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Event listings, news, reviews, features and comment from the classical music scene in and around Portsmouth – including Fareham, Havant, Petersfield, Chichester, Bognor Regis, Midhurst and Petworth are all collated on a wonderful web called Music in Portsmouth, which was brought to my attention by our roving ´bobbies on the beat´ in the uk, DCI Sidetracks and Superintendent Sidetracks.

The DCI reported to that Music in Portsmouth is kept fully up to date with all the details you will need to find out about performers and venues. You can see what each group is planning to perform and in which venue. You can switch to the list of venues and see which groups are appearing in each of them.

The Superintendent is aware that by by subscribing to the newsletter, you will receive a monthly list of the forthcoming concerts in the area. This is also sent to media contacts and other organisations such as libraries, civic offices and tourist information offices each month.

noticeboard covers news about performers and performances, previews and reviews.

We have also seen tweets to @MusicPortsmouth informing of people of  when there’s an update. The hashtag #MiPNoticeboard is used for noticeboard articles and some imagesfrom these are sent on to Instagram.

Any musical group interested in joining us, click here for further information.

There is also a PDF  profile of Music in Portsmouth for thise whoi need to know more.

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch! You can also tweet to @MusicPortsmouth.

The site is sponsored by Ackerman MusicVenn Pianos and Gerontius (choirs, concerts and choral music resources).

Information on this website is posted in good faith and updated regularly, and whilst Music In Porstmouth cannot guarantee the completeness and accuracy of the information shown it conveys a confidence in it readers and contributors and a highly professional lay.out that suggests its integrity.  

Today we share with our Sidetracks And Detours readers a couple of examples found easily at first glance on the Music In Portsmouth drop down menu. In the ´performers´ box for instance there was an excellent interview, introducing me to an artist I had not previously been aware of who performed in the region recently

So come follow your to along sidetracks & detour to ´listen in on that conversation as

JULIA BISHOP, VIOLIN, talks to Music In Portsmouth

The Early Music movement had become rather staid and academic by the time that the period instrument ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, was founded in 1985. It really broke the mould, and was the inspiration for Red Priest, the group that Piers Adams and I set up in the UK in 1997, and for which I played for the next 19 years. I would like to think Red Priest was similarly pioneering.

I was taught by Sir Roger Norrington at the RCM, going on to play for his London Classical Players and, later, the English Concert. I discovered my love of Early Music during my studies at the Royal College of Music when one day I heard the Baroque orchestra being directed by the inspiring Cat Mackintosh. I initially just did one term with the orchestra studying a Handel opera, but by the end of this was completely hooked.

Another great influence was Peter Cropper and the Lindsay String Quartet. Peter used to run inspiring masterclasses, showing me how to make music come alive, and how to make it communicate a series of strong emotions.

Tell us more about Red Priest.

I love hearing people say that they’ve taken up the Baroque oboe, for example, after experiencing Red Priest: it’s certainly attracted a younger age group to the genre. Our approach has always been not to make things too highbrow, to inject a sense of theatre, and to give people a bit of context by chatting between works.

After all, people weren’t too formal when making music in the Baroque era: goats and people used to wander in and out!

After Red Priest, I started my workshops for adults in Lewes. It’s been great to witness some people picking up the instrument after 20 years, and getting rid of bad habits.

I’ve teach Baroque violin pupils at Chichester Conservatoire, and I take the Baroque orchestra there. It’s wonderful seeing many students successfully develop into the style of playing that marks out the Baroque.

It’s great to be performing and working with conductor Crispin Ward, Oxana Dodon (violin) and Ivana Peranic (‘cello) at Chichester’s University´

I am now finding great inspiration performing concerts with soprano Ana Maria Rincon and harpsichordist Howard Beach in their newly-formed chamber ensemble Purcell’s Muse

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

Launching one’s career is always challenging, but I was helped by the fact that the early music scene was lively, and I quickly found my feet.

