JdP Music Building
St Hilda's College

Concert Archive

The JdP music building as played host to an array of unique and outstanding performances. You can view the concert programmes from pervious years below.


I am writing to welcome you to the JdP’s concert series this year. This is the 125th Anniversary of St Hilda’s College, and the JdP is thrilled to be hosting four days of concerts and events which will initiate a whole year of college celebrations. The four days will be framed by two outstanding concerts – the jazz composer Zoe Rahman’s solo piano concert on Saturday 17 February and Steven Isserlis’s recital of music by Shostakovich and Rachmaninov for cello and piano – that form part of a JdP concert ticket special offer (see page 9). The celebrations will feature our finest student performers, and the world premiere of a new commission. We are delighted that our alumna, the composer Nicola LeFanu, has written a cantata ‘St Hilda’ for choir and orchestra.

These celebrations highlight the development of the JdP’s own mission. The music building was opened in 1995 to bring outstanding classical concerts to Oxford. This season’s concerts of chamber music from the Piatti and Kreutzer Quartets and piano concerts from Jonathan Powell and Tim Horton maintain this sense of purpose. Yet the JdP’s active engagement with academia has also led to new possibilities for exploration and enquiry – such as the remarkably successful DANSOX lecture series convened by Professor Sue Jones (see page 12) and the first-ever series of contemporary music workshops, lectures and concerts entitled ‘Liveness, Hybridity and Noise’ (see page 4) funded by the John Fell Foundation and Arts Council England. The JdP’s new LIVESTREAM service and on-demand archive means that all these events, and many of our concerts can be watched online, prefaced by a pre-concert talk. The JdP’s setting on the cusp of East Oxford also makes it an ideal venue for engaging with the local community, as shown by our series of Children’s Cushion Concerts, our ‘Aladdin’ pantomime and the Moving Music series.

At a time of great change, I am proud that the JdP is disseminating new ideas, and sponsoring the creation of new artistic work, as shown by the MASH Marathon, the Opera Double Bill and the exciting collaboration of Rambert Dance and Ensemble Klang on 6 July (see page 13).

Martyn Harry
Artistic Director

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It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the JdP’s concert series this year. An undoubted highlight will be Steven Isserlis’ and Alasdair Beatson’s concert on 1st December, the latest fruit of a continuing association between Steven, our patron, and the JdP. Since the JdP acoustic is so well-suited for piano music, we are profiling the great national piano traditions of six countries— France, Germany, Poland, Spain, America and Russia—in six concerts spread across the year.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary both of Debussy’s death, and of the declaration of Polish independence. The former is marked by Bernard D’Ascoli’s fascinating ‘Debussy in Perspective’ programme (Franck, Ravel, Chopin, Debussy), whereas the Poland-based English pianist, Jonathan Powell, presents a programme of Chopin and Szymanowski at the beginning of Hilary Term. Two further programmes feature the experimental pianism of Ives, Crawford Seeger and Nancarrow (America, 10th November 2018) and of Roslavets, Lourie and Volkonsky (Russia, 17th May 2019).

We are delighted to invite back the internationally-renowned lutenist, Elizabeth Kenny, to the JdP for the first of a series of concerts with her group, Theatre of the Ayre. Her programme of 17th century revolutionary English vocal music created during the Interregnum throws interesting light on a period of great political turmoil. Finally, the JdP is particularly excited to host two performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s pulsating jazz/classical fusion masterwork, ‘Blood on the Floor’ in an ambitious collaboration between the OU Jazz Orchestra and the OU Sinfonietta.

Martyn Harry
Artistic Director

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The 2019-2020 season marks the start of an exciting new development for the JdP – the Villiers Quartet is to become its first ensemble-in-residence, to be held jointly with the Oxford Mathematical Institute. The Villiers is renowned not only for its marvelously warm sound and insightful performances of classical repertoire, but for its advocacy of British 20th Century music. During its residency the Quartet will play two concerts a year at the JdP as well as a summer concert at the Andrew Wiles Building; their artistic plans include recording the complete quartets of Elizabeth Maconchy at the JdP. Two other undoubted highlights are the Steven Isserlis / Stephen Hough Brahms concert on Saturday 30th December as well as “La Conversation”, the leap year concert presented by lutenist and theorbo player Elizabeth Kenny, who is St Hilda’s College’s Senior Research Fellow. Jonathan Powell is presenting three concerts of 19th and 20th century Russian music with the extraordinary Estonian mezzosoprano, Iris Oja, joining him in the third concert for a programme of songs by Musorgsky and Rachmaninoff.

The JdP continues to provide an exciting conduit for research at all levels of St Hilda’s College with a particular emphasis on dance, contemporary music and opera. Dansox (pages 16-17 below) continues its innovative work on world-leading choreographers with the Richard Alston event on 21st January 2020, and introduces for the first time a course for young composers and choreographers led by Joelle Pappas and Joseph Kay. 2020 is also the year of the first-ever EXPO new music mini-festival, focusing on ecology and climate studies. In November the JdP will host the latest project from Oxford Contemporary Opera Society, provisionally entitled “Current Status: Under Construction”. Finally, a special message of thanks to the JdP’s manager, Joel Baldwin, who is leaving after five years in order to move with his family to Wales. Joel was the driving force behind the LiveStreaming service and the pantomimes for young children, such as “Winnie and Wilbur” which ran for sixteen sold-out performances last Christmas; we wish him well.

