HarrisonParrott's 50th Anniversary

Our anniversary concert at Southbank Centre October 2019

By HarrisonParrott Foundation

HP50 Anniversary Animated TimelineHarrisonParrott Foundation

An animated timeline of our 50 year history

Elim Chan, Zwakale Tshabalala, Jess Gillam & Vikingur Olafsson next generationHarrisonParrott Foundation

Elim Chan, Víkingur Ólafsson, Jess Gillam and Zwakale Tshabalala arrive for a day of concerts celebrating HarrisonParrott's 50th Anniversary at London's Southbank Centre.

pianists group photoHarrisonParrott Foundation

As the performers arrived for their dress rehearsals ahead of the afternoon concerts, we managed to gather together the six pianists (from left): Tamar Halperin, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Tamara Stefanovich, Daniel Kharitonov, Alice Sara Ott and Víkingur Ólafsson. There was some debate as to what one calls a group of pianists. A board? A stave? 

Daniel Kharitinov and Leticia Moreno rehearsalHarrisonParrott Foundation

Daniel Kharitonov and Leticia Moreno rehearse in the morning for their performance of Falla’s Suite Populaire españole

Vikingur Olafsson through the doorHarrisonParrott Foundation

Through the letterbox: Víkingur Ólafsson warms up for his performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Pekka Kuusisto, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Alban Gerhardt & Itsvan Varadi strings groupHarrisonParrott Foundation

A string conference with 

 Pekka Kuusisto

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Alban Gerhardt

and István Várdai

Jörg Widmann clarinet on stage soloHarrisonParrott Foundation

At our first concert at 12:00pm inside a sold out Queen Elizabeth Hall, Jörg Widmann performed his own solo Fantasie, which explored every possible clarinet sound and texture.

Andreas Scholl and Tamar Halprin on stageHarrisonParrott Foundation

Andreas Scholl and Tamar Halperin collected together a selection of classical and folk works ranging from Purcell to Vaughan Williams.

Alice Sara Ott liveHarrisonParrott Foundation

Alice Sara Ott performed works from her latest album, Nightfall.

Zwakele Tshabalala, Gillian Moore, Pekka Kuusisto and Jess Gillam on stageHarrisonParrott Foundation

Between the first two concerts, Southbank Centre’s Director of Music Gillian Moore led a panel discussion about the responsibilities of the 21st-century musician, as well as the new HarrisonParrott Foundation. Gillian was joined by

Violinist Pekka Kuusisto  

Saxophonist Jess Gillam, one of the Foundation’s trustees said: ​‘In today’s society where we have huge amounts of conflict arising from so many different areas of life, as musicians we have the capability with the power of music to unite people and bring them together in something that stands above rules and regulations, something that’s part of the fabric of who we are as a society.’

and Zwakele Tshabalala. 

Zwakele Tshabalala sings soloHarrisonParrott Foundation

At the end of the panel discussion, South African tenor Zwakele Tshabalala had the audience rapt with his a cappella version of ​‘Tra voi belle’ from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Zwakele is currently studying for his Master of Performance at the Royal College of Music on a full scholarship.

Lucienne Renaudin Vary trumpet on stage 2HarrisonParrott Foundation

In a Sentimental Mood: Lucienne Renaudin Vary played Duke Ellington’s classic.

Alban Gerhardt and Ksenija Sidorova liveHarrisonParrott Foundation

Ksenija Sidorova and Alban Gerhardt evoked the Argentinian ballroom with Piazzolla’s Le grand tango.

Tamara Stefanovich and Barbara Hannigan post performanceHarrisonParrott Foundation

Barbara Hannigan mesmerised the Queen Elizabeth Hall audience with her selection of Wolf’s Goethe Lieder, accompanied by Tamara Stefanovich.

Barbara Hannigan, George Benjamin and Tamara Stefanovich selfieHarrisonParrott Foundation

Meta-selfie: Tamara Stefanovich takes a snap with Barbara Hannigan and composer George Benjamin.

