrenalin-fuelled, with the left hand in constant motion.
The Andante was richly voiced, with strong accents. All the statements of its rondo theme were insistent, although some of the diversions were taken more gently. Some of the humour of the third movement – effectively a scherzo and trio – was lost to heavy treatment, so that Beethoven’s subtle instrumentation in the fugato became too distant a memory.
But one could only gasp in admiration at the orchestral tone that Pace generated in the finale, with his left hand again moving at frightening speed. The work as a whole inevitably emerged more percussively than the original. But Liszt’s achievement was never in doubt.
Pace had opened with Liszt’s version of the first song-cycle in history, Beethoven’s An die Ferne Geliebte (To The Distant Beloved), six songs given without a break. Pace took great pains to highlight the vocal melodies, while opting for measured tempos larded with considerable rubato, probably more than a singer would countenance.
As the cycle progressed Pace made his upper register twinkle several times, not least with the trilling of birds in the unheard text.
Michael Finnissy’s ‘transcriptions’ from songs by Gershwin and Kern were much less literal than the Liszt and much more like arrangements, preferring to conjure atmosphere and doodle over harmonies.
In Love Is Here To Stay (from the 1938 film The Goldwyn Follies), the tune was held back until near the end, although in Embraceable You (from Girl Crazy) it was the jazz element that took control. Best of all was his version of Kern’s Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man (from Show Boat) where the melody was disguised but always detectable. Pace had them well organised.
So also in Steve Crowther’s Fourth Sonata, which sounded not unconnected with the Gershwin that preceded it, although sparer harmonically. Pace sustained excellent momentum and a staccato touch through the rapid opening movement, which was awash with syncopation and sounded like a rondo.
The slow movement was more ruminative, although tastily decorated with roulades. Decorations during the finale tended to occur in the right hand while the left carried the main theme. But both hands flitted lightly around the keyboard – and I swear I could hear traces of Kern here; perhaps they were just left over in my aural memory. But the work was never less than intriguing and often much more.
Pace had once again proved a mighty champion of the new and the little-known.
AN historic crucifix, a Wolds art trail, 40th anniversaries at the quadruple and a York-made horror double bill promise a heap of interesting encounters for Charles Hutchinson and you alike.
Exhibition launch of the week:Hide & Seek: The Aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, today until November 16
THE only surviving item from thousands seized in raids on Catholic houses after the 1605 Gunpowder Plot goes on show in York. The late 16th/early 17th century crucifix belonged to Father Edward Oldcorne (1561-1606), who was hanged, drawn and quartered despite being innocent of involvement. His crime: he attended school in York with infamous plotter Guy Fawkes and committed the treasonous act of becoming a Catholic priest.
On display will be new research into the crucifix, more information on Oldcorne and the men he was caught alongside, and an exploration of how priest hiding holes were constructed within the fabric of buildings. Tickets: barconvent.co.uk.
Children’s gig of the week: Andy And The Odd Socks, York Theatre Royal, today, 1pm
STRAIGHT off the telly and onto the live stage, Andy And The Odd Socks bring their madcap mix of songs, slapstick and silliness to life with a 70-minute show to entertain families of all ages.
Fronted by Andy Day, CBeebies regular and 2021 York Theatre Royal panto star as Dandini in Cinderella, their sock’n’roll makes for the ideal first concert for children. Andy And The Odd Socks are patrons for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, by the way. Tickets update: filling up fast; 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Studio show of the week: Essential Theatre in The Mistake, York Theatre Royal Studio, tonight, 7.45pm
DIRECTED by Rosamunde Hutt, Michael Mears’s Spirit of the Fringe award-winning play explores the events surrounding the catastrophic ‘mistake’ that launched the nuclear age, followed by a post-show discussion.
