King, Mary


Mary's career has encompassed a wide range of roles, including that of performer, teacher, coach and most recently broadcaster and writer. A popular and highly experienced mezzo soprano, Mary has worked with leading conductors and numerous orchestras across the world, and has made a particular feature of the contemporary classical repertoire.

Mary's versatility as a performer has allowed her career to encompass a wide range of vocal genres, from opera, oratorio, chamber music and recital through to musical theatre and straight plays.

She has had a long involvement with outreach and teaching, working with all the major companies in the UK as well as running training programmes both at home and abroad. During Mary's long association with English National Opera, she devised and ran a highly successful performance skills course, 'The Knack', for eleven years, and between 2004 and 2006 she was also an Artistic Associate for the company.

In September 2006, Mary became Head of Singing at Millennium Performing Arts Ltd., now based in new premises in Woolwich, South East London. In November of the same year, she was also appointed Director of Voicelab, a new initiative at London's Southbank Centre. From casting for professional projects to creating and training numerous choirs and small ensembles, Mary is at the heart of vocal activity at the Southbank Centre, encouraging vocal talent in all its manifestations.

van Kampen, Christopher

van Kampen
The cellist Christopher van Kampen (1945-1997) was a gifted and versatile soloist and chamber music player who was equally at home with the music of Haydn and Mozart as that of the most avant-garde composers of the present time.
Van Kampen read Mathematics at King's College, Cambridge, and studied the cello with Douglas Cameron at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where in his first year he became a finalist in the BBC Cello Competition. In 1967 he became the cellist of the Nash Ensemble, with whom he continued to perform world-wide right up to his death. In 1969, at the age of 24, he was appointed Principal Cellist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held for three years.
In 1968 van Kampen had played in the inaugural concert of the London Sinfonietta and in the early 1970s became Principal Cellist. Over the years he appeared as a soloist with most of the leading British orchestras and played in a number of chamber music ensembles, including the Brindisi String Quartet.
He specialised in contemporary music and collaborated with and performed under many celebrated composers including Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze and Sir Michael Tippett. In 1988 he gave the first performance of Hans Abraham's Lied in Fall, a work written especially for him, and in 1990 gave the UK premiere of H.K. Gruber's Cello Concerto, which he also played in the 1991 Proms. He was closely associated with John Tavener's The Protecting Veil for cello and orchestra, which he played many times in the UK and abroad, including the 1992 Aldeburgh Festival with the London Sinfonietta. He performed Benjamin Britten's complete works for the solo cello at the Wigmore Hall and once played both Shostakovich's cello concertos at the same concert at St John's Smith Square.

Pay, Antony

Antony Pay was born in London, and gained his early experience playing the clarinet in the National Youth Orchestra, with which he also played concertos in Germany, Russia and Scandinavia at the age of 16.
He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and then read Mathematics at CambridgeUniversity, graduating in 1966. He was Principal Clarinet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 to 1978, of the London Sinfonietta (of which he was a founder member) from 1968 to 1983 and of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields from 1976 to 1986. He has also been a member of several chamber ensembles, including the Nash Ensemble, the London Ensemble, the Tuckwell Wind Quintet, the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble, and Hausmusik. With the London Sinfonietta he collaborated with many of today's leading composers, including Boulez, Stockhausen, Birtwistle, Henze, Maxwell Davies, Goehr and Berio. He was also Professor of Clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1982 to 1990 and taught at the Royal Academy of Music, where he continues to give occasional Masterclasses.
He regularly teaches courses abroad, including classes in Sermoneta, Portogruaro and FirenzeItaly, and has also given Masterclasses in Tokyo, France, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Antony Pay also performs on period clarinets, and his recordings of the
Mozart, Weber and Crusell Concertos are played on specially reconstructed instruments. He currently plays in Hausmusik and also with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, where he is a frequent soloist. He has written for the Journal Early Music, and contributed a chapter to the Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet. He is working on a book concerned mainly with the use of metaphor in teaching and in learning to play. He now teaches a Summer-course at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena.

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.

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.

Knussen, Oliver


Born in Glasgow in 1952, Knussen grew up near London, where his father was principal double bass of the London Symphony Orchestra. It was with the LSO that he made his debut in April 1968, conducting his First Symphony in London and in Carnegie Hall, New York.  In 1970 he was awarded the first of three fellowships to Tanglewood, where he studied with Gunther Schuller. During this time he completed several works which were subsequently widely performed on both sides of the Atlantic and established his early reputation. In 1975 Knussen returned permanently to the UK.

From 1983 till 1998, Knussen was an Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival, and also held posts at the Tanglewood Music Center and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 1992, with Colin Matthews, he established the Contemporary Composition and Performance courses at the Britten-Pears School in Snape.

After many years of close collaboration with the London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen became Music Director in 1998, and in 2002 was made Conductor Laureate. In 2006 he was appointed Artist in Association with the BCMG. Among his many awards are Honorary Memberships of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Royal Philharmonic Society, an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the 2004 Association of British Orchestras Award. In 2006 he was named the second recipient of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, USA.

He has guest-conducted in many parts of the world, including in the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan. As a conductor he has recorded more than thirty CDs of contemporary music, several of which have won international awards - these include Robin Holloway's Concerto for Orchestra No.2, which won NMC's first Gramophone Award, and Maxwell Davies' opera Taverner.

He became a CBE in the 1994 Birthday Honours.

Image Credit: 
Clive Barda
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This disc couples two major works composed in the 1970s, Melencolia I and Meridian, a setting of love poetry, with Ritual Fragment, written in 1989. The works display Birtwistle's distinctive and forceful voice and range in mood from austere introspective journeying to moments of unbearable intensity.

Antony Pay clarinet
Mary King mezzo-soprano
Michael Thompson horn
Christopher van Kampen cello
London Sinfonietta Voices
London Sinfoniatta
Oliver Knussen conductor




"Needless to say, the performances, as one would expect from Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta, are exemplary... no one should hesitate before acquiring this indispensable disc."
Tempo 1993


Recording date: 7 & 9 November 1991 (Meridian), 20 November 1991(Melencolia), 21 November 1991 (Fragment)

Recording venue: Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead (Meridian, Fragment), St Augustine's Church, Kilburn (Melencolia)

Engineers: Tryggvi Tryggvason, Andrew Hallifax, Geoffrey Miles for Modus Music 
Producers: Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews 
Editing & mastering: Marian Freeman for Modus Music

Cover image: Adam Birtwistle

(P) 1993 NMC Recordings Ltd

Universal Edition
Catalogue number:
NMC D009
Release Date:
1 January 1993