A renowned figure in the world of Baroque music, French soprano Sandrine Piau performs regularly with such celebrated conductors as William Christie, Philippe Herreweghe, Christophe Rousset, Gustav Leonhardt, Sigiswald Kuijken, Ton Koopman, René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski, Fabio Biondi, Michel Corboz, Josep Pons and Louis Langrée.
Her operatic repertoire reaches from the Baroque to the twentieth century, including roles such as Pamina in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Titania in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. As a singer of both French and German recital repertoire, she has also performed with renowned accompanists including Jos van Immerseel, Myung-Whun Chung, Georges Pludermacher, Alexandre Tharaud, Jérôme Hantaï and Corine Durous.
Ms Piau has an exclusive recording contract with the record company Naïve, and appears on NMC by their kind permission. Her disc of Mozart arias, accompanied by the Freiburger Barockorchester met with an extremely enthusiastic critical response and was awarded the Prix Charles Cros. Her second album on the Naïve label, Debussy Mélodies, accompanied by Jos van Imserseel, was awarded the 'Prix Ravel' at the Orphée Awards in Paris. Handel's Arias Seria with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques was awarded Editor's Choice by Gramophone in January 2005 and won the Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize 2005.
She was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et des lettres award from the French Ministry of Culture.
Thomas Zehetmair is one of the most significant musicians of his generation - equally acclaimed as a solo violinist, chamber musician and conductor.
As violinist, Thomas Zehetmair is a regular guest of the most renowned European and American orchestras. Of particular note are his collaborations with Daniel Barenboim, Frans Brüggen, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Charles Mackerras and Sir Simon Rattle. Besides his commitment to the standard violin repertoire, he dedicates a large part of his artistic activities to contemporary music. He has given a number of first performances, most recently the violin concerto written for him by Heinz Holliger, and concertos by James Dillon and Hans-Jürgen von Bose.
As a chamber musician, Thomas Zehetmair has collaborated with distinguished colleagues such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard. In 1994 he formed the internationally acclaimed Zehetmair Quartet, which has recorded string quartets by Hartmann, Hindemith, Bartok and Schumann on the ECM New Series.
More recently Thomas Zehetmair launched a second career as a conductor: since the 2002-03 season he has been Music Director of Northern Sinfonia. Diverse projects around the orchestra’s 50th anniversary attested to this extraordinary relationship. He also makes regular guest appearances with ensembles including the Hallé Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonicand London Philharmonic Orchestras. In the 2010-11 season, Thomas Zehetmair takes up the position of Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
In 2005, Thomas was honoured with the German Record Critics' Award for his versatile artistic work as soloist, conductor and chamber musician. In 2007 he was presented with the Karl Böhm Interpretation Award by the Austrian State Steiermark by Heinz Holliger.
Thomas Zehetmair holds an honorary doctorate from the Music Academy Franz Liszt in Weimar.
He is managed by Künstlersekretariat Schoerke:
Michael Collins is also in demand as a chamber musician, regularly performing in recital with Leon McCawley and in chamber ensembles with artists such as the Belcea Quartet, Martha Argerich, Mikhail Pletnev, Lars Vogt and Joshua Bell.
Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, holds an international reputation for the range and depth of its repertoire which spans 300 years and includes commissioned new work; its Music Director is Thomas Zehetmair.
The orchestra performs in its own spectacular Norman Foster-designed home for music, The Sage Gateshead, which celebrated its 5th birthday in 2009. Northern Sinfonia travels widely too with appearances at other leading venues and festivals throughout the world, including the Berlin Philharmonie, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Musikverein in Vienna, the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and the Aldeburgh Festival. Northern Sinfonia’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2008/09 saw tours to the Far East including a residency at the Hong Kong Festival.
Northern Sinfonia works with many broadcasters including the BBC and Channel 4, and is proud to be Classic FM’s orchestra in the North East; working in partnership with the UK’s biggest commercial radio station, it presents exclusive broadcasts and live performances at The Sage Gateshead and for Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
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This disc features eight premiere recordings: the 3 songs originally intended to be part of Les Illuminations, recorded here by French soprano Sandrine Piau; In memoriam Dennis Brain for four solo horns and strings; the Rondo Concertante for piano and strings, featuring pianist Rolf Hind, the Untitled Fragment for Strings; Variations for Solo Piano; and the completion of Movements for a Clarinet Concerto, with soloist Michael Collins. The Northern Sinfonia is conducted by its Music Director, Thomas Zehetmair.
GRAMOPHONE EDITOR’S CHOICE & CD OF THE MONTH · INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW OUTSTANDING RECORDING · THE SUNDAY TIMES BEST RELEASES OF 2009
"One of the most important Britten recordings in many a year." Gramophone
"Seriously beautiful …buy it for Les Illuminations; savour it for those new discoveries." Radio 3 CD Review
"Superb performance of the composer’s song cycle Les Illuminations sung by the French soprano Sandrine Piau ... without doubt this recording goes straight up there with the very finest soprano versions on disc." Presto
"With fine recording quality, excellent presentation and persuasive performances, this is a notable issue." Classical Source
"A fascinating disc [with] lots of little insights into Britten’s musical world." The Guardian
"A rich array of unknown items …well worth hearing." The Sunday Times
"Piau's performance on Les Illuminations alone is worth the price of this fascinating disc" IRR
‘The three movements for an early 1940’s Clarinet Concerto tingle with endearing and impressive freshness’ MusicWeb International
'A fascinating disc, highly recommended for Piau's performances of Illuminations and the new additional songs, for the Rondo Concertante, and for the clarinet concerto.' Fanfare Magazine
This disc was supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation.
Boosey & Hawkes Ltd: Les Illuminations Op.18
Faber Music: Movements for a Clarinet Concerto and Variations for Solo Piano
All other scores were transcribed by Colin Matthews, Joseph Phibbs and Lloyd Moore at the
Les Illuminations (with Phrase, Aube and À une raison) was recorded at The Sage Gateshead on 14-15 January 2009; all other works on the disc were recorded at the same venue on 22-23 May 2008.
Producer (Les Illuminations): DAVID LEFEBER
Producers (all other works): COLIN MATTHEWS, DAVID LEFEBER
Recording engineer: DAVID LEFEBER
Digital editing & mastering: DAVID LEFEBER
Executive producer:COLIN MATTHEWS
Cover image: Foliate Heads II (1953), JOHN PIPER, reproduced by kind permission of The Piper Estate (Photo by Nigel Luckhurst)
Design: FRANCOIS HALL
(P) 2009 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2009 NMC Recordings Ltd