1942. On a squash court in Chicago, a dazzling scientific experiment takes place, one that three years later will destroy a city and change the world forever. Two actors, one British (Mears), one Japanese (Riko Nakazono), enact the stories of a brilliant Hungarian scientist, a daring American pilot and a devoted Japanese daughter, in a fast-moving drama about the dangers that arise when humans dare to unlock the awesome power of nature. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Season start of the week: York Late Music, Franko Bozak, 1pm; Delta Saxophone Quartet, 7.30pm, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, today
FRANKO Bozac showcases the reasons why the accordion should not be underestimated in his afternoon programme, featuring a collaboration between composer James Williamson and visual artist Romey T Brough.
Celebrating their own ruby anniversary, the Delta Saxophone Quartet mark York Late Music’s 40th year by performing Steve Martland, The Soft Machine and new works. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.
Musical of the week: Be Amazing Arts in West Side Story, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, today and tomorrow, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
MALTON company Be Amazing Arts present Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s musical transition of Shakesespeare’s Romeo And Juliet to modern-day New York City, where two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the “American” Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks.
Arthur Laurents’s book remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever, charting the lovers’ struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice in this innovative, heart-wrenching landmark Broadway musical. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Art event of the weekend: Pocklington Area Open Studios 2023, today and tomorrow, 10am to 5pm
TAKING in Pocklington, villages with ten miles of the East Yorkshire market town, the Yorkshire Wolds and North Derwent Valley, Pocklington Area Open Studios 2023 features 28 artists in 14 venues.
This compact art trail features paintings, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and photography, with the chance to meet diverse painters and makers, many in their own studios, who will preview their latest works for sale, discuss their creative processes, potential commissions and upcoming workshops and courses.
Venue 1: Park Lane End Studio, Park Lane, Bishop Wilton: Colin Pollock, oils, acrylics and watercolour; Judith Pollock, printmaking and mixed media.
Venue 2: The Studio, The Old School, Skirpenbeck: Lesley Peatfield, fine art and abstract photography; Richard Gibson, sculptures.
Venue 3: Rocking Horse Studio, Rocking Horse Yard, Fangfoss: Shirley Davis Dew, painting; Sue Giles, textile art exploring Japanese Shibori techniques of dyeing; Richard Moore, handmade ceramic tiles.
Venue 4: Fangfoss Pottery, The Old School, Fangfoss,: Gerry Grant, ceramics; Sarah Relf, drawing and illustration.
Venue 5: I Woldview Road, Wilberfoss: Mo Burrows, jewellery; Bernadette Oliver, acrylic, ink and collage; Tori Foster, jewellery.
Venue 6: 4 Archibald Close, Pocklington: Peter Schoenecker, 2D and 3D art works.
Venue 7: 35 St Helens Road, Pocklington: Mary Burton, acrylics and pastels; Lee Steele, ceramics; Ingrid Barton, mixed media.
Venue 8: Newfold House Granary Studio, Newton upon Derwent: Chris Cullum, textile arts.
Venue 9: Tullyframe, Main Street, Barmby Moor: Penny De Corte, ceramic art; Avril Cheetham, jewellery.
Venue 11: Church Farm, Town Street, Hayton: Noreen Thorp, pastel, watercolour and mixed media, Lynda Heaton, watercolour and mixed media.
Venue 12: Hayton Studio, Manor Farm, Town Street, Hayton: Peter Edwards, mixed media; Harry Hodgson, mixed media.
Venue 13: Plum Tree Studio & House, Pocklington Lane, Huggate: Belinda Hazlerigg, paintings, printmaking, silk scarves and ceramics.
Venue 14: 3 Stable Court, Londesborough: Tony Wells, ceramics.
For the brochure, map and artist details, head to: pocklingtonareaopenstudios.co.uk/info.html.Free entry.
Touring play of the week: Frantic Assembly in Metamorphosis at York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
POET, author, broadcaster and speaker Lemn Sissay has adapted Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis for Frantic Assembly, visceral purveyors of theatre full of physicality, movement and emotional truths, who last toured Othello to York.
