ENTERPRISE is what has marked out the latest season for Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra and that continues with its next big concert.
The orchestra returns to Huddersfield Town Hall on Saturday January 17 with a concert they’ve called Dance, Drama, Song. And for orchestral players it doesn’t come much more enterprising than that.
The programme is typical of the SPO’s innovative approach to concerts. It begins (7.30pm) with Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and will end with the mighty 5th Symphony by Shostakovich. In between these two 20th century masterpieces will be a rare performance of Six Songs by Richard Strauss.
The orchestra’s conductor Benjamin Ellin said: “The 5th Symphony of Shostakovich is a modern classic. It was written by a man who as a central Russian artist during the reign of Stalin found his work and his own life very much under the watchful eye of the state and is hence shrouded in mystery.
“Stravinsky was another composer whose resilience and genius made him difficult to predict. Sandwiched between these two musical giants is another rather major name, Richard Strauss. Though famous for his tone poems, it is in his vocal writing that we see real talents of a composer who of himself declared that I am the best composer of second rate music! Harsh? You decide for yourself.”
Born in Bolton, Benjamin is in his first season as conductor of Slaithwaite Philharmonic. He studied at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, where he graduated in 2002 after studying composition with John Woolrich.
He now combines careers as a conductor and composer and is passionate about working with music and musicians from other cultures. Most recently, he collaborated with Syrian musician Louai Alhenawi.
In addition to his work with Slaithwaite Philharmonic, Benjamin is artistic director and principal conductor of Every Music For EveryBody, music director of the Seychelles International Festival of Music and director of music at the Pembroke Academy of Music, London. He has worked with many major orchestras and recorded his own compositions.
The soloist in the Strauss Songs is the talented young Russian-born soprano, Ilona Domnich. Ilona was born in St Petersburg and raised in Israel. Supported by major scholarships, she studied at the St Petersburg School of Music, Jerusalem Academy of Music, and with Vera Rosza at the Royal College of Music, supported by the prestigious Wingate scholarship.
Ilona is fast establishing a career in opera, as a recitalist and in oratorio. Her recent and future engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with The Tiffin Boys’ choir, master-class with Montserrat Caballe in Zaragosa and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with UEA Symphony Orchestra and Choir.
Tickets are £9.50 to £14.50 from the Albion Street Information Centre on 01484 223200. The orchestra also offers free admission for children and students accompanied by adults.
There will be a free pre-concert talk in the main concert hall at 6.30pm.