Women in Music @RCM Fanny Mendelssohn, Sofya Gulyak, Laura Snowden & Joo Yeon Sir

Another of the manuscripts in the collection – Morgengruss by Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn): manuscript image courtesy of Staatsbibliothek, Berlin

BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting a special Women in Music concert ‘Live to Air’ from the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall at the Royal College of Music in London on Wednesday 8 March 2017 at 1pm. The pianist Sofya Gulyak will give the UK première of a major piano sonata by Fanny Mendelssohn, the Easter Sonata.

The Easter Sonata (Ostersonate) has only recently been rediscovered. The manuscripts of Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn, 1805–1847) are now a part of the Mendelssohn Archive at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. She composed around 500 works. Many of these manuscripts remained with the family, until they were given to the library in 1964.

However, Angela Pace, a PhD student from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, made the discovery through examining the manuscript owned by a private collector in France. Although the work had been recorded in the 1970s, it was wrongly attributed to her younger brother, Felix Mendelssohn. The first modern performance of the Easter Sonata attributed to Fanny Hensel was on 7 September 2012 by pianist Andrea Lam at Duke University.

The International Women’s Day performance at the Royal College of Music, London will mark the UK première of the Easter Sonata. It will be performed by Sofya Gulyak, who was awarded First Prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the 2009 Leeds International Piano Competition – the first woman in the history of the competition to achieve this distinction.

Sofya Gulyak will also be playing Sofia Gubaidulina’s Chaconne (1962) for solo piano.

Also performing in this lunchtime recital are the duo of violinist Joo Yeon Sir with guitarist Laura Snowden featuring the première of Scherzo for violin and guitar by Joo Yeon Sir, which has been inspired by Fanny Mendelssohn’s Easter Sonata. The duo will also perform Laura Snowden’s Five Impressions.

The BBC Radio 3 broadcast from the Royal College of Music on Wednesday 8 March 2017 to mark International Women’s Day, can be found at: BBC RADIO 3

The International Women’s Day celebrations continue at the Royal College of Music with an evening recital featuring the UK première of Germaine Tailleferre’s Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra performed by the Nova Guitar Duo (Nelly von Alven and Luiz Mantovani) and the première of Nalepastraße by Maeve McCarthy performed by the Meraki Guitar Quartet:  Will Scott, Matt House, Elizabeth Parkes and Kristian Richardson.

The programme also includes the Snowden-Sir Duo (Laura Snowden guitar and Joo Yeon Sir violin) performing Five Impressions by Laura Snowden and Paganinia by Joo Yeon Sir; and guitarist Chloe Murphy and cellist Jo Dee Yeoh performing the Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos in the Britten Theatre at 7.30pm. More details. Tickets.


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