Gregor Samsa finds himself transformed from breadwinner into burden in this absurd and tragic story, wherein humans struggle within a system that crushes them under its heel in Kafka’s existential depiction of the limitations of the body and mind, imagination and aspiration. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Sing something synth-full: Howard Jones: Celebrating 40 Years 1983-2023, York Barbican, Wednesday, doors, 7pm
SINGER, songwriter and synth player Howard Jones, 68, is marking the 40th anniversary of his revolutionary debut single, New Song, performing in a five-piece with Kajagoogoo’s Nick Beggs on bass and Robert Boult on guitar. Expect a “sonic visual feast” of hits and fan favourites and a support spot from Blancmange.
“I think my ’80s’ work still resonates through the generations because of the positive message in the lyrics,” says Jones. “I’ve always believed that music can give the listener a boost, especially when things in life prove challenging. Things can only get better when we realise the power of our own actions and engagement.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
More 40th anniversary celebrations: The Waterboys, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm
MIKE Scott has made a habit of playing York Barbican, laying on his Scottish-founded folk, rock, soul and blues band’s “Big Music” in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and October 2021.
Since then, The Waterboys have released 15th studio album All Souls Hill in 2022; re-released 2000’s Rock In A Weary Land, 2003’s Universal Hall and 2007’s Book Of Lightning on vinyl; appeared on Sky Arts’ The Great Songwriters and announced a six-CD box set of This Is The Sea for early 2024. Joining Scott will be Memphis keyboard player “Brother” Paul Brown, British drummer Ralph Salmins and Irish bassman Aongus Ralston.
Level 42’s Living It Up tour date on Friday the 13th is unlucky for some – it has sold out – but tickets are still available for fellow Eighties’ combo The Waterboys at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Spooky screening of the week: Book Of Monsters and Zomblogalypse, Spark: York, Piccadilly, York, Friday, 6pm to 11pm
YORK’S horror filmmaking community gathers this Friday The 13th for a special double screening of Dark Rift Horror’sBook Of Monsters and MilesTone Films’Zomblogalypse.
Both York-made indie films have enjoyed award-scooping film festival tours, with Dark Rift’s follow-up feature, How To Kill Monsters,now screening internationally.
Meet the filmmakers, cast and crew of each movie, including directors Stewart Sparke, Hannah Bungard, Miles Watts and Tony Hipwell and star Lyndsey Craine. Add in signings, photo opportunities with cast and props, and merchandise to buy, including both films on Blu-ray, official posters, art cards and other fun stuff. Box office: ticketpass.org/event/EGUKTC/dark-rift-double-bill. 18-plus only.
In Focus: How York composer James Williamson, artist Romey T Brough and Croatian accordionist Franko Bozac collaborated for Late Music premiere and Blossom Street Gallery exhibition
YORK composer James Williamson’s composition, Romey Collages, will be premiered by accordionist Franko Bozac as part of the 2023 York Late Festival season today.
The work is a collaboration between James and artist Romey T Brough that emerged from him seeing her work at Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York.
Romey, who lived and worked in York for many years, now resides at her studio in the Hertfordshire countryside. Her latest collages will be on show at Kim Oldfield’s gallery until October 29 under the exhibition title of A Collaboration in Music and Colour
“It’s a really interesting exploration of the relationship between the audible and visual,” says Kim.
Croatian accordion virtuoso Franko Bozac will be making his Late Music debut at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel this afternoon, when Romey Collages will be showcased.
Composer James Williamson says: “This set of five pieces is a direct response to a set of monoprint collages by Romey. I first came across her work in 2016 in Blossom Street Gallery, where one of Romey’s collages was displayed on the wall and it immediately caught my eye.
“The collage was a vibrant display of repeated strips of colours, each strip with its own character, yet similar to the one before and after; a kind of self-similarity.”
At the time, James was working towards his PhD in composition, which drew on minimalist visual art and a fascination with the Deleuzian idea of difference and repetition and how might this apply to composing.
“To cut a long story short, I contacted Romey through the gallery to learn more about her work. We immediately connected over a coffee and thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on a project,” says James.
“Romey then created a series of five collages that drew inspiration from music, with each work having a musical title: Chaconne, Aubade, Nocturne, Pastorale and Berceuse. I then responded to these works and created a set of five pieces, each one being a musical interpretation of the works and their titles.
