Novi Sad/Paul Cross Memorial Concert

TONY COOPER In the annual Novi Sad/Paul Cross Memorial Concert being held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich this Saturday, January 6 (7.30pm), a short jazz composition, Un Petit Jazz, will be heard by the late John Duarte, a guitarist and composer whose son, Andrew, is well known in Norwich music circles.

TONY COOPER

In the annual Novi Sad/Paul Cross Memorial Concert being held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich this Saturday, January 6 (7.30pm), a short jazz composition, Un Petit Jazz, will be heard by the late John Duarte, a guitarist and composer whose son, Andrew, is well known in Norwich music circles. With his wife, Anne, he runs St George's Music Shop in Norwich and for 18 years he was a lay clerk at Norwich Cathedral before leaving to become master of music at St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral on Earlham Road.

The work, performed by Zoran Krajišnik (guitar) and Laura Levai-Aksin (flute), is a light-hearted piece written in 1982 for the recorder/guitar duo of John Turner/Neil Smith.

The title was inspired by the famous French guitarist Ida Presti, who appeared in Norwich in the early 1960s with her husband Alexandre Lagoya as guests of the Norfolk and Norwich Music Club.


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The programme also includes CPE Bach's Hamburger Sonata, Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances, Bazzini's La Ronde des Lutins and Piazzola's Histoire du Tango. It is completed by a Three Easy Polymetric Studies, a solo guitar piece by present-day Serbian composer, Dusan Bogdanovic, as well as Alkiona, a lyrical solo flute piece by Jasmina Mitrusic.

Duarte senior had a long and distinguished career as a jazz/classical guitarist/composer and wrote over 130 works for guitar and lute which were recorded by 58 artists/ensembles in 24 countries. He had the distinction, too, of playing with the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and was a lifelong friend of the great classical guitarist Segovia. He wrote prolifically winning many awards including a Grammy and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Guitar Foundation of America.

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Sheffield born, he lived between 1919 and 2004 and was educated at Manchester High School and Manchester University where he trained as a chemist. He soon discovered that pharmacy was not to his liking and gave it up to become a full-time jazz musician. His first teacher on the guitar was Terence Usher but he mainly taught himself and played regularly as a jazz musician until 1953.

A prolific writer and critic, he wrote regularly for The Gramophone, Music Teacher and Classical Guitar and interviewed hundreds of musicians including the likes of Anne Sophie Mutter, John Elliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood, Murray Perahia and Catherine Bott.

His 60th, 70th and 80th birthdays were celebrated by special concerts at the Wigmore Hall in London and the Bolivar Hall in Venezuela with guest artistes coming from around the world.

Both artistes appearing in this concert were child prodigies. Krajišnik made his first recording at the age of 16 and received his first guitar lessons in Sarajevo. After graduating he took his masters degree at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and from 1996 he was in the soloist class of Professor L Trier at the Royal Music Conservatoire in Copenhagen.

Levai-Aksin was destined to be a classical performer from a young age. After graduating she took her masters degree at Novi Sad Academy of Arts and later continued her studies in Paris.

She's performed recitals and chamber concerts in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Portugal, Greece and Israel. Currently, she's a member of the Density Flute Trio and the Synergia 5 Wind Quintet as well as solo flautist of the Vojvodina Symphonic Orchestra. She's also professor of flute at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and Banja Luka.

The concert is in honour of Paul Cross, a former education officer of Norfolk County Council. Among his responsibilities was the annual school student exchange between Norwich and Novi Sad. Each year he organised for parties of 20 or more students from a dozen or more Norwich schools to exchange with an equal number of Novi Sad students.

In 1985 he was one of the founding members of the Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association and in 1996 was elected its chairman. He spoke passionately about true friendship at a time when others were suggesting severing links with Novi Sad during the Serbian war in the Nineties. He died in August 1999.

The Novi Sad concerts have become an important part of Norwich's musical calendar and previous concerts have included such imminent artists as Kim Redford, Patricia Rosario and Mark Troop, The Chamber Music Company, Anne Shie and Caroline Palmer as well as by Serbian artistes - Rita Kinka, Natasa Lipvosek and Marina Milic.

t Tickets £10, students £5, available at the door or from Prelude Records, St Giles' Street, Norwich; 01603 628319

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