New Conductor for Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra

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Published on: October 4, 2014
New conductor Jack Lovell with the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra at rehearsal.
New conductor Jack Lovell with the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra at rehearsal.

Promising young conductor Jack Lovell has started on a high note as he takes up the baton with the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra. He has just gained his Master’s Degree in conducting from Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is already putting members through their paces with works such as Suite from Nais by Jean-Philippe Rameau, which he has edited himself. The 23-year-old, whose dream is to become a professional conductor, has chosen an ambitious programme with a French theme for the orchestra’s Christmas concert on December 6 at Coleford Baptist Church. He will be combining Rameau with Ravel’s popular Mother Goose Suite. And to finish the evening he will be conducting Bizet’s First Symphony for his debut in the Dean. Jack, who hails from Somerset, fell in love with music as a child, although he doesn’t come from an inherently musical family. He played piano and tenor horn from a young age and later added cello and French horn. He became hooked on conducting after being given the chance to take up the baton at Richard Huish College in Taunton, where he studied in the sixth form. Jack currently works at the Birmingham Conservatoire and is busy honing his skills, learning repertoire and developing his musicianship. He has taken over from another rising star Thomas Payne, who has conducted the Forest orchestra for the past four years. “I am really looking forward to working with and developing the orchestra,” said Jack. “It will certainly keep me on my toes and motivated.” If you are interested in joining the orchestra, which rehearses at Newnham St Peter’s Primary School every Thursday from 7.30-9.30pm, contact the chairman Liz Pritchard on liz@gl14.net or ring 01594 510604 or visit the website at www.rfdo.org.uk

Press Release: December 2013

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Published on: January 23, 2014

Review of Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra concert on Sat 30th Nov 2013

A large and appreciative audience enjoyed last Saturday’s concert by The Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra at Coleford Baptist Church. This second concert of their 20th anniversary season saw a departure from their normal repertoire, as they performed the overtures and semi staged scenes from 3 Mozart operas – The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte and Don Giovanni. Joining them were 11 talented young singers from Birmingham Conservatoire. Although the orchestra are used to accompanying individual instrumentalists in the performances of concertos, accompanying singers is, as one member of the orchestra put it, “a very different experience, requiring extreme concentration.”

Ably led by Ros Taunton, the orchestra and singers were skilfully and enthusiastically directed by the orchestra’s regular conductor Thomas Payne. The overtures had an appropriately lively and spirited character and the ensemble was generally tight in the accompaniments, though it was sometimes too loud for voices which have not yet developed their full power. The young soloists singing and acting were impressive, conveying the humour and drama of the scenes. Members of the audience who obviously understood the original Italian lyrics were particularly appreciative.

There was a retiring collection for Great Oaks Hospice; the hospice’s founder spoke about its work during the interval.

The orchestra’s next concert is on 29th March 2014 at Newnham Church. The programme will be Smetana’s ‘Vltava,’ Brahms’s violin concerto with soloist Simon Smith and Dvorak’s 6th Symphony. For further details please visit www.rfdo.org.uk

By Rosemary Griffiths

Press Release: 19th February 2013

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Published on: February 21, 2013

The Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra is delighted to announce details of its forthcoming spring concert on Saturday 16th March at Newnham Church. The orchestra will once again be under the musical direction of its energetic young conductor, Thomas Payne, who studied violin and conducting at the Birmingham Conservatoire and will perform Sibelius’s Valse Triste and the Roccoco Variations for Cello and Orchestra during the first half.

The soloist is renowned young cellist, Robert Kurnatowski. As a member of the Bantock Quartet, Robert is currently a Junior Fellow at Birmingham Conservatoire. Initially training as a physicist, Robert was a Music Scholar at the University of Birmingham and graduated in 2010 with a first class honours degree in Physics. He continued his cello studies with Lionel Handy at Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating
in 2012 with distinction on the Master’s programme. During his studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, Robert won places on both the Birmingham Royal Ballet and C.B.S.O. training schemes, and was winner of the Sylvia Cleaver Chamber Music Prize and Derek Young Memorial Award. He was also winner of the strings category of the Symphony Hall Prize, and finalist in the Conservatoire’s Strings Prize, the Delius Prize and the Ambache Prize. In 2012, Robert was invited to perform in the final of the prestigious Muriel Taylor Scholarship competition, and is looking to forward to performing in this year’s final at the end of March 2013. Robert is continuing to study with
Lionel Handy and Richard Lester.

Following the interval the second half will entirely devoted to a performance of Mendelssohn’s third symphony, ‘The Scottish’.

Thomas Payne currently holds the position of Musical Director at both the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra and The Ludlow Orchestra. He is also Principal Conductor of Asklepios Orchestra and Birmingham Conservatoire Student Symphony Orchestra. From 2009-2012 he was Associate Musical Director of Birmingham Concert Orchestra and Principal Conductor for the City of Derby Youth Orchestra.
Since graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2011 he has conducted a number of ensembles including Milton Keynes City Orchestra, Dartington Festival Orchestra, CBSO Youth Orchestra, Bedworth Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Conservatoire Composer’s Ensemble. Thomas has also been a regular guest with Charnwood Orchestra, Wyre Forest Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham University Symphony Orchestra. This year he will make his debut with Hereford String Orchestra and Leamington Chamber Orchestra.
Thomas has recently been working with vocal students from Birmingham Conservatoire, conducting the world premier of James Oldham’s ‘Off the Beaten Track’ with Waste Paper Opera at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham. Thomas has also worked with students on scenes from Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Die Zauerflote, Zaide, La Finta Giardiniera and Carmen. In February 2013 he conducted a semi-staged performance of scenes from Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Albert Herring at the Adrian Boult Hall.

Thomas has been studying privately with Philip Ellis since 2009 and has participated in masterclasses with Sian Edwards, Steuart Bedford, John Carewe and Michael Seal.

The orchestra is led as usual by distinguished local performer and teacher, Ros Taunton. The concert will start at 7.30pm and tickets are available at the door, £8/£5 concessions with all school children getting in for free, so long as they are accompanied by an adult. The orchestra now has a fully updated website and a facebook page where further details about the orchestra and recruitment can be found.For any further info about the orchestra please contact The Chairperson on 01594 510604.

 

Pictured below, Robert Kurnatowski.

 

 

Winter 2012 Concert Review

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Published on: January 17, 2013

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