“Like most of my recent work, I use one or two ideas in each piece. I flesh these ideas out using repetition of singular fragments or phrases, juxtaposed by other contrasting fragments, similarly to Romey’s collages.”
Around the same time, James was contacted by Franko Bozac to commission a new piece. “I thought it would be great to tie the two projects together. I have always loved the accordion for its sound and versatility, and rather fittingly, when the bellows open up, it reminds me of collages themselves.”
In turn, Romey recalls: “I had a phone call from Kim, when I was exhibiting my monoprint collages in Blossom Street Gallery, saying that a young composer was interested in meeting me as he composed music the way I created my collages.
“I was very intrigued, and we met up for coffee outside York Theatre Royal. I hadn’t heard any of James’s compositions but was amazed by how we both could understand each other’s creative processes, and when he suggested a collaboration I was delighted to agree.”
On the bus back to her York studio, she thought of moods of the day from dawn to night. “Early the next day I travelled to Monks Cross on a very misty morning and Aubade/Dawn came to me,” she says. “The rest followed on, culminating in Nocturne/Night, inspired by the view from my studio through an established beech hedge of car headlights flashing past.
“I have since then indulged in listening to James’s compositions and created more collages inspired by his work. It’s been an exciting collaboration for me, and I hope to continue creating music-inspired images.”
Describing her modus operandi, Romey says: “My monoprints are created by painting with acrylic paint onto glass; the image is then transferred to paper. The glass is wiped clean each time a print is taken, therefore each one is unique.
“The collages are a development following on from the photographic ones I occasionally create. I am fascinated by how reorganising strips of my monoprints can bring more intensity to the colours and evoke memories and emotions.”
DrJames Williamson: the back story
STUDIED at University of Huddersfield and Royal Academy of Music, completing PhD in Composition at University of York.
His works have been performed by: Psappha; Aurora Orchestra; Hebrides Ensemble; London Sinfonietta; CoMA London; Croatian Philharmonic Orchestra; Lunar Saxophone Quartet; Delta Saxophone Quartet; Quatuor Diotima; Ligeti String Quartet; University of York Symphony Orchestra; RAM Symphony Orchestra; Kate Ledger (piano); Anna Snow (voice); Ian Pace (piano), Franko Bozac (accordion) and Stephen Altoft (19-division trumpet).
Broadcasts include BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and Hear And Now, Beethoven FM (Chile) and Radio 3 Beograd.
Romey T. Brough: the back story
STUDIED initially at Harrow Art School in Middlesex, north of London. Awarded various certificates including national Diploma in Design.
Studied overseas in Italy in Positano, winning a scholarship. Studied with Professor Spadini at Rome Academy.
Work exhibited regularly at Royal Academy, London, and is in archives of Tate Gallery, London, and galleries and collections throughout UK, Japan, Australia and United States of America.
WHO better than the Delta Saxophone Quartet to give York Late Music’s 2023-2024 concert season early momentum on Saturday?
A double celebration this weekend will mark not only 40 years of Late Music, but also the ruby anniversary of the Delta musicians, regular participants in the York series.
Saturday’s 7.30pm programme at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, will be “typically Delta-eclectic”, featuring the music of Steve Martland, The Soft Machine and some new works.
The new series will begin on Friday at 1.30pm when bass singer Stuart O’Hara and pianist Marianna Cortesi take a tour through some of the finest English songs from the past decade: works by La Monte Young, Richard Rodney Bennett and Jonathan Harvey, complemented by world premieres of York composers’ settings of words by local poets.
On Friday evening, Late Music will pose the intriguing question: would you attend a concert where all the music was played twice? Would it help you appreciate the music more? Late Music wants to discover the answers in Ruth Lee’s innovative concert of music for harp and electronics. This one is a free/pay-what-you-like event. You could even choose to pay twice!
If your knowledge of accordion is limited to scene-setting via Hollywood movie conceptions of Paris – as sent up by American filmmaker Woody Allen in Everyone Says I Love You – Saturday’s lunchtime concert will put you right.
