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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

A flurry of winter concerts

Published: 8 December 2010

The early snow may have disrupted transport, but festive events in Music have taken off this week.

December's concert marathon began last weekend with Southampton University Symphony Orchestra's two performances of John Adams, Bartók, and Tchaikovsky's violin concerto, with young Savitri Grier as their inspirational soloist. On Sunday 5, many of the same players battled the elements following their afternoon concert to meet department students and staff, and members of the City of Southampton Orchestra, for a performance of part I of Handel's Messiah in the ancient church of St Michael the Archangel, Bugle Street. Music joined forces with three city-centre churches in organising the event, raising around £1,500 for charities Christian Aid and CAFOD.

Minutes after Messiah's standing ovation, Music's three-day New Works Festival was underway. The celebration of contemporary music kicked off on Sunday evening at the Turner Sims when Michael Finnissy and Rolf Hind performed works for piano. The programme included music by Xenakis, Finnissy, Hind and Michael Zev Gordon alongside world premieres of student composers' works.

The festival continued with workshops, forums and lunchtime and evening performances at Turner Sims and the John Hansard Gallery, including visits by Irish musicians Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea, Netherlands-based group Modelo62, the UK's Richard Watkins, Alexandra Wood and Huw Watkins, culminating on Tuesday evening with a performance by Jane Chapman and Angela Space. The first of its kind in Southampton, the New Works Festival proved a great success and managed to premiere 15 new works written especially for the three-day event.

On Thursday 9 December Music steps back two centuries when oboes and bassoons from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment join forces with university double reed players in a workshop on music for eighteenth-century oboe bands. They will play in the foyer of Turner Sims as a festive entry to the OAE's performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio at 8pm.

Finally, Music's two lunchtime concert series bring term to a close on Friday 10 and Monday 13 December. On Friday listeners can hear Music students performing festive music and have a chance to join in the holiday spirit with carol singing, wine and mince pies (and perhaps a visit from a red-suited special someone . . .). Kate Williams brings her quintet to Turner Sims on Monday to perform some standards and original music from her latest CD The Embrace for those who just want to chill out and enjoy some jazz at the end of a very busy term.

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