Peter Bassano

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Peter Bassano

Peter Bassano (born in London in 1945) is an English conductor.

Family[edit]

His descent from Anthony Bassano the oldest brother of a family of six Venetian musicians brought to England by King Henry VIII is registered at the College of Arms.[1] Three generations of the Bassano family [2] dominated instrumental music at the English Court from 1540 until the death of Charles I. In 1973 the historian A. L. Rowse[3] nominated the poet Emilia Lanier, daughter of Baptist Bassano, as his candidate for the Dark Lady of the Shakespeare Sonnets.

Performing career[edit]

Bassano has been Music Director of the Oxford University Sinfonietta[4] – whose broad repertoire spans from Biber[disambiguation needed] to Birtwistle – The Virtuosi of the Mannheim Court, The City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, the professional choir, The Gentlemen of the Chappell, The Equale Baroque Players, Wendover Choral Society, City of Cambridge Band and Oxford Touring Opera. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Britten/Pears Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Hong Kong Academy Wind Orchestra, Imperial College Symphony Orchestra, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, National Youth Wind Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Oman Symphony, Ulster Youth Orchestra, Vaasa City Orchestra as well as at many conservatoires, choirs and bands around the world.

He studied trombone and singing at the Royal College of Music 1965–68. As a trombonist, he was a member of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for twenty seven years but retained a commitment to the performance of wider musical genres than just the symphonic, including early music on original instruments. He played the sackbut for David Munrow's Early Music Consort, the English Baroque Soloists, the Gabrieli Consort and His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts [1] as well as playing the trombone occasionally for the London Sinfonietta. As an orchestral musician he played under Abbado, Boulez, Britten, Davis, Gardiner, Giulini, Harnoncourt, Klemperer, Kubelik, Levine, Lutoslawski, MacMillan, Maxwell-Davies, Mehta, Muti, Maazel, Norrington, Penderecki, Rattle, Salonen, Sinopoli, Svetlanov, Tilson-Thomas and Zinman.

He was elected for two terms to the Philharmonia's Council of Management and was a member of the Orchestra's Artistic Planning Committee of four, the others being Amelia Freedman, Robert Ponsonby and John Wallace.

His career as a free-lance trombone player took him to all of the London orchestras, playing in many West-end musicals, including Golden Boy, Man of la Mancha, Threepenny Opera, The Great Waltz, the National Theatre (Much Ado about Nothing, H, Three Sisters), a run of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale at the Young Vic, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, films – Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Meaning of Life, Oliver, Ryan's Daughter, Superman 2, The Devils, The Lion in Winter, Watership Down and Women in Love – and television – All Creatures Great and Small, Black Beauty, Elizabeth R, I, Claudius, The Pallisers – and touring and recording with the Bee Gees, Pink Floyd and the Beatles on the chart topping Hey Jude.

He was the founder, trombonist and Artistic Director of the brass quintet, Equale Brass. This ensemble, which was composed of Philharmonia players John Wallace, John Miller (trumpets), Michael Thompson (horn) and John Jenkins (tuba), made seven records, toured worldwide, and commissioned twenty seven new works from composers as diverse as David Bedford, Peter Skellern, Roger Smalley and John Tavener. Bassano acted as Secretary to the Equale Trust, a registered charity that supported the commissioning of composers and sought sponsorship for the work of Equale Brass.

Academe[edit]

Bassano returned to the Royal College of Music as professor of trombone in 1978, he was appointed Head of Brass Faculty and Staff Conductor in 1993, a position he held until 2004. He has given masterclasses at the Paris Conservatoire, Sibelius Akademy (Helsinki), Hong Kong Academy, Royal Swedish Academy, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney Conservatoires and has been a guest lecturer at Cambridge, Duke, Edinburgh, Indiana, Open, Oxford, Queen's, Salford, Trinity and York Universities. He has written numerous articles for the British musical and national press – including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and The Times – and presented research on the Bassano Family,[5] Beethoven,[6] Byrd,[7] Shakespeare[8] and Veronese.[9] Bassano has served as a competition adjudicator for the BBC Young Musician of the Year, European Music Prize for Youth, Royal OverSeas League, Charterhouse, Eton College, Brass Band Championships of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Yorkshire. He has been an external examiner for the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music.

