The work of Pinxton musician Graham Hall will take centre stage at Sinfonia Viva’s Timeless Classics concert at Derby Cathedral next week with the premiere of orchestrations of two well-known pieces.
Graham is Sinfonia’s principal timpanist and an accomplished arranger and orchestrator.
He has created new versions of two of the greatest 20th Century blockbusters of classical music – Mahler’s 1st Symphony and Ravel’s String Quartet.
They will be performed for the first time by the Orchestra at the evening concert under the baton of Sinfonia’s principal conductor Duncan Ward.
Graham is one of the Orchestra’s original players when it started life as the East of England Orchestra 34 years ago.
Born in 1960, Graham studied at the Royal Academy of Music under the watchful eye of James Blades.
On leaving London he taught for two years in Nottingham as a peripatetic percussion tutor before going freelance as a player in 1984.
He has worked with many orchestras in the UK as well as Sinfonia Viva, including the City of
Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Opera North where he held the position of sub-principal percussion for nearly 25 years.
Graham will, unfortunately, not be performing in this concert as he suffered a stroke 14 months ago.
He said: “I was encouraged to develop my arranging work by Sinfonia Viva and my work has been featured in previous New Year’s Eve Gala Concerts at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall and at the Darley Park concerts.
“This has been by far my most ambitious piece of arranging work commissioned by Sinfonia Viva.
“I am looking forward to the performance and feedback from the players and audience alike.
“Since the stroke, my playing has moved onto the back burner but it has been a chance to re-orchestrate my life and increase my music preparation work.
“Everyone at Viva has been very kind and supportive and this concert is a great start to this new phase of my life.”
Duncan Ward added: “I am delighted that Graham’s skills will come to the fore in the March concert.
“With great sensitivity and flair, Graham has distilled Mahler’s epic symphonic forces down to an ensemble of just 16 players – allowing us to revel in the chamber-music style counterpoint that drives this cosmically revelatory musical voyage.
“The ‘Hall magnifying glass’ is applied in the opposite direction for the Ravel.
“In this case he imagines the wider palette of sonic colours the French master may have employed had he composed this heavenly music not for string quartet but for one of every instrument in the orchestra.”
The concert is on Wednesday, March 2 at 7.30pm and tickets are £10 (£18 concessions, £17 if previously booked alongside Sinfonia’s January concert) on 01332 255800, online at www.derbylive.co.uk or in person at the Assembly Rooms box office.