Monday, 1 September 2014

Tunstead Church Norfolk - Orchestra of St Paul’s Covent Garden Concert 13 September

The 26-strong Orchestra of St Paul's Covent Garden (OSP), led by Ben Palmer, with three young Norfolk soloists, will be the first professional and largest orchestra to play at the 14th century St Mary's Church Tunstead, when it performs a concert there on Saturday 13 September starting at 7pm.

Victoria Bonham
Victoria Bonham (21) from Gorleston will give the first ever performance of Piano Concerto by Norfolk composer James Kenelm Clarke (73). James Clarke heard Victoria play at a concert last year and wrote the piece with her in mind. It is his first piano concerto.

Victoria is currently in her second year of the Guildhall Artist Masters Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She is a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire; for two seasons, beginning in September 2010, Victoria was the pianist and celeste player for the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Matt Dunnett (20) from Norwich will perform new work by James Clarke, singing five semi-autobiographical songs: So Long Ago (The Marram Grass), Country Boy in the Corridors of Power, Jazz and Cocktails, The Sun’s Coming Up and I Light a Candle.
This is Matt’s first public solo recital.

He is a former choral scholar at Norwich Cathedral, and is currently studying English literature and Spanish at the University of Manchester. Highlights of his extensive choral experience include singing in the chorus for Beethoven 9 with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain under Daniel Barenboim, Vaughan William's Sea Symphony with the Halle at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, and most recently Mahler 8 in Royal Festival Hall under Essa Pekka Salonen.

Freddie Gavita
Freddie Gavita (27), who is originally from Norwich, will play flugelhorn on Mr Clarke’s new songs. A professional jazz musician, Freddie used to play with Norwich Students’ Jazz Orchestra and The Jonathan Wyatt Big Band. He is now based in London and has been a regular on the British big-band scene for the last eight years. He has his own quartet featuring Kit Downes, Calum Gourlay and James Maddren. Last October Freddie appeared in Downton Abbey as a jazz trumpeter, playing at a party hosted by the ‘Earl of Grantham’.

The rest of the programme is Britten, Simple Symphony, Elgar Serenade for Strings and Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

Ticket are £10 on the door. To book in advance t. 01692 538041, or online at The concert is promoted by The Davenport Trust and Norfolk Music Publishing Ltd and is in aid of Tunstead Church.

Tunstead Church
James Kenelm Clarke said: “We are going to have a wonderful evening at Tunstead and look forward to a full church! Victoria, Matthew and Freddie are brilliant young musicians. It will be real treat to hear them perform with Ben Palmer’s marvellous Orchestra of St Paul’s Covent Garden. Tunstead Church is a wonderful setting for live music and it’s without doubt the first time that a professional orchestra will play within it’s 14th century walls.”

"I'm really excited about bringing the orchestra to Tunstead," said OSP Artistic Director Ben Palmer. "We last performed in Norfolk in 2010, at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, so it's wonderful to be coming back, and especially to give a concert in the beautiful setting of Tunstead church. We're very much looking forward to working with three outstanding local soloists, and to giving the first performances of these two wonderful, jazz-inspired pieces by James Kenelm Clarke."

The Davenport Trust takes its name from Shaun Davenport, a 17 year-old student at Hewett School, Norwich, who faced a bright future, yet took his own life in January 2003. The Trust aims to support and encourage young people in Norfolk, in the early stages of careers in the arts and the media.

James Kenelm Clarke - by the age of 19, James Clarke was writing TV production music and also wrote the signature tune for Associated-Rediffusion’s current-affairs programme This Week. But he wanted to be a TV director, so with the help of Sir John Woolf, went to Anglia TV as a researcher from 1960-67.

He then moved to the BBC and worked for Desmond Wilcox on Man Alive, Braden’s Week and That’s Life. Desmond Wilcox made him a producer and he directed Esther Rantzen, Joan Bakewell, John Pitman, Dennis Tuohy and Desmond Wilcox himself. James still composed music, writing the signature tune for Braden’s Week and That’s Life.

He took a sabbatical from the BBC in 1974 to make his first feature. James put all his money into a film called Got it Made, which was set in Norfolk, starring Lala Ward and Fabia Drake, but couldn’t get it distributed.

Then in 1976 he left the BBC and founded Norfolk International Pictures. He made eight films, including three starring Fiona Richmond and backed by Paul Raymond, most notably Exposé (The House on Straw Hill), which has achieved cult horror film status.  He also directed Robert Powell in The 39 Steps. His last film (1985) was Going Under Cover with Chris Lemon and Lea Thompson.

In the late 1980s James moved to Los Angeles and wrote scripts, before returning to Norfolk in 1995 and his first ‘love’, composing music. He established Norfolk Music Publishing and has written a great deal of ‘library’ music, but has moved onto longer works like his new opera Jessie and Piano Concerto. His next project is a cello concerto for Morwenna Del Mar.

The Orchestra of St Paul's Covent Garden is one of London's most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras; under the baton of artistic director Ben Palmer, OSP has developed a reputation for imaginative programming and exciting, stylish performances. Resident at the famous Actors' Church in Covent Garden, the orchestra appears regularly at the Southbank Centre and St John's, Smith Square, and performs at prestigious venues and festivals throughout the UK, and internationally.

In addition to his work with OSP, Ben Palmer is in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout the UK. In June 2014 he made his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, at the Hampton Court Palace Festival; other orchestras he has conducted include the London Mozart Players, the Halle, Britten Sinfonia and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He is regularly invited to work as rehearsal conductor with the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, preparing Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique for Sir Roger Norrington and, in May and June this year, Mahler's Seventh Symphony for Bernard Haitink.