The busiest month this year (so far) started with a trip to the Czech Republic to perform in a new International Music Festival at the historic town of Kutna Hora. Two concerts featured piano Trios by Rachmaninoff and Eben and Messiaen’s quartet for the end of time – challenging music that needed plenty of rehearsal time. After returning there were three recitals with Tasmin Little (one recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast), a solo recital (Bach, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Chopin) and a further concert with Emma Johnson.
Finished a very long project for Faber Music this month. “Improve your Aural” (grades 6-8 ) will be published later this year. The final book was written with Paul Harris and the accompanying CD in collaboration with Ned Bennett.
A short trip to Denmark for a recital with Julian Lloyd Webber and another new CD recording this month. The new disc is for Naxos and features Emma Johnson and John playing Sonatas by Copland and Bernstein together with music by John Dankworth and a new virtuoso version for clarinet and piano of melodies from Bernstein’s West Side Story.
As well as concerts with Emma Johnson and Tasmin Little, John Lenehan recorded a disc for Toccata Classics of music for violin and piano by Julius Rontgen. This prolific Dutch composer is all but forgotten these days but, on the evidence of this repertoire, is surely due for a revival. The violinist was Atsuko Sahara, – a winner of the Uralsk International Violin Competition.
The highlight of this month was a trip to India to perform in Mumbai with the Symphony Orchestra of India – a newly formed group (India’s first fully professional orchestra). The repertoire was Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (with the SOI music director Marat Bisengaliev and Raphael Wallfisch) and a trio concert. Both events drew large and enthusiastic audiences. Classical music is alive and well in India!
On the border between Europe and Asia sits the small town of Uralsk, Kazakhstan. It is the home of an annual international violin competition. Together with Benjamin Frith, John attended as official accompanist and also performed with previous competition winners.
Another London concert this month – this time at the Wigmore Hall in a concert billed as “Princes and Poets – 100 years of the French cello tradition”. Organised by the London Cello Society and L’Association Francaise du Violoncelle the programme brought together seven of France’s finest cellists – five of them performing with John Lenehan. A packed hall included Yan Pascal Tortelier and several who had made the journey from Paris to hear this unique event.
Interest in the new Sony releases lead to interviews on BBC radio 3’s “In tune” and Classic FM’s Sunday night “Guest list”.John Lenehan also made his debut at one of London’s newest venues – the Cadogan Hall, in a recital with Emma Johnson.
Sony Classical release three discs featuring music by Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and Ludovico Einaudi performed by John Lenehan. Classic FM magazine praised playing “by one of our most celebrated musicians” and Gramophone noted “Delicate articulations, subtle shadings,measured control and finely poised sensitivity.”
A chance to arrange and orchestrate for an operatic superstar such as Angelika Kirschslanger does not come along so regularly – so John was delighted to accept the invitation to produce arrangements of Christmas-related repertoire for her latest CD. He attended the sessions in early September in Vienna – Christmas did come early this year!