Thompson, Michael

french horn

Internationally acknowledged as one of the world's leading horn players, Michael Thompson is also regarded as a charismatic and inspirational teacher. As a conductor, he is known as a fine orchestral trainer and has received acclaim for his work with young musicians.

After studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he was appointed principal horn with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the age of eighteen. Within three years he was offered the principal horn positions of both the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He joined the Philharmonia and remained in that post for ten years before leaving to concentrate on his solo and chamber music career. His work as director / soloist or conductor has seen him perform in Japan, Australia, the U.S.A. Europe and Scandinavia, including his debut with the Danish Radio Sinfonietta in Copenhagen, the Ostgota Winds Symphony in Sweden and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. In the UK he has directed the London Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Britten Pears Orchestra, Ulster Youth Orchestra and the Royal Academy's Sinfonia and Concert orchestras. He has conducted a number of community orchestras and was Principal Conductor of the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra from 2003 until 2008.

Fulcher, Byron

Byron made his BBC Proms solo debut playing the virtuosic masterpiece 'Sequenza V' by Berio in 2012. Other solo performances have included the British premieres of Gyorgy Ranki's 'Tales of Father Goose' and Marco Stroppa's 'From Needle's Eye' and the world premiere of Dai Fujikura's 'K's Ocean' as well as concertos by Jacob, David, Grondahl and Bourgeois. Byron has recorded Mahler 'Symphony No 3' with the Philharmonia with both Ben Zander and Lorin Maazel conducting. He has performed at the International Trombone Festival in Helsinki 2002 and Birmingham 2006 and been invited to judge ITA competitions on several occasions. Byron has performed with all the London orchestras and is a regular guest with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He can also be heard on the soundtrack of many films including Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Byron is also a member of London Brass, performing trombone and euphonium on the album Surprise, and teaches at the Royal College of Music.
Image Credit: 
Guy Wigmore

London Sinfonietta

London Sinfonietta

The London Sinfonietta's mission is to place the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today's culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard, and taking risks to develop new work and talent.

The ensemble is Resident Orchestra at Southbank Centre with headquarters at Kings Place, and continues to take the best contemporary music to venues and festivals across the UK and worldwide with a busy touring schedule. Since its inaugural concert in 1968 - giving the world premiere of Sir John Tavener's The Whale - the London Sinfonietta's commitment to making new music has seen it commission over 300 works, and premiere many hundreds more.
The core of the London Sinfonietta is 18 Principal Players, representing some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world. The ensemble has just launched its Emerging Artists Programme, which will give professional musicians at the start of promising and brilliant careers the opportunity to work alongside those Principal Players on stage across the season.

The London Sinfonietta's recordings present a catalogue of 20th-century classics, on numerous prestigious labels as well as the ensemble's own London Sinfonietta Label. Most recently, a performance of Philip Cashian's Piano Concerto was released on NMC.

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Michael Thompson horn

Byron Fulcher trombone

Sir Harrison Birtwistle created the first short piece The Message (Duet 1) for the London Sinfonietta in 2008, as a ‘birthday card’ for their 40th anniversary concert. He then decided to write more duets for different occasions over the past few years. Bourdon (Duet 2) for violin and viola was performed at a commemorative event for the publisher Bill Colleran. Duet 3 for cor anglais and bassoon was created as a surprise for a supporter of his work, Nicholas Prettejohn. There are now five pieces in the sequence, and this evolving set may well take other forms in the future as the composer sees fit. 
© Andrew Burke Chief Executive, London Sinfonietta


supported by Nick & Claire Prettejohn


Recorded on 5 December 2014 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

Producer/engineer DANIEL HALFORD and IAN DEARDEN for Sound Intermedia

Catalogue number:
NMC DL3023
Release Date:
31 May 2016