Musical world-first

IAN CLARKE The world premiere of a piece written by a globally-acclaimed composer will take place in Norwich this Saturday, April 9. Ian Clarke finds out more about the man from the heart of rural Norfolk who is behind the long-awaited composition.

IAN CLARKE

There is a slightly sad inevitability that such a notable event may not get the wide recognition it deserves due to certain other goings-on occurring on the same day.

The rescheduled and seemingly jinxed royal wedding is likely to attract more than its fair share of the limelight nationwide.

Closer to home, Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United bandwagon rolls into Carrow Road with Messrs Rooney, van Nistelrooy, Giggs, Keane and Co on board for the live TV clash.

Oh, and then there is the little matter of a boxing world title fight in the city featuring local hero Jon Thaxton.

But for classical music aficionados there is only one place to be on Saturday evening. That is the 300-seat concert hall at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, as globally acclaimed Norfolk composer Douglas Weiland's long-awaited Second Piano Trio Op.32 gets its world premiere.

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It has been especially written for the distinguished Altenberg Trio from Vienna – Austria's foremost piano trio.

And the musicians – Claus-Christian Schuster (piano), Amiram Ganz (violin) and Alexander Gebert (cello) – will perform the work during the final concert of the Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music season.

Mr Weiland, who lives at Old Beetley, near Dereham, is composer in residence to the Norfolk and Norwich Music Club and has been commissioned to produce a series of works to be premiered at the John Innes Centre.

The Third Solo Cello Suite (Isserlis Mikro-Suite) Op.37 for Steven Isserlis will be unveiled in November and then next March will see the first performance of the Clarinet Quintet Op.33 for Andrew Marriner/ Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields Ensemble.

Mr Weiland's music has won an acclaimed international reputation and he enjoys ever-growing recognition, but he is proud of the illustrious performers who will be premiering his new commissions.

"They are some of the great ensembles in the world and it is a lifetime's work to have that kind of regard."

Mr Weiland was born in 1954 in Malvern, Worcestershire, and developed a career as a violinist, based mostly in London, and it culminated with five years as a founder member of the Australian Quartet, during which time he performed all over the world.

Since his departure from AQ in 1990, he has worked as a full-time composer and forged a career as a "modern classical" composer with an output comprising orchestral, choral and chamber works.

Mr Weiland has lived in the quiet and rural setting of Old Beetley since 1997 with his wife Hilary, who is director of music at Norwich High School for Girls, and son Benjamin, currently a chorister at Norwich Cathedral.

He is now working on three commissions: Triple Concerto Op.38 for Neville Marriner/ASMF/Altenbreg Trio; Third Quartet Op.39 for the Janacek Quartet; and Piano Concerto Op.31 for Marie-Noelle Kendall.

Mr Weiland has had some highly distinguished commissions from Sir Neville Marriner, including a Divertimento for Strings Op.15, which the Academy of St Martin-in-the-fields – directed by Kenneth Sillito – toured to the Far East and performed at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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