Hallam Sinfonia News
Latest news from the orchestra
Encouraging local talent… A profile of George Morton
At Hallam Sinfonia we like to encourage local musical talent as much as we can, and in June of this year we will be handing over the reins of the orchestra to George Morton as our guest conductor, performing Shostakovich Symphony no.10.
George, a regular trumpet player for Hallam Sinfonia, conducts ensembles across the country including Sheffield Rep Orchestra and Sheffield Youth Orchestra. We asked him a few questions to get to know him a little bit better…
Q. When you were asked to conduct Shostakovich 10 with Hallam Sinfonia, what were your thoughts?
A. It was a great honour to be asked to conduct Hallam Sinfonia, particularly for Shostakovich 10. I’ve played in the trumpet section since before I ever started conducting and have learned much from fellow HS musicians and our Principal Conductor, Natalia, so it’s a real pleasure to be conducting for this concert. Shostakovich 10 is one of those pieces any conductor would love to conduct. The ferocious second movement is making me the most nervous – to try and get across the tension, anger and exasperation at break-neck speed without slipping a beat... exciting times!
Q. Up to now, what has been your most memorable performance as a conductor?
A. I’ve been lucky enough to conduct a number of silent films with live orchestra, so if I had to pick a highlight, it would have to be one of those. One of the first things I conducted in concert was Gottfried Huppertz’s score to Metropolis (1927) – a 3-hour epic made at the height of the Weimar Republic. The music was so much fun and syncing it to the film without a click-track was a great challenge, but it really helped me ‘cut my teeth’ as a conductor. Since then I’ve also conducted two Charlie Chaplin films, with his own scores. Not many people realise Chaplin wrote music for his own films (his most famous tune is Smile, as recorded by Nat King Cole) – the music is all brilliant and definitely a good place to start with ‘old’ film scores!
Q. Do you have a favourite composer/piece?
A. A few years ago I would have scoffed at anything Mahler composed – too drawn-out and over-emotional... it wasn’t for me. But since reading Norman Lebrecht’s book 'Why Mahler?' and hearing a brilliant performance of Symphony no.5, I’ve been hooked. From the comic macabre of his first symphony’s funeral procession, to the cacophony of an humongous smashed chord in his unfinished tenth symphony, he’s got a bit of everything.
George will be conducting Hallam Sinfonia on June 24, performing Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel Overture, Holst's Egdon Heath and Shostakovich Symphony No.10.
Thursday 19 January 17
Looking ahead to next season
With the rest of this season now in sight, we have been working on our plans for 2016-17.
The season will kick off on 15th October with 'Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven – 2' (a follow up to last season's 'Beethoven Beethoven Beethoven' concert!). Tim Horton will be performing Piano Concertos nos. 2 and 3 alongside Symphony no. 5 with Natalia conducting.
On 11th February we'll be performing Mahler 5 after some exciting new workshop-rehearsals over the winter period. This will be one of the most demanding and large-scale works Hallam Sinfonia have done! We can't wait!
Dates for the rest of the season are 1st April and 24th June. Shostakovich Symphony no. 10 and another 'Passenger Seats' concert are on the plans for these concerts, but as of now are not totally decided. Come back later for more updates on the latter half of the season!
This season has been a busy one in terms of additional orchestral activity, including out-of-town concerts. We hope to maintain this next season, which we hope will include a further visit to Firbeck's village church and our participation in a second Classical Sheffield Festival.
Monday 07 March 16