Virtuoso Franko Bozac will showcase the reasons why this instrument should not be underestimated in his 1pm programme, featuring a collaboration between composer James Williamson and visual artist Romey T Brough, presented in tandem with Blossom Street Gallery, York.
November 4’s lunchtime concert will be a tribute to Dylan Thomas to mark the 70th anniversary of his death. Tenor Christopher Gorman and pianist David Pipe will present new settings of the Welshman’s poetry by composers Philip Grange, Sadie Harrison, Hayley Jenkins, David Lancaster and Rhian Samuel at 1pm.
In the evening, Beethoven will feature via Franz Liszt piano transcriptions, played by another Late Music favourite, Ian Pace. His 7.30pm programme will include Michael Finnissy’s Gershwin song transcriptions and Late Music concert administrator Steve Crowther’s Piano Sonata No. 4. Box office: latemusic.org.
PRIDE is loud and proud this weekend in a city full of ideas, heated politics and apocalyptic music, as recommended by Charles Hutchinson.
Diverse celebration of the week: York Pride, city-centre parade at 12 noon, followed by festival until after-hours on Knavesmire
NORTH Yorkshire’s largest LGBT+ celebration sets out on a parade march from Duncombe Place, outside York Minster, processing along Bishopthorpe Road to the festival site on Knavesmire.
Hosted by Sordid Secret and Mamma Bear, the Main Stage welcomes Claire Richards, from Steps, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK finalist Kitty Scott-Claus. Plenty more acts take to the YOI Radio Stage and Family Area and the new Queer Arts Cabaret Tent (1.30pm to 7pm, headlined by York’s pink-attired Beth McCarthy). Full festival details at: yorkpride.org.uk.
Festival of the week and beyond: York Festival of Ideas 2023, until June 15
THIS University of York co-ordinated festival invites you to Rediscover, Reimagine, Rebuild in a programme of more than 150 free in-person and online events designed to educate, entertain and inspire.
Meet world-class speakers, experience performances, join entertaining family activities, explore York on guided tours and more! Topics range from archaeology to art, history to health and politics to psychology. Study the festival programme at yorkfestivalofideas.com.
Don’t myth it: The Flanagan Collective in The Gods The Gods The Gods, York Theatre Royal, tonight, 7.30pm; Slung Low at Temple, Water Lane, Holbeck, Leeds, tomorrow, 7.30pm (outdoor performance); Hull Truck Theatre, Stage One, June 29,7.30pm
WRIGHT & Grainger’s myth-making The Gods The Gods The Gods is performed as a 12-track album in an exhilarating weave of big beats, heavy basslines, soaring melodies and heart-stopping spoken word. In the absence of co-creators Alexander Flanagan-Wright and Megan Drury in New York and Australia respectively, Easingwold birthday boy Phil Grainger, 34 today, will be joined by Oliver Towse and Lucinda Turner from the West End original cast of Wright’s The Great Gatsby.
The 65-minute performance links stories of two youngsters who meet when out dancing, destined to fall hard; a woman on a beach, alone at night, looking at the stars, and a bloke on a bridge, thinking about jumping, just before dark, all at the crossroads where mythology meets real life. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Leeds, slunglow.org; Hull, 01482 323638 or hulltruck.co.uk.
Comedy gig of the week: Patrick Monahan, Classy, Pocklington Arts Centre, tonight, 8pm
IN a world of groups, hierarchies and class systems, everyone tries so hard to fit in. What’s wrong with being a misfit? Be you, be proud!
From the caravan to the middle-class neighbourhood, Irish-Iranian comedian Patrick Monahan, 46, has taken four decades to realise this. Time for the Edinburgh Fringe regular to pass on his observations on living his contemporary life alongside stories of his upbringing. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Apocalypse now: Late Music presents Late Music Ensemble, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, tonight, 7.30pm
YORK Late Music concludes its 2022-23 season on a spectacular – if not entirely optimistic! – note tonight when the Late Music Ensemble, conducted by Nick Williams, opens up the End Of The World Jukebox.