Juggling work and family can be challenging, the more so if work means a lot of long-haul flights to the other side of the world, as it did for me.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

Touring has a special place for me: you work intensively with other musicians.

Are there any composers for whom you feel a particular affinity?

Even if he’s not from the Baroque area, Mozart is the composer who most moves and heals me. It’s no surprise that he appears on so many tracks for young children. I am also a great fan of Monteverdi, Beethoven and Chopin, depending on my mood. Bach is not for relaxation, he’s often too intensive, but he is an absolute genius.

Which works or performances are you most proud of?

I am proud of what we achieved as Red Priest, and a special mention should also be made of the London Classical Players’ performances of Beethoven’s symphonies (with Melvyn Tan) and English Concert’s performances of Mozart’s symphonies: in each case none of the musicians (including myself) stood out above the others, yet they were exceptional.

Which works do you think you most like performing?

I like music that is thoughtful, that moves slowly with a long line, which you can sing in your head as you play. So I am not that much of a fan of, say, Vivaldi’s stratospheric, gymnastic approach!

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

Don’t be discouraged by the current situation. Music will always be essential. Many people are keen to experience live music. And even if performances will now be both online and in-person, that makes it accessible to many more people.

If you are set on a career in music, be passionate – that’s the only way you will be able to do your best.

I often refer my pupils to David Cutler’s excellent “The Savvy Musician” book. It has a lot of pointers for success, focusing on the entrepreneurial side of the music business and emphasizing the value of creativity and risk.

I also like Tony Rooley’s “Performance: Revealing the Orpheus within”. It helps build up confidence and overcome nerves, showing how the performer can achieve a heightened state of self-awareness and sense of magic.

At any stage of your career, you may have to re-invent yourself; attitude is everything, and you are only limited by lack of imagination! That’s why I am optimistic that we will get things going.

How did you keeping yourself usefully occupied and sane under lockdown?

Once lockdown ended there was a lot less travel for a while, but I am not going to miss it. In fact travel restrictions are probably good for one’s health, and I am certainly not as tired as I used to be!

But things became busier professionally. For example I took part in The Polyphonic Concert Club, a project initiated and managed by Robert Hollingworth and Polyphonic Films, comprising six filmed online chamber recitals including I Fagiolini and Red Priest, which available as a livestream We played a selection of “vintage” pieces which were screened at that time..

That interview, and a very positive Music In Portsmouth review, written by Chris Linford, of a concert of performance by Julia Bishop recently delivered in the area has introduced me to a musican I shall certainly listen out for in the future.

However, there are other items and photographs all along the drop down menu on the site. Naturally they promote forthcoming events giving a brief preview of the acts scheduled to perform. I chose the example below because once again this about an act I had until now been unaware.

This was a preview of am intriguingly titled a cappella’ group, The Free Radicals, prior to their special concert that subsequently delivered in aid of relief work in Ukraine on Wednesday evening in St. Peter’s Church, Petersfield on Wednesday 5 April at 7.30pm

Much as I would have loved to have hopped into my private plane and fly back to my former homeland in the UK from the lanzarote island I have lived on now for eight years of a well deserved retirement, I could only hope that perhaps our intrepid researches DCI Detours and Superintendent Sidetracks, who live in the Portsmouth area, might attend and review for us !



Lent Concert For Ukraine 2023

The Free Radicals have collected a set of some of the richest church music written for the season of Lent to perform at their annual recital which has become a firm favourite in the Petersfield area.  

The days leading up to Good Friday have produced some really beautiful music over the centuries and the ensemble will perform a hand-picked selection, along with some poetry.  It’s lovely to listen to, even if you’re not a believer.  The event will be quiet, contemplative and uplifting, and lasts for less than one hour.  

The concert is free to enter and it is hoped that people will want to make a donation at the end to support a local charity, The Ukraine Christian Partnership, which has been working with Ukrainian communities for years, and is now supporting families there who are in the most desperate circumstances as a result of the war.

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