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The King's Philharmonic Wind Orchestra — Peter and the Wolf


After a successful Inaugural Concert, The King's Philharmonic Wind Orchestra return with their next programme: Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Royal wedding composer Professor Paul Mealor who is also president of the Orchestra.

Rolf-Michael Steitz:
Dramatic March Fantasy in A minor op. 69 (2017) (world premiere)
This composition is dedicated to The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra and their conductor Tobias P Wolf. It will be premiered in tonight’s concert. It tells the story of the awakening of the evil in a mystical, ghostly atmosphere: ‘Spirits that I’ve cited / My commands ignore’ (Goethe). The march is slowly put into motion, the devil watches the procession. Only a glimmer of hope is left when this work hints at the catholic ‘dies irae’ motif before it finishes with a ‘marche grotesque’: a comical and repulsive victory parade of the devil takes its course.

Gioachino Rossini (transcribed by Gian Lucca Gardini):
La Gazza Ladra. Overture to the Opera (1817)
The Overture to Rossini’s opera effectively captures the opera’s main subject: adevilishly clever, thieving magpie. The Opera tells the story of a young girl who is tried and sentenced to death for stealing a silver spoon; however she is saved from death at the very last minute by the discovery of the thief, the thieving magpie. The opera is best known for its overture due to its regular appearance on the concert platform and in film and television, but also because it is musically notable for its use of the snare drum. Rossini was famous for his writing speed, and La Gazza Ladra was no exception. Reportedly, the producer had to lock Rossini in a room the day before the first performance in order to write the overture.

Pietro Mascagni (arranged by Koh Shishikura):
Cavalleria Rusticana. Selections from the Opera (1890)
In 1889, music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno sponsored a competition for young Italian composers who had not yet brought an opera to stage. Cavalleria Rusticana was submitted, winning First Prize. It had ideology, principle, and the emotional extremes embraced by the Italian Verismo movement of the late 19th century. In the story, Turiddu, a young villager in Sicily, returns from military service to find his fiancée Lola married to Alfio, the prosperous village teamster. This arrangement includes three exerpts from the original opera. The beautiful Intermezzo motif is internationally revered; it forms the grand finale of this piece.

John Williams (transcribed by Paul Lavender):
Summon the Heroes. Fanfare for the 1996 Summer Olympics
Written for the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Modern Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, this piece is the third of four compositions John Williams has written for the Olympics, following the 1984’s Olympic Fanfare and Theme and 1988’s Olympic Spirit, and preceding 2002’s Call of the Champions. This one-movement orchestral composition has been highly praised: film music critic James Southall finds it is “Williams’ best concert piece, and maybe his best piece period.”

Sergei Prokofiev (transcribed by Sam Daniels):
Peter and the Wolf. Symphonic Fairy Tale for Children op. 67 (1936)
Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev composed Peter and the Wolf for narrator and orchestra. Combining a strong storyline, distinctive instumentation and memorable melodies, the work soon became a children’s classic. It has subsequently received countless recordings, with narrators ranging from the composer’s son and grandson to showbusiness celebrities including David Bowie, Sting, Bono and Dame Edna Everage. Tonight’s performance is narrated by royal wedding composer Paul Mealor, Professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen, and Honorary President of The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra.

Frank Ticheli:
Loch Lomond (2002)
Through this arrangement Ticheli tells his own unique story about the Battle of Culloden Moor. It begins with a farewell between the Scottish Jacobites and their wives prior to the Battle. The men then go on to the battle which they sadly lost. After this the men were sent down to London for trial, whilst their families had to travel down on foot to witness the fate of their beloveds. The men were found guilty and sentenced to death, their bodies were then severed and sent to cities between Glasgow and London to be displayed as a detterent to others for committing treason. According to Celtic legend if someone dies in a foreign land their spirit will travel back to their homeland by the ‘low road’- the route for the souls of the dead. Whilst the living families travelled back by the ‘high roads’ over the mountains arriving afterwards, at the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Paul Mealor (Narration) has been described as, “the most important composer to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias” (New York Times, 2001) and his music is, “marked by something outside of himself that is beautifully spatial and evocative of landscape… it illuminates both our past and our future” (The Guardian, 2011). Paul Mealor’s music has rapidly entered the repertoire of musicians around the world. He was catapulted to international attention when 2.5 billion people heard his motet Ubi caritas performed at the Royal Wedding Ceremony of His Royal Highness Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey, 29th April 2011. Paul Mealor is Professor of Compositon at the University of Aberdeen. He is Honorary President of The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra. 

