Leon Bosch will conduct his first Henley Symphony Orchestra Concert this Sunday (26 March) at the Hexagon in Reading after taking up his position as Music Director and Conductor of HSO in January this year. Leon, who is internationally renowned as a double bass player, has for some while been developing a career as a fine conductor both in the UK and in his native South Africa. He was first encouraged to conduct by the late Sir Neville Marriner, the legendary founder of The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, for whom Bosch was Principal Bass for over twenty years. Having watched many of the great conductors from his view in the orchestra, he then studied in London with the renowned conductor Sian Edwards and in St Petersburg with Alexander Polishchuk. Since 2014, Leon has conducted groups in the UK and around the world, including the chamber ensemble he formed, I Musicanti.
HSO will be joined by Martin Roscoe, one of the UK’s best loved pianists. Renowned for his versatility at the keyboard, Martin is equally at home in concerts, recital and chamber performances. His enduring popularity and the respect in which he is universally held are built on a deeply thoughtful musicianship and his easy rapport with audiences and fellow musicians alike. Martin is Artistic Director of Ribble Valley International Piano Week and the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society. He is currently Professor of Piano at Guildhall School of Music in London where he has been awarded a Fellowship.
Political unrest and nationalistic fervour are key to the concert’s programme. Smetana’s evocative Vltava (a description of the Moldau river) was written in 1874 after he aligned himself to the growing move for Czech identity. Beethoven began composing his Fifth and final ‘Emperor’ Concerto in 1809, while Vienna was under invasion from Napoleon’s forces for the second time. Its grandeur, bold melodies and heroic spirit befit its dedication to Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven’s friend, patron and student, who had fled to exile. After the disaster of the premiere of his First Symphony, Rachmaninov fell into a depression and became unconvinced of his abilities as a symphonist. Happily, for us, his Second Symphony, written in Dresden where he took his family to escape the political tumult that would put Russia on the path to revolution, was premiered in 1908 in St Petersburg to great acclaim. It remains one of the composer’s most popular and best-known compositions.
To book tickets go to https://www.whatsonreading.com/book/408202
The Henley Symphony Orchestra has transport to the concert. 14 places are available on the FISH minibus, which will leave from Henley Town Hall at 6.30 pm. The cost of both ticket and transport is £17.60. To book, just contact the HSO Box Office (Julia) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07726 459261.