17th July 7.30pm, Charlie Lovell-Jones

Franz Schubert, Fantasie in C Major, D. 934

William Grant Still, African Dancer from Suite for Violin and Piano

Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001

Karol Szymanowski, La fontaine d'Aréthuse from Mythes, Op. 30

Florence Price arr. Charlie Lovell-Jones, Adoration

Camille Saint-Saëns, Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 75

Charlie Lovell-Jones

Charlie Lovell-Jones has been recognised as one of the most promising violinists to emerge internationally. Since his sold-out Royal Festival Hall debut aged 15, he has appeared with orchestras including the Sendai Philharmonic, Yamagata Symphony, English Chamber, RTE Concert, and BBC NOW.

In 2020, he received scholarships from the Hattori Foundation, the Drake Calleja Trust, and the Countess of Munster Trust. He also won the Harriet Cohen Music Award, and has a Royal Academy of Music Bicentenary Scholarship, offered on the spot in his postgraduate audition. He was a semi-finalist at Sendai International Music Competition, receiving public commendation from the jury chair, and was a BBC Young Musician Category Finalist. He has won awards from significant competitions across the UK, and has broadcast regularly on TV and radio.

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Charlie read music at Oxford University, where he held academic and instrumental scholarships. He graduated with a first and a Gibbs Prize for exceptional performance. His upcoming appearances include several concerto performances as well as recitals for the Isle of Wight Arts Association, Fidelio Orchestra Cafe, and the Andermatt Music Festival, Switzerland.

 

Charlie is a long-term student of internationally renowned violinist, concertmaster and pedagogue, Rodney Friend MBE. As a beneficiary of the J&A Beare Violin Society, he plays an important 1777 G.B. Guadagnini violin, loaned to him by a generous benefactor.

Daniel King Smith

Daniel King Smith has given concerts all over the world as both soloist and accompanist. He has been broadcast on both BBC TV/Radio in the UK (In Tune, Proms, Young Musician of the Year) and NHK TV/Radio in Japan, most recently in recital with Yuki Ito as part of NHK’s “Best of Classic” and “Classic Club” series. Daniel has recorded a number of CDs, including releases with Yuki Ito for Sony and with Anna Hashimoto on the Meridian label. 

As a soloist, Daniel’s extensive concerto repertoire has lead to many concerts in the UK and around Europe. He has frequently been a featured Solo Classical Artist on many Cruise lines around the world.

Accompaniment and chamber music are a major part of Daniel’s life, having held staff accompanist posts at both Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music Junior Departments and at the Purcell School. He regularly accompanies auditions, lessons, masterclasses and end of year recitals at the London conservatoires as well as being official accompanist for the Countess of Munster Trust.

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He is also official accompanist for the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists competition. Daniel is often resident pianist on summer music courses including the British Isles Music Festival and Musicale. He has given recitals with Michael Collins, Carmel Kaine, Susan Milan, Robert Max, Yuki Ito and Anna Hashimoto, amongst many others and is a member of the Ridgeway Ensemble.

Meet Charlie

What has been your favourite musical experience so far?

My favourite musical experience so far was performing at the Sendai International Music Competition in 2019. It was my first appearance in a prominent international competition, and I had an absolute blast performing Bach and Prokofiev Violin Concertos, among other pieces. The real thrill of it was the feeling of comfort and passion I found on that stage - particularly in the first round, I felt able to be myself while performing in a way that I hadn’t quite found before. I also just loved meeting an international community of incredible violinists and musicians - it was so inspiring. I have two more international competitions coming up now, and I can’t wait to see what opportunities for growth they will bring!

 

What brought you and Daniel together?

It’s my pleasure to be performing with Daniel King Smith for the first time in this concert! There is so much to do for both the violin and piano in Schubert’s Fantasie and Saint-Saens’ sonata, so this is very much a baptism of fire for the two of us. I’m so excited!

How have you found the last year, largely devoid of concerts?

The last year has been tough. Having a series of exciting upcoming performances pulled out from underneath my feet was really upsetting and actually quite disorientating. Though I suppose it gave me a bit more time to revise for my finals at Oxford! It also gave me time to stop, reflect, and grow - in the last year, I have been able to reevaluate my approach to violin playing as an individual, pleasure-based art form and as a profession, and to find a healthier balance between the two. I have been able to choose my repertoire freely, practice almost meditatively, and grow as a musician, performer, and individual. I have a much deeper understanding of myself after this last year, and that has enabled me to find new heights of expression while playing.

Tell us a bit about the programme you’ll be performing at the Festival. Why are you playing these works?

I absolutely love all of the pieces I am playing. Schubert’s Fantasie in C major is an enormous duo piece for violin and piano, presenting many musical challenges. Studying it has helped my musicianship develop hugely, thinking about for example the relationship between articulation, phrasal structure, narrative arc, and chamber aesthetics. It isn’t played as often as other chamber works by Schubert because of its difficulty, its elusive kind of magic. It also requires endurance! There are no breaks between movements; the piece runs continuously for 21 minutes. It’s an incredibly beautiful, moving, and triumphant work.

The Saint-Saens sonata runs to similar scale, but is also totally different. It’s incredibly French, with a brooding opening movement leading straight into a gorgeous slow movement, before the glittering scherzo leads to one of the most exciting and fun finales in the chamber repertoire. What’s really amazing about this piece is the simplicity of it - Saint-Saens uses very transparent textures and formal ideas to convey something incredibly impactful, moving, and enjoyable. He also referred to it as a ‘Heldensonate’, denoting its difficulty for both violinist and pianist. It’s quite the rollercoaster! 

I chose William Grant Still’s African Dancer and Florence Price’s Adoration as two shorter works to punctuate the middle of the programme for several reasons. Despite being twentieth-century pieces, they both have strikingly different idioms. Yet they still fundamentally connect to what it meant to be a Black American in the first half of the last century. African Dancer is a piece that responds to a sculpture by queer Black artist Richmond Barthé (both he and Grant Still were heavily involved in the Harlem Renaissance). It is fiery, defiant and dynamic, using jazz harmonies and ever-shifting textures and melodies to convey the vibrancy of the dancer’s life force. Adoration, on the other hand, is a beautifully simple piece which powerfully evokes a sense of what it meant to be a deeply religious American Black woman in the 1930s. With a steadily moving texture and spacious harmonies, it creates a sense of grandeur and intimacy all at once, while the quietly bluesy middle section conveys a sense of profound sadness. 

This last year has shown us more than ever the importance of representation in accepting diversity and multiculturalism. My programme consists of music entirely by either queer, Black, or female composers, all of whom will appear in my upcoming recording with Linn Records as part of my Bicentenary Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. With my debut disc, I want to take social responsibility through my violin playing, for I believe music can have such power and cultural agency that it can change the world for the better. This programme is thus very personal, as a taster of the work I hope to do in the coming years. 

If our audience wanted to listen to some other music related to your programme, what would you recommend?

There is plenty of wider listening related to my programme! For example:

Schubert: Grand Duo in A Major for Violin and Piano

Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

Faure: Violin Sonata No. 1

William Grant Still: Symphony No. 1, 'Afro-American'

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Violin Concerto

Florence Price: Symphony No. 1

As a more light-hearted way to get to know you, if you were an ice cream flavour, what would it be & why?

Haha! I love ice cream. My favourite flavour is mint choc-chip, but if I were the flavour itself… Ben and Jerry’s Vegan Cookie Dough, as I’m vegan, like chunky things, and believe that there’s always parts of us that are latent, and while they can be nurtured (or baked) into a fully-fledged cookie, they can also be appreciated just as they are in their raw state!