Totnes Early Music Society (TEMS) concert organizer Jill Tomalin says: ‘I am delighted to be hosting four outstandingly talented young musicians who comprise the ensemble Improviso for the second concert of the new TEMS season on Saturday 19 October. They will be appearing at St Mary’s Church. Totnes at 7.30pm, bringing a programme to include music from JS Bach, Handel, Biber and CPE Bach amongst others.
The concert has a theme of musical alchemy and features music which is inspired by repetition, transformation, and shape-shifting. Excitingly, the group will look at the role of improvisation, played above a repeating bass line, a genre which was popular in the 18th century. Their concert opens with improvised divisions on a ground and ends with improvisation based on ‘La Folia’, a Spanish dance.
The four members of Improviso were all students at the Royal College of Music and have been playing together since March 2017. This dynamic group comprises recorder player Fatima Lahham, who is currently a PhD student at Cambridge, researching 17th century improvisation practices; violinist Elin White, who in addition to playing with Improviso also performs regularly with the Academy of Ancient Music, La Serenissima and Florilegium, including at the BBC Proms, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Wigmore Hall; cellist Florence Petit, who has worked with Florilegium, the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists and the English Concert, and is known to TEM members after playing here with Ensemble Hesperi in September; and Johan Lofving, a prize-winner in the prestigious London International Guitar Competition, and an exciting performer on both guitar and theorbo, who has already given solo recitals at Kings Place and The Sage Gateshead.
Since forming, they have already appeared together at London’s Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St John’s Smith Square, the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh, York Early Music Christmas Festival, and made several appearances on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme.
As one of the ensembles selected for the emerging project 2017-2018 (Emerging European Ensembles), Improviso has enjoyed residencies at Snape Maltings and the Ambronay Cultural Centre, as well as performing at the Festival d’Ambronay, France, and at Ghislierimusica’s Barocco Fuori festival in Pavia, Italy. The ensemble was selected as Brighton Early Music Festival Young Artists 2017-2018, and were finalists in the Royal Overseas League competition in London this year. The ensemble has just been selected for St John Smith Square’s Young Artist scheme.
Jill went on to add: ‘Rarely have we seen a group of young performers establish themselves so quickly, and gain this level of recognition. We are lucky to be able to bring them to Totnes at this early stage in their careers.’
For more information, see www.totnesearlymusic.org.uk. Tickets for all TEMS concerts are available in advance via the Dartington website, www.dartington.org, and box office (01803 847070), or on the door. Advance tickets are £13, and £5 for under 18s. Tickets on the door are £14/£5
Improviso will be in Totnes on Saturday October 19 in St Mary’s Church, Totnes, at 7.30pm
Philip R Buttall