Rolf-Michael Steitz is a German trumpet player, singer (baritone) and composer. He was introduced to classical music from an early age, his father was an excellent accordion player. He studied trumpet under the careful tuition of Ehrenfried Oppitz, focusing on repertoire from opera and musicals to jazz and traditional music. He received his classical voice training from Carmen Todorov in Bad Honnef and Thomas Dobmeier in Helmbrecht, Germany. Recent engagments as both a trumpet player and baritone include principal positions in the Rheinisch Bergische Bläserphilharmonie Bensberg, RBB Big Band, as well as various choirs, ensembles, alongside solo performances in the Rhineland area and all over Germany and Europe. Although he started exploring his compositional skills from an early age, it was only later that he specialised in composition for both symphonic orchestras and wind and brass ensembles. His works are regularly performed; a gala concert with two symphonic orchestras was dedicated to showcase his most popular compositions, celebrating the composer’s 50th birthday. “To create something that inspires not only yourself but also fills the listener with enthusiasm, again and again - to me this is a feeling of absolute solidarity. Universal and gratifying beyond all description.”

Tobias Patrick Wolf (Music Director) studied in Cologne and Bonn in Germany before he came to live in Aberdeen in 2015. His career in the music industry started with a position at the International Beethovenfest Bonn and a liaison with international participants including the world’s most renowned orchestras, soloists and conductors, such as Sir Simon Rattle, Paavo Järvi, Daniel Harding, Valery Gergiev, Sir Colin Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Paul MacAlindin, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Christian Thielemann, Lorin Maazel and many more. He was appointed District Youth Conductor in the administrative district of Neuwied, Germany in 2010 and he has conducted a number of ensembles in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North-Rhine Westphalia. Tobias Patrick Wolf was Artistic Director of the klangTunnel Music Festival 2015. He first appeared as a conductor in Scotland when he gave his debut with the University of Aberdeen Wind Ensemble at the Aberdeen and North East of Scotland Music Festival 2016 which was awarded with a gold award for an ‘outstanding’ performance. He regularly performs and tours with various ensembles of the University of Aberdeen as conductor, trumpet player and tenor, including the UoA Symphony Orchestra, Marischal Chamber Orchestra (Principal Trumpet), AU Wind and Concert Bands, UoA Opera Society Orchestra and the renown UoA Chamber Choir who released their Top 3 UK Chart Album ‘Immortal Memmory’ in 2017.

Ashley Cameron Edwards (Music Director) is a conductor and trombonist based in Aberdeen. While still a music student at the University of Aberdeen, Ashley was invited to conduct the University of Aberdeen Wind Ensemble, preparing a programme for the Aberdeen and North East of Scotland Music Festival 2016. Ashley Edwards has specialised in conducting wind and brass orchestras. Recent engagements as a conductor include collaborations with the finest local brass bands around Aberdeen and Edinburgh, as well as productions with pit orchestras in musical theatre shows. As an active trombone player who studied under Alan Fernie and Mark Boyd, he has performed with a large variety of orchestras and ensembles, amongst others with the University of Aberdeen Symphony Orchestra, Marischal Chamber Orchestra, Midlothian Community Wind Ensemble and the Midlothian Jazz Band. Ashley gave his debut as Co-Director and Conductor of The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra at their Aberdeen Inaugural Concert in November 2016. He is Conductor and Vice-President of the Aberdeen University Concert Band. 

Robbie Lucas (Leader) began playing clarinet at age 11, studying with Lesley Bell at the Aberdeen City Music School in Dyce academy. During this time, he performed in various solo and chamber performances around Aberdeen. He is currently in his 3rd year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), studying under Yann Ghiro - Principal of the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra. Robbie regularly performs in the RCS wind orchestra, symphony orchestra, lunchtime concerts and is also on a young person’s apprenticeship scheme with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He plans to pursue orchestral work in the future but always takes on as many opportunities to play in solo and ensemble projects as he can.