Programme: The French Clarinet
- Debussy: Première Rhapsodie
- Debussy: Two preludes
- Debussy: Images Book 1
- Poulenc: Clarinet sonata
- Milhaud: Sonatine op 76
- Satie: Le Piccadilly
- Satie: Je te veux
- Saint-Saëns: Clarinet sonata Op 167
We’re delighted to welcome the celebrated clarinettist Michael Collins and pianist Noriko Ogawa for the first concert in our eighth season, featuring French works for clarinet and piano.
Michael Collins is one of the most complete musicians of his generation. With a continuing, distinguished career as a soloist, he has in recent years also become highly regarded as a conductor and in 2010 took the position of Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia. Recent guest conducting and play-directing highlights have included engagements with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Ulster Orchestra, and the HPAC Orchestra in Kyoto, Japan.
Michael Collins has been committed to expanding the repertoire of the clarinet for many years. He has given premières of works such as John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons, Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto – for which he won a Gramophone award for his recording on Deutsche Grammophon – Brett Dean’s Ariel’s Music and Turnage’s Riffs and Refrains, which was commissioned by the Hallé Orchestra. Collins has gone on to perform Turnage’s work with the Residentie Orkest, Royal Flanders and Helsinki Philharmonics, as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
In great demand as a chamber musician, Collins performs regularly with the Borodin and Takács quartets, András Schiff, Martha Argerich, Stephen Hough, Mikhail Pletnev, Lars Vogt, Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis. His ensemble, London Winds, celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2013 and the group maintains a busy diary with high calibre engagements such as the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, City of London Festival, Cheltenham International Festival and Bath Mozartfest. He has a regular relationship with the Wigmore Hall and was one of their Artists in Residence in 2015/16, which includes concerts with London Winds and Christine Rice, Ailish Tynan and with the Borodin Quartet – with whom he will also work at the Cite de la Musique in Paris. Collins is also Artistic Director of the Liberation International Music Festival in Jersey.
Michael Collins records exclusively for Chandos and has covered a wide range of repertoire in his prolific recording career, which also includes releases on Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, EMI and Sony. Recent releases include a disc of British Clarinet Concertos with the BBC Symphony Orchestra which features Collins as soloist and conductor, as well as a disc of Brahms and Reinicke Clarinet Sonatas with pianist Michael McHale. Collins’s 50th Birthday was celebrated with a Chandos release of Weber Concertos conducted and performed by himself with the City of London Sinfonia. He has also recorded concertos by Corigliano, Adams, Carter, as well as Spohr, Copland and of course Mozart. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2015, Michael Collins was awarded an MBE for his services to music. He plays exclusively on Yamaha clarinets.
Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Noriko’s “ravishingly poetic playing” (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records, confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist. Her Images Book I and II were chosen as the top recommendation ‘exquisite delicacy’, BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, January 2014. Noriko’s latest recording for BIS records is of solo piano music by Eric Satie.
Noriko appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, as well as the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of Richard Dubugnon’s Piano Concerto. Noriko made her BBC Proms debut in August 2013 and appeared again in 2014 with the Endymion Ensemble. She was the Artistic Director for the Reflections on Debussy Festival 2012 at Bridgewater Hall. In 2015 she continued as Associate Artist for Ravel and Rachmaninov Festival.
As a recitalist and chamber musician, with her piano duet partner Kathryn Stott, Noriko has performed Malcolm Arnold’s Concerto for Two Pianos at the 2013 BBC Proms.
Noriko regularly judges the BBC Young Musician, Munich International Piano Competition, Honens International Piano Competition and the Scottish International Piano Competition. Noriko has been appointed as Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018.
Noriko’s Japanese translation of Susan Tomes’s book Out of Silence – a pianist’s yearbook has been reprinted due to popular demand.
Noriko is passionate about charity work, after the tsunami in Japan in 2011, she has raised over £40,000 for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Fund. Noriko founded Jamie’s Concerts a series for autistic children and parents and is a Cultural Ambassador for the National Autistic Society.
Noriko is a professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.