The British baritone David Wilson-Johnson was born in Northampton, studied Modern Languages at St Catharine's College, Cambridge and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he won many prizes including the Dove Prize for most distinguished student. In the early days he sang in the choirs of St Margaret's Westminster (Richard Hickox), The London Oratory, (John Hoban) the BBC Singers (John Poole) and the Monteverdi Choir (John Eliot Gardiner.) Since then, over a career already spanning forty years, he has been a guest of the major opera houses and orchestras and festivals worldwide. He has sung under the most distinguished conductors.
In 2006 he decided to retire from the operatic stage and his last performances were the title roles in Tippett's King Priam (Nationale Reisopera and BBC Proms), Albeniz's Merlin (Teatro Real Madrid), Shostakovitch's The Nose under Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (Netherlands Opera) and Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise (Edinburgh Festival).
Recent concert projects included a tour with Sir Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment of Schumann's Paradies und die Peri as well as tours with Frans Bruggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century singing Die Schöpfung and Beethoven's 9th Symphony. He sang the title role in Owen Wingrave in Tapiola with Stefan Asbury, Tippett's A Child of our Time with Sir Andrew Davis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Elgar's Dream of Gerontius under Vladimir Ashkenazy with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
David Wilson-Johnson teaches in Amsterdam and London and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
Patrizia Kwella has given the world premières of Colin Matthews' Night's Mask and Pli de Lin, the former with the Nash Ensemble at the Aldeburgh Festival and the latter with the Allegri String Quartet. With the Nash Ensemble she subsequently recorded Night's Mask and also sang the world première of David Matthews' The Sleeping Lord at the Prague Spring Festival, repeating the performance at the Bath Festival and in London's Wigmore Hall.
With 'cellist Jenny Ward Clarke and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings Patrizia Kwella has also given many shared recitals of 17thand early 18thcentury music.'s Theodora at a gala performance in the British Embassy in , Christopher Hogwood and Sir Charles Mackerras. Since her American debut with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra under Richard Hickox she has returned to sing with the . She has a wide repertoire, with recordings and performances ranging from the 16th to the 20th century.
Patrizia Kwella has appeared at many of
Artistic Director: Amelia Freedman CBE FRAM
The Nash Ensemble has built up a remarkable reputation as one of Britain's finest chamber groups and, through the dedication of its founder and artistic director Amelia Freedman and the virtuosity of its players, has gained a similar reputation all over the world. The repertoire is vast and the imaginative, innovative and unusual programmes are as finely architectured as the beautiful Nash terraces in London from which the group takes its name. Not that the Nash Ensemble is classically restricted; it performs with equal sensitivity and musicality works from Mozart to the avant-garde, having given first performances of over 255 new works to date. These include 150 commissions especially written for the Group, providing a legacy for generations to come. An impressive collection of recordings illustrates the same varied and colourful combination of classical masterpieces, little-known neglected gems and important contemporary works.
The Nash makes many foreign tours: concerts have been given throughout Europe and the USA, and in South America, Australia and Japan. The group is a regular visitor to many British music festivals and can be heard on radio, television, at their renowned annual series at Wigmore Hall as well as at the Southbank Centre and the BBC Proms, and at music clubs throughout the country. The ensemble has won the Edinburgh Festival Critics' music award 'for general artistic excellence', and two Royal Philharmonic Society awards in the small ensemble category 'for the breadth of its taste and its immaculate performance of a wide range of music'.
Lionel Friend conducts concerts and opera all over the world, exploring the less common together with the most familiar. In the opera house he has become known for his Wagner interpretations, but his repertoire also features Mozart, Schubert, Berlioz, Chausson, Berg, Dallapiccola, Britten, Tippett and Tavener; and his concert repertoire includes the symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius in addition to works of the avant-garde: he has conducted well over 100 world premiere performances. His recordings, many made with the Nash Ensemble, include works by Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Poulenc and Turnage.
Trained in London, he made his debut with Welsh National Opera and has held appointments in Germany and London. In addition to the UK he has in recent seasons conducted in Germany, Norway, Australia and the USA; and since 2003 has held the position of Conductor-in-Residence at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
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Matthews's The Great Journey, a forceful and panoramic narrative of a 16th-century Spanish expedition to America, is complemented by the scherzo Fuga and Night's Mask, a darkly atmospheric setting of Fernando Pessoa's brooding sonnet.
"A fizzing display of musical energy for which its composer is renowned... baritone David Wilson-Johnson and The Nash Ensemble acquit themselves superbly."
BBC Music Magazine 1997
Recording date: July 1990
Recording venue: Blackheath Concert Halls, London
Engineer: Mike Hatch
Producer: Colin Matthews
Editing & mastering: Marian Freeman
Cover image: Francois Hall
(P) 1991 Virgin Classics