Martyn Harry
Artistic Director

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After an enforced two-year break which has only reinforced the value of live performance and the opportunities afforded by a special concert hall acoustic such as that of the JdP, it is a real pleasure to introduce you once more to the JdP’s concert series this year. Transcriptions and reworkings of existing musical works have become a focus to our concert life, and are a particular feature of the coming artistic season. Steven Isserlis’s concert on 22nd April presents Steven’s own transcription of Robert Schumann’s 1851 second violin sonata in dialogue with another work composed in the same year, Ignaz Moscheles’s E major cello sonata.

We are also thrilled to welcome back our former student, Ewan Millar, for a performance Cesar Franck’s violin sonata transcribed for oboe, and the exceptional baritone singer and cellist, Simon Wallfisch, for a concert of transcriptions of works by Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. Lully and Purcell form the basis for transformation and recomposition in my own project, ‘50/50’, which is being brought to Oxford’s Holywell Music Room by the French baroque ensemble, Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu.

Another theme of this year’s season is artistic collaboration, and it is really thrilling to welcome St Hilda’s College’s Senior Research Fellow, the violist Rosalind Ventris, for a concert of music by women composers that is presented in association with the Oxford Lieder Festival in October. The work of Elizabeth Maconchy and Eleanor Alberga also features in the programming of our associated artists, the Villiers Quartet, in the first two concerts of the Villiers’ much-anticipated Late Beethoven series.

We are also pleased to welcome the great English saxophonist, John Harle, who will bring his saxophone quartet and Bauhaus Band to Oxford for the next few years to focus on the music of Weill, Eisler and other composers who moved in Bertholt Brecht’s orbit. In addition to these exciting musical events, the JdP is proud to continue their interdisciplinary collaborations with internationally renowned artists such as choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh, poet Alice Oswald, and writer and scholar Marina Warner.

Of particular note will be Jonathan Powell’s concert in November in which he plays the complete piano sonatas of the great Russian mystical composer, Alexander Scriabin, in one evening. In January he returns to the JdP to present the work of two German-speaking Czech composers whose work has become the focus of much research and speculation in recent years – Hans Winterberg and Viktor Ulmann. The Powell concerts will be associated with pre-concert talks by eminent experts in Russian and Czech music respectively, emphasising how the JdP programme as a whole sits at the crossroads between outstanding live performance and engaging academic research.
Professor Martyn Harry

Martyn Harry
Artistic Director

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It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 2023-24 JdP season. Last year was notably successful: there was a palpable sense of return to normal musical life and a pleasing resurgence in audiences at our venue generally. Our new season accordingly builds on this momentum with a mixture of old and new.

The Villiers Quartet embodied both qualities last year through their exciting new line-up of players, and their wonderfully acute performances of the Beethoven late quartets. The quartet concludes its cycle with three further concerts at the JdP this season, with their final one on Saturday 11th May focussing solely on Beethoven’s extraordinary Große Fuge.

2023 is also the fiftieth anniversary of the great Catalan cellist, Pablo Casals. We have chosen to commemorate this with two cello concerts: Steven Isserlis’s special programme on Casal’s legacy in October, and Florian Berner’s Bach Six Cello Suites recital in November.

The Villiers’ concert programmes reflect our own continued focus on the music of women composers. This is shown by the performances of music by Rainier, Maconchy, Mitchener, Gowland, Saunders and Musaelian throughout the year. Please hold February 23rd in your diary for the remarkable Elena Fischer-Dieskau’s debut concert at the JdP, featuring music by Mel Bonis and Clara Schumann.

What has changed? The new emphasis on jazz, early and contemporary music this year. The Gwilym Simcock concert on March 2nd 2024 is the JdP’s first collaboration with the university’s jazz orchestra OUJO.

We are holding concerts at The Small Chapel @ St Giles for the first time. Its beautiful acoustic, stillness and intimacy makes it perfect for early music and quiet instruments such as the lute. If you are in town on Tuesday 12th September 2023, do make an effort to attend Duo Oriana's recital. The wonderfully talented Intesa duo concludes our artistic season on Friday 7th June 2024 with its recital for two viola da gambas.

Now is also an incredibly exciting time for new music generally at the University of Oxford. We have decided to reflect this with a renewed emphasis on contemporary music at the JdP: watch out for our first-ever January new music festival in 2024; our series of Ensemble Isis <edge> concerts profiling the music of Christian Mason and Elaine Mitchener; Chris Ferebee’s beautiful ‘Nightjar Songs’ in May; and five other concerts profiling the work of our talented student composers here at Oxford.

Martyn Harry
Artistic Director

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