Conducting career[edit]

Throughout the second half of his playing career he also worked as a conductor taking conducting lessons from Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Elgar Howarth, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Roger Norrington, Jorma Panula and Bramwell Tovey. It was these teachers plus his own broad playing experience that shaped his distinctive and historically aware approach to interpretation.

He was assistant conductor to Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort and Players [10] on the award winning Venetian Coronation and Music at San Rocco and Sir John Eliot Gardiner for his Berlioz Romeo and Juliet recording projects. His recording of music by the early Bassanos and the musical associates of Giovanni Bassano the Gabrielis and Monteverdi, Venice Preserved [11] on the ASV label received critical acclaim.

In Great Britain, he has conducted at the Royal Festival Hall sharing the podium with Vladimir Ashkenazy in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's International Series and at the Royal Albert Hall in a BBC Promenade Concert and at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. In addition he has made several Festival appearances at Aldeburgh, Chester, Greenwich, Nottingham, the Three Choirs.

He has conducted the RCM Chamber Choir (including the first performance in modern times of Beethoven's Trauerklange), introduced a standing RCM Symphony Orchestra to an historically aware performance of Berlioz Sinfonie fantastique and directed the Baroque Orchestra in performances of three of Bach's Brandenberg Concertos at Buckingham Palace. In January 1995 he was one of the first conductors to appear at the newly built Paris concert hall, Cité de la Musique.[12] He returned to this major Paris venue in July 1998 to conduct two concerts with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band[13] to ecstatic reviews and high profile TV coverage.

A champion of new music, he has commissioned and conducted the first performances of Tim Souster's Echoes (Manchester/BBC Radio 3), Joseph Horovitz's Tuba Concerto (Nottingham Festival) and Andrew Powell's [14] Falstaff: Theme and Episodes (Paris, Cité de la Musique), Chris Batchelor's Weasel Words & Winning Ways, Max Charles Davies's[15] Trinity-Credo, Simon Dobson's[16] Four Britten Sketches and Fanfare for Peter, Aaron Einbond's Floral Decorations for Bananas, Edmund Jolliffe's Breathe, Gabriella Swallow's [17] Spit, Ivor Bonnici’s Three Movements for Chamber Orchestra and the UK premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Stockholm Diary.

Honorary Awards[edit]

Fellow of the Royal College of Music 1997 Member of the Royal College of Music 1982

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Norfolk 47/215
  2. ^ David Lasocki; The Bassanos; Venetian Musicians and Instrument Makers in England, 1531–1665 ISBN 0-85967-943-8
  3. ^ Sex and Society in Shakespeare's Age ISBN 0-684-14051-9
  4. ^ http://www.trombone-usa.com/bassano_peter_bio.htm
  5. ^ 24/1/2006 ~ Oxford University Coloquia Lecture ~ Moths, Mulberries and Mountains: Symbolism in the Iconography of the Bassano Family
  6. ^ Les trois Equale et leurs adaptations pour l'enterrement de Beethoven; La revue de Association Beethoven France et Francophonie No.6 - 2e semestre 2006
  7. ^ Sundrie Songs; International William Byrd Conference; Duke University November 17–19, 2005
  8. ^ Shakespeare's Jewish Friends; Jewish Historical Society of England 23rd April 1998
  9. ^ A Second Miracle at Cana: Recent Musical Discoveries in Veronese's Wedding Feast; Historic Brass Society Journal Vol. 6 1994.
  10. ^ http://www.gabrieli.com/
  11. ^ Venice Preserved; Gaudeamus CD GAU 122
  12. ^ 26th January 1995
  13. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4715021/Le-brass-band-Magnifique.html
  14. ^ http://www.cc-cw.org/andrew_powell_english.htm
  15. ^ http://www.cc-cw.org/max_charles_davies_english.htm
  16. ^ http://www.fabermusic.com/serverside/composers/Details.asp?ID=DOBSON,%20SIMON
  17. ^ http://www.maslink.co.uk/cvs/cellos/swallow(gabriella).htm