Critically-acclaimed pianist Mark Bebbington performs John Ireland’s Piano Sonata, written just after the First World War, before joining the Coull Quartet to perform piano quintets by Ian Venables and Brahms.
This concert is kindly supported by the RVW Trust and John Ireland Trust.
Roger Coull (violin)
Philip Gallaway (violin)
Jonathan Barritt (viola)
Nicholas Roberts (cello)
Mark Bebbington (piano)
Ireland Piano Sonata
Ian Venables Piano Quintet Op. 27
Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor Op. 34
The critical plaudits that have greeted Mark Bebbington’s performances and recordings have singled him out as a British pianist of the rarest refinement and maturity. Internationally recognised as a champion of British music in particular, Mark has recorded extensively for the SOMM ‘New Horizons’ label to unanimous critical acclaim. His last seven releases have been awarded consecutive sets of five-star reviews in BBC Music Magazine and his most recent CD , ‘The Piano Music of Vaughan Williams’ reached No. 3 in the UK Classical Charts where it remained for eight weeks.
Mark’s premiere recordings include Bax’s Piano Concertino coupled with Ireland’s Piano Concerto and Legend, and premieres of Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia and Mathias’s first two Piano Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra. In addition to concerto recordings, in 2017 Mark completed his Ireland and Bridge solo piano series and released a CD of Alwyn’s piano works. As well as his BBC Music Magazine success, he has won Gramophone magazine’s Editor’s Choice, International Record Review’s ‘Outstanding’ accolade and many others.
Over recent seasons Mark has toured throughout Europe and the USA (both as recitalist and as soloist with some of the world’s leading orchestras), as well as the Far East and North Africa. He recently gave the US premiere of Richard Strauss’s ‘Parergon’ for the Left Hand at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra and Leon Botstein and gave masterclasses and recitals of British music at Bard College. In the UK he has performed concertos with the Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, the London Mozart Players, the Orchestra of the Swan and the BBC Concert Orchestra. He has featured both as soloist and recitalist on BBC television and radio, and on major European television and radio networks.
Mark studied at the Royal College of Music, where he was a recipient of numerous international awards and prizes including a Leverhulme Scholarship, a Winston Churchill Fellowship and the Ivan Sutton Recording Prize – the latter awarded to the one outstanding graduate of the combined London music colleges. He later studied in Paris and Italy with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini.
Mark’s programming demonstrates a commitment to the music of our time and he regularly includes contemporary composers as diverse as Toru Takemitsu, Julian Anderson, John McCabe, David Matthews, Pierre Boulez and Elliot Carter in his recital series. Forthcoming projects include continuing releases for the Somm label, appearances in major concert series and festivals both in the UK and throughout Europe and, closer to home, concerto performances with the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He recently completed a two-week tour with the Czech National Orchestra and Libor Pesek and returned to the USA for concerts with the Buffalo Philharmonic. In July 2017 Mark made his Israel debut tour with the Israel Camerata.
The Coull Quartet recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Formed in 1974 by students at the Royal Academy of Music under the guidance of renowned quartet leader, Sidney Griller, they rapidly achieved national recognition, and were appointed Quartet-in-Residence by the University of Warwick in 1977, a post which they still hold today. The Quartet, which includes two of its founder members, has performed and broadcast extensively throughout the UK, and has made many tours of Western Europe, the Americas, Australia, China, India and the Far East. During the 2015–16 season, their schedule includes concerts in Singapore and Iceland.
Since the mid-1980s the Coull Quartet has made over 30 recordings featuring a wide selection of the repertoire closest to their hearts, from the complete Mendelssohn and Schubert quartets to 20th century and contemporary British chamber music. Their CD of quartets by Maw and Britten on the Somm label has received universal acclaim; in addition to being featured in ‘Editor’s Choice’ in The Gramophone, it was also described as the ‘Benchmark Recording’ by BBC Music Magazine. Their recordings of music by Sibelius and Ian Venables have also received excellent reviews in the major musical publications.
Their impressive and unusual list of commissions includes works by Sally Beamish, Edward Cowie, Joe Cutler, David Matthews, Nicholas Maw, and Robert Simpson. These include string quartets, quintets with piano or wind instrument, works with solo voice or choir, and even a piece for quartet and table tennis players.
The rare combination of maturity and freshness which characterises the Quartet’s performances is often singled out by reviewers:
“Here the playing is so brimful with enthusiasm and commitment, and at the same time so infused with the accumulated wisdom of three decades, that the music simply reinvents itself as it should”. (The Strad)