Lydia Connolly speech QEH wide viewHarrisonParrott Foundation

Director Lydia Connolly introduced the second half of the concert and the new HarrisonParrott Foundation. She explained the intention behind it, saying: ​‘Music itself is inclusive and diverse. It can bring huge satisfaction and profound joy to anyone and everyone. It can bring together all kinds of people, regardless of age, status or colour. But the world around us doesn’t always think that or enable it – and that’s what we want to change. We hope that our programmes may spark new ideas and possibilities. We have big hopes and innovative plans. Change starts with one small step and today we’re making that step.’

Alban Gerhardt black and white walk to the stageHarrisonParrott Foundation

Down the players’ tunnel – Alban Gerhardt makes his way to the stage of Queen Elizabeth Hall for his performance of the Prelude from Bach’s Suite No.6.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Pekka Kuusisto violins QEH laughterHarrisonParrott Foundation

Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Pekka Kuusisto hopped (literally) on stage to perform For Lydia – a piece specially written for the occasion and for HP Director Lydia Connolly – by Péter Eötvös. They followed it with a selection of Bartók and Ligeti duos, their joy in the music and in performing together palpable.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducting Philharmonia at HP50HarrisonParrott Foundation

Santtu-Matias Rouvali rehearses Strauss with the Philharmonia – The Guardian review of his performance described him as ​‘expressive to his fingertips’. Read The Guardian review here

Barbara Hannigan (soprano) makes a suprise appearance to open HP50 RFHHarrisonParrott Foundation

At 7pm, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Paavo Järvi came on to the Royal Festival Hall stage, but there was a collective gasp as the house and stage lights went out leaving the hall absolutely dark. A spotlight came on to reveal Barbara Hannigan, who sang Nono’s unaccompanied Djamila Boupachà. One of the talking points later and one of the mysteries of the day was how Hannigan had managed to climb on to the stage in the pitch black (wearing high heels). The Nono segued perfectly into Schubert’s ​‘Unfinished’ Symphony.

Paavo Jäarvi conducts liveHarrisonParrott Foundation

Paavo Järvi coaxed some extraordinary colours from the Philharmonia Orchestra in his performance of Schubert’s ​‘Unfinished’ Symphony

Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducts Philharmonia Orchestra during HP50HarrisonParrott Foundation

After the Schubert, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, the Philharmonia’s Principal Conductor-designate, conducted Strauss’ impassioned Der Rosenkavalier Suite, based on the composer’s operatic tale of decadent 18th-century Viennese aristocracy. 

Jasper Parrott thanks artists and audiences for celebrating 50 years of HarrisonParrottHarrisonParrott Foundation

After the interval, Jasper came on stage to welcome the audience and thank the musicians. In launching the new HarrisonParrott Foundation, he also delivered a hard-hitting attack on today’s political climate, including ​‘the erosion of fair and equal access to both the experience of and education in the creative arts for our young people,’ and he warned of the risks of Brexit to the creative arts. He also underlined the importance of musicians in this context: ​‘It seems to me that it is to the artists that we must look for the championing of those essential and irreplaceable values which can nurture healthy and hopeful societies for everyone – values which are so egregiously ignored by so many of the political classes of our day.’ Read his full speech here.

Elim Chan conducts liveHarrisonParrott Foundation

After the interval, Elim Chan conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s turbulent Overture to Romeo and Juliet. She has described conducting the Philharmonia as being like driving a Ferrari: ​‘The players read every single little gesture you make. They are efficient and free at the same time. They are kind, classy and fast.’

Vladimir Ashkenazy at Jasper Parrott celebrating 50 years togetherHarrisonParrott Foundation

The last piece on the programme was Elgar’s Enigma Variations, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, whose association with the company since its inception has been so key in its success. There was a surprise in store though. The orchestra played an arrangement of Happy Birthday made by the Philharmonia’s own violinist – arranger Julian Milone, composed with Elgar and Strauss-like soundworld that made it the perfect end not only to the concert, but also to the whole day. Ashkenazy brought Jasper on stage, and the two shared the final moments of the evening. 

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