A concert of music for Advent in St. Saviour’s Church, Pimlico, on Saturday 3rd December at 7.30pm, conducted by Richard Gowers
Richard Gowers will conduct an evening of Advent music at the Church of St Saviour’s, Pimlico, to celebrate the life’s work of composer Rick Birley, who has advanced Parkinson’s.
The newly-formed Birley Singers and Birley Players, featuring some of London’s finest young musicians, will perform a selection of pieces from Birley’s prolific body of work. The programme will include compositions for choir and instrumental ensemble as well as solo pieces for soprano Louise Davies, tenor Brian Parsons and saxophonist Julie Trevett.
Rick Birley, whose works have been performed by the Choir of Clare’s College, Cambridge, and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s more than 20 years ago. Formerly the Director of Music at Weymouth College, his diagnosis prompted a release of creative energy that has produced a rich and varied repertoire including symphonies, concertos, choral works and solo pieces.
As his Parkinson’s develops and his physical abilities become more compromised, Rick is launching Project 23, an ambitious plan to see his works performed by world-class young musicians in some of London’s finest venues.
The Birley Singers, The Birley Players, Louise Davies (sop) & Brian Parsons (ten) Directed by Richard Gowers
Variations on a Plainsong Five Dorset Folksongs Sar Planina (Macedonian folksong) The Virgin’s Song Christmas Exultation
Gaudete, Gaudete! Advent Carol Succession (30')
Rick Birley,composer, lives in Dorset and has built a reputation as composer, director, teacher and performer over four decades. Many of his compositions were written for local groups and have been performed in venues across Dorset. His Songs of Time and Orchestral Dances were performed by the Imperial College Symphony Orchestra in Dorchester and London. He has also worked with the Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Chapel Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, a BSO String Quartet, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, and many soloists. Rick’s creative energies are immersed in and propelled by specific narratives, whether ancient plainsongs, children’s nursery rhymes, folksong, the sea or historical events. But whatever sparks his imagination, his music is always accessible with meticulous attention to details of timbre, texture and harmonic progression that give his music a distinctive voice of technical surety and aesthetic balance.
Richard Gowers, conductor, is a British organist and conductor who has frequently performed on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, Classic FM and BBC TV. He began his musical career as a chorister at King’s College Cambridge, before studying at the Mendelssohn Conservatoire in Leipzig and at King’s College as an organ scholar. He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Michael Dussek and Joseph Middleton. He has been a finalist or award winner in the Leeds Lieder Festival, the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and the Helmut Deutsch Song Competition. Richard has an international solo career as a pianist, performing recitals in London, Vienna, Venice and Stuttgart in 2022, and has performed both solo and with choirs all over the world as an organist. He combines performing with teaching positions in Cambridge, Westminster Schools and Trinity Laban Conservatoire and is the Director of Music at St Saviour’s Church, Pimlico.
Louise Wayman,soprano soloist, studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Wales International Academy of Voice with Dennis O’Neill. Roles have included Maguelonne Cendrillon (Northern Opera Group), Zerlina Don Giovanni (Moon Little Theatre), Melpomeme Nisbet’s Ant & Cleo and Scyllar/Calypso Nisbet’ Troy Story (Talking Birds), Giannetta The Elixir of Love (Midland Opera), Soprano solo 3 Mittwoch aus Licht (Birmingham Opera Company), Belinda Dido and Aeneas (Operamus) as well as working with the choruses of Wexford Festival Opera and Opera North. Louise has also sung for theatre productions including incidental chorus for Escorial (Transparant, Belgium), Voice/Demon Bloed en Rozen (Toneelhuis/ Festival d’Avignon) and created the role of The Singer Trauerzeit (Johan Leysen/Théâtre Bouffes du Nord/ Théâtres de la Ville Luxembourg). She is at home on the concert and oratorio platforms and enjoys teaching singing to in secondary schools. www.louisewayman.com Brian Parsons, tenor soloist, has had an international career as chorister, soloist and pedagogue. He graduated from the Royal College of Music where he was a first study pianist and singer, and where he won the prestigious Major van Sommeran Godfrey Prize for English Song . He was also a Finalist in the Richard Tauber, the National Federation of Music Societies Award and the Royal Overseas League Competitions. Brian has worked for the ROH, ENO, Glyndebourne and Wexford Opera, and has sung in concert and recital in Europe, the USA, South America, the Middle East and China. From 1998-2017 he was professeur de chant at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse in Lyon, and from 2000-2015 professor of singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Brian is now director of WorkshopWeekend@Winfrith, short singing courses in Dorset, and also a freelance pianist and coach.
Julie Trevett, saxophonist. After graduating from Leeds College of Music, Julie was lucky to share her love of jazz whilst teaching with Rick Birley at Weymouth College. Under Rick's enthusiastic mentorship, Julie was able to hone her teaching skills which finally led to a PhD in teaching Jazz Improvisation. Julie now supports teachers across Somerset and is proud that her son Oliver is following in the family musical footsteps having originally been inspired by her own father Rex Trevett.