Over 200 local musicians will gather to perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in St Andrews this weekend (Saturday 26 April 2014).
St Andrews Chorus and St Andrews Chamber Orchestra will come together for the first time in a special celebratory concert at the Younger Hall, with a programme also including Paul Mealor’s ‘Crucifixus’.
The St Andrews Chamber Orchestra was formed by Dr Michael Downes, Director of Music at the University of St Andrews in 2009 to bring together the best players from the student, staff and local community to perform challenging repertoire. The orchestra recently performed in the University’s Finale Concert, marking the end of the 600th anniversary period, with a repertoire which included a new commission from Sally Beamish.
Meanwhile, the St Andrews Chorus, also directed by Dr Downes, is now Scotland’s largest choir, with over 150 members from both the student and local community. The Chorus’s impressive repertoire includes Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Handel’s Messiah and Samson, Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater and Britten’s St Nicolas.
Dr Downes said, “I am delighted to be conducting this very special concert and to be bringing together these two groups with whom I have enjoyed working individually for several years. This event will unite staff and students with the wider St Andrews community in a celebration of one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. It is also a huge pleasure to welcome our four distinguished soloists, and to welcome back Paul Mealor, who has been a frequent and popular visitor to St Andrews ever since he composed ‘Now sleeps the crimson petal’ for the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir in 2010.”
Aberdeen-based Paul Mealor is one of Britain’s most popular living composers and a frequent visitor to St Andrews, who has collaborated with the University’s Music Centre on numerous occasions. There will be a pre-performance talk on Paul Mealor’s music at 6.30 pm, given by Cole Bendall, a singer, conductor and former student of Paul Mealor at Aberdeen University. The talk is free of charge to ticket-holders.
Soloists on the night include Jamie Macdougall, a well-known Glasgow-based tenor who is also known for presenting Classics Unwrapped on BBC Radio Scotland, and Ben McAteer, a recent and award-winning alumnus of St Andrews who appeared in numerous concerts and operas as a student and who trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and National Opera Studio in London. The soprano and alto solos in the Beethoven will be taken by Wilma MacDougall, one of Scotland’s best-known sopranos and singing teachers, and Tania Holland Williams, an opera director who will be directing St Andrews students in June in their new production of Britten’s Albert Herring, opening at the Byre Theatre.
Tickets (priced £10, £8 for concessions and £2 for students) are available from the University Music Centre Office, Younger Hall, North Street, St Andrews or from Chorus members.