Composers and players re-imagine the pop songs they would like to hear if Armageddon were nigh in arrangements of Imogen Heap’s Hide And Seek, David Bowie’s Warszawa, Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye and Bob Dylan’s Cat’s In The Well. The Beatles will be represented by The End from Abbey Road, alongside new works by Christopher Fox and Anthony Adams.
Williams’s nine-strong ensemble promises a broad musical spectrum through the presence of Edwina Smith (flute, piccolo), Jonathan Sage (clarinet, bass clarinet), Iain Harrison and Lucy Havelock (saxophones), Murphy McCaleb (bass trombone), Kate Ledger (piano, toy piano, voice), Tim Brooks (keyboards, piano), Catherine Strachan (cello) and Anna Snow (voice).
Due to unforeseen circumstances, today’s lunchtime concert by Stuart O’Hara has been postponed. It will, however, be rescheduled in the 2023-24 season, whose programme will be announced in the next few months.
While the End of the World cannot be avoided, York Late Music adminstrator Steve Crowther is an optimist who believes that, for now at least, the end is no nigher. A 6.45pm, pre-concert talk by Christopher Fox includes a complimentary glass of wine or fruit juice. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.
Folk gig of the week: Spiers & Boden, The Crescent, York, Wednesday, doors 7.30pm
THIS weekend the focus falls on the City of York Roland Walls Folk Weekend at the Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green. Meanwhile, the organisers, the Black Swan Folk Club, have teamed up with The Crescent to present Bellowhead big band cohorts Spiers & Boden in a seated concert next week.
John Spiers and Jon Boden re-formed their instrumental duo in 2021 after a seven-year hiatus to release the album Fallow Ground. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Defiant gig of the week: Mike Peters presents The Alarm (Acoustic), The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
AFTER a year of health challenges, The Alarm leader Mike Peters returns to the stage this spring with a new album set for release in the summer.
Co-founder of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, the 64-year-old Welshman will be performing a one-man band electro-acoustic set list of songs from all four decades of The Alarm discography. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Troubadour of the week: Steve Earle, The Alone Again Tour, Grand Opera House, York, Friday, 7.30pm
AS his tour title suggests, legendary Americana singer, songwriter, producer, actor, playwright, novelist, short story writer and radio presenter Steve Earle will be performing solo and acoustic in York: the only Yorkshire gig of a ten-date itinerary without his band The Dukes that will take in the other Barbican, in London, and Glastonbury.
Born in Fort Monroae National Monument, Hampton, Virginia, Earle grew up in Texas and began his songwriting career in Nashville, releasing his first EP in 1982 and debut album Guitar Town in 1986, since when he has branched out from country music into rock, bluegrass, folk music and blues. Box office: atgtickets.com/york
Brass at full blast: Shepherd Group Brass Band: Stage And Screen, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, June 10, 7pm
SHEPHERD Group Brass Band’s late-spring concert showcases music from across the repertoire of stage and screen, featuring five bands from the York organisation, ranging from beginners to championship groups, culminating with a grand finale from all the bands. Tickets update: only the last few are still available on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Power play: Royal Shakespeare Company in Julius Caesar, York Theatre Royal, June 13 to 17, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and Saturday matinees
ATRI Banerjee directs this fast-paced political thriller on the RSC’s return to York Theatre Royal in a fresh interpretation of Julius Caesar with a female Brutus (Thalissa Teixeira) and non-binary Cassius (Annabel Baldwin) that asks: how far would we go for our principles?
Concerned that divisive leader Julius Caesar (Nigel Barrett) poses a threat to democracy, revolutionaries take the violent decision to murder him but without a plan for what happens next. As the world spins out of control, chaos, horror and superstition rush in to fill the void. Civil war erupts and a new leader must rise, but at what cost? Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
FROM a dead-cool musical to a ‘Sueperfan’, a Strictly ten to guitar pyrotechnics, Charles Hutchinson has tips on how to have a better week.
School outing of the week: Heathers The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees
WELCOME to Westerberg High, 1989, where Veronica Sawyer (played by Jenna Innes) is just another nobody craving a better day, until she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers. Now her dreams of popularity may finally come true.
