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Ferio Saxophone Quartet: Three concerts as part of their St John’s Smith Square Young Artists' Scheme Award

On Sunday 8th December, the Ferio Saxophone Quartet give the first of three concerts, as part of their St John’s Smith Square Young Artists’ Scheme award.

Since its reinvention as a concert hall, St John’s Smith Square has played a pivotal role in supporting the most promising young musicians. Simon Rattle, Steven Isserlis, Nigel Kennedy and Jacqueline du Pré are just a few of the musicians who performed at St John’s Smith Square before going on to begin internationally renowned careers.

St John’s Young Artists’ Scheme aims to develop the career of emerging artists by giving them a platform to showcase their talents, explore the possibilities of commissioning and marketing, and develop their skills in education and outreach.

The Ferio’s programme for 8 December at 1.05pm typifies the ensemble’s quest to expand the saxophone quartet repertoire, comprising solely transcriptions of repertoire by Bach, Grieg and Pergolesi.

As part of the scheme, Ferio recently completed a day of workshops with primary school children, exploring music through colour, emotion and shape. Children in year 3 were asked to describe which primary colour they saw, and the feelings they experienced, while listening to short sections of pieces from each of the quartet’s three Residency Concerts at St John’s.

Shevaughan Beere, Ferio Baritone Sax, recalled one eight year old boy’s vivid description of a battlefield, and the colours and emotions he felt after listening to a section of a work about civil war in Sarajevo.

“It has been fascinating to hear the children express their opinions about the music in this way. We asked year 6 classes to draw shapes and colours they saw while we played to them and everyone enjoyed discussing the resulting artwork too. We’d like to maybe take this research on to another level by looking at ways to present our concerts with a visual dimension which incorporates their responses. It’s been so interesting to work with these young people and to see the music we love playing through their fresh eyes. We hope to have inspired them to enjoy and explore all sorts of music and to welcome them to our concerts at St John’s.”

The second concert on Sunday 23 April at 3.00pm, entitled ‘Best of British’, features works by Edward Elgar, Gary Carpenter, Michael Nyman and Will Gregory. The concert opens with William Byrd’s Ave Verum Coprus which is considered by many to be Byrd’s finest work.  Two important highlights of this concert will be the world premiere performances of

  • ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’ (inspired by William Wordsworth’s poem of the same name), written for the quartet by the Dutch composer Guillermo Lago and
  • a new piece by the renowned violist, composer and music editor, Simon Rowland-Jones.

Pianist Timothy End joins the Ferio Saxophone Quartet for the last concert of their series which is on Thursday 11 May at 7.30pm.  Together they perform the Shostakovich Jazz Suite No. 2 (arranged for this formation by James Sherlock) and Pedro Iturralde’s Memorias.

When asked about the St John’s Smith Square Young Artists’ Scheme, Ferio said:

“We were so thrilled to be accepted as St John’s Smith Square Young Artists for the 2016/17 season. Having the opportunity to unleash and demonstrate the full capabilities of the saxophone quartet in such a beautiful venue is very exciting for us. Ferio are very passionate about expanding the saxophone quartet repertoire, and with the added support of the Young Artists’ Scheme, we are able to work with new composers and premiere these works in this great concert hall.”

For further information about their concert on the Sunday 8th December, and to book tickets, please click here.

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