2017 | 2018 Season
A warm welcome to you all, and to myself as the new Director of Concerts! I am replacing Paul Hindmarsh after 10 years of his imaginative stewardship, and hope both to continue the great work Paul did and to bring my own musical experience to bear on helping to select the MMCS’ exciting blend of new talent and established artists. The prestigious venue of the Bridgewater Hall makes the series a very tempting prospect for players (it certainly was for me on the occasions I have played for the Society in the past), but the sheer size of it makes it all the more important to get the biggest audience we can to help create a good atmosphere for the performers. Partly for this reason, we hope to involve audience members as much as we can in helping us to choose artists and programmes you find genuinely stimulating and attractive. The best way to get involved with this is through the Friends organisation.
The 2017-18 season is a collaborative effort. As Director of Concerts in Waiting, I was asked to make some suggestions for inclusion in the new season. I was also in attendance at the auditions and feel happy and excited with the artists we chose. The season also shows the expansion of the range of artists beyond the staple of piano and string quartet that Paul developed and I am very keen to continue. Some of the larger group highlights include A4 brass on 17th January with an exciting set of short pieces and arrangements showing the technical wizardry as well as the musical sensitivity that has evolved so far and so quickly in the brass band world in recent years. Even if you are not a brass band aficionado, it is well worth giving this a try! The Manchester Chamber Choir will close the season on 24th April with a programme of English music which is bound to prove very popular. I am particularly delighted that Fiona Cross (10th January) and the charismatic and exciting duo of Caroline Pether and Hannah Roberts (22nd March) are able to play for us this season. They will be familiar to Manchester concert-goers for their wonderful work with Manchester Camerata.
The auditions produced another outstanding crop of young players, the representation of pianists being particularly strong. Look out for Gen Li (7th February). I was particularly struck by his command over the instrument, his great sound and effortless technique when he came to audition. The Scott brothers have always proved popular with our audience for their imaginative programmes and lively presentation, and they have the Christmas slot (19th December) this year.
There are so many highlights that it’s difficult to leave anybody out, but have a look through the programme there really is something for everyone here, and I am really happy to be able to take up my new role with such an excellent season in prospect.
Simon Parkin (Director of Concerts)