Enter mysterious teen rebel Jason ‘JD’ Dean (Jacob Fowler), who teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody in Andy Fickman’s touring production with electrifying choreography by Gary Lloyd. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Tributes of the week: York Late Music, Reginald Smith Brindle, 1pm today; Sir Harrison Birtwistle: A New Matrix, 7.30pm today, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York
YORK Late Music pays tribute to two British composers, both Lancastrian, one a major name, the other an unjustly forgotten figure surely due for a revival.
The lunchtime programme celebrates the work of Reginald Smith Brindle, best known for his solo guitar work. Guitarist Federico Pendenza plays four works by Smith Brindle, pieces by Poulenc and a Chris Gander world premiere.
The evening’s tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle, based around the clarinet, acknowledges the work of York musician Alan Hacker, his musical associate. Works by Birtwistle, Messaien and Peter Maxwell Davies will be complemented by short pieces composed following Birtwistle’s death in April 2021. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.
Guitar duo of the week: Lulo Reinhardt & Yuliya Lonskaya, National Centre for Early Music, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
LULO Reinhardt, from Koblenz, Germany, is the grandnephew of Django Reinhardt. As to be expected, Lulo has a repertoire of gypsy swing, but he has extended his musical horizons to embrace music from North Africa and India.
Yuliya Lonskaya, from Mogilev, Belarus, performs her own style of classic, folk, jazz and bossa nova arrangements. Together they make beautiful music. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Singer-songwriter gig of the week: Katie Melua, Love & Money Tour, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm
KATIE Melua, the Georgian-born, West London-based singer-songwriter, returns to York Barbican to promote her ninth album, March 2023’s Love & Money, 20 years on from her chart-topping debut, Call Off The Search.
Melua, 38, will combine such hits as The Closest Thing To Crazy, Call Off The Search, Nine Million Bicycles and If You Were A Sailboat, with songs from the new release. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Sue Perkins superfan of the week: In PurSUEt, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday, 8pm
IN Eleanor Higgins’s LGBT confessional comedy drama, ‘Woman’ is seated in a therapist’s office, sent there to deal with her drink problem. But she does not have a problem and nor does she need therapy. She needs Sue Perkins. They are meant for each other. If only Sue could see that too, but how can she when she is too busy being a celebrity?
‘Woman’ sets out in pursuit of her love, following Sue’s every move online, breaking in backstage at the BBC. But can she keep it all together while battling her out-of control boozing? Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Conversation of the week: Chris Singleton in How To Be A Better Human, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm
THIS spoken-word comedy about grief and self-acceptance tells Chris Singleton’s story of losing two of the biggest relationships in his life – father and wife – in the space of a few months.
Directed by Tom Wright, Singleton uses PowerPoint comedy, autobiographical storytelling and poetry to open conversations on mental health. Finding lightness and humour in death, loss and divorce, he explores how we can lose everything but find strength to rebuild. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Dance show of the week: Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals, York Barbican, Friday (sold out) and May 31, 7.30pm
TEN Strictly professionals – count’em – partner up for a tour directed by the BBC show’s creative director, Jason Gilkison, promising “world-class dance, stunning choreography and sparkling sets and costumes”.
In the theatrical ensemble will be: Dianne Buswell; Vito Coppola; Carlos Gu; Karen Hauer; Neil Jones; Nikita Kuzmin; Gorka Marquez; Luba Mushtuk; Jowita Przystal and Nancy Xu. Tickets for the second performance are still available at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Guitars galore: Oxley-Meier Guitar Project, National Centre for Early Music, York, May 18, 7.30pm
THE Oxley-Meier Guitar Project head for York with a new album ready for release. In the line-up are Pete Oxley and Nick Meier, guitars, Raph Mizraki, bass and percussion, and Paul Cavaciuti, drums, who specialise in melodically and texturally driven contemporary jazz.
Oxley-Meier bring ten differing guitars to each concert, including fretless nylon, acoustic and electric 12-strings, sitar-guitar and 11-string fretless. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.