Chichester Observer

Northern Chords join the Chichester Chamber series

- Phil Hewitt Group Arts Editor ents@chiobserve­

Northern Chords Ensemble are the latest guests in the Chichester Chamber Concerts series, performing in Chichester’s Assembly Room on Thursday, November 4 at 7.30pm.

They will be playing: Mozart Piano Quartet No 2 in E flat major K493; Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonata in E flat major Op 12 No 3; and Brahms Piano Quartet No 1 in G minor Op 23.

The Northern Chords Ensemble features artists from the Northern Chords Festival which was founded in 2009 by artistic director Jonathan Bloxham who will be playing the cello in Chichester.

The festival takes place on the banks of the River Tyne and brings together the most exciting young musicians from across Europe to play unique concerts that excite, surprise and inspire audiences across the region, Jonathan says.

“I started it because I hugely felt that the north-east has lost out a little bit with the arts. One of the reasons I left the north-east was because I really wanted to spread my wings musically and there was not a lot of chance to do that up there.

“Young people in music were moving away because they didn’t have the chances. I thought, when I was 19 when I set up the festival, that if I brought younger people to perform there, then perhaps the next generation will be able to stay, and we’ve had some beautiful successes through the festival, young people going on to become musicians.”

As for the Northern Chords Ensemble: “Rather than importing full ensembles coming to the festival we wanted to put together unique groups. And out of putting these together we decided that we wanted to play more together.”

The Northern Chords is a flexible ensemble and Chichester has already enjoyed a concert by the group as a trio when they stepped in at short notice to replace the Sitkovetsk­y Trio in November 2020. Now they are back as a quartet – back at a time when the world of music is recovering.

“It is fantastic to be playing again. It is so good. It was a very strange time for everybody in the performing arts. But it is wonderful now that we are finding a way to get back to performing again. Everything came to a halt and I think for the first few months for us it was a good time for reflection and also reinvestin­g and rememberin­g why we do what we do and also rememberin­g just what a hugely important part the audience is.

“Online you can perform and it is all well and good but it absolutely is not the same as having an audience in front of you.

“Audiences are participan­ts. They share in the energy in the room and yes, they can influence the performanc­e. Playing in front of the camera is a very different relationsh­ip, but nothing is like playing in the moment in front of people.

“Music is a fleeting art form apart from when it is recorded, obviously. Performing live is an art form that has just gone in that moment, and that is the wonderful thing when you share it with an audience. Obviously if something is recorded and you can view it on Youtube it’s a very different kind of attention that you give it, a much lower attention, but really nothing is quite like enjoying it in the moment at the time of the performanc­e.

“It was definitely a shock at first when everything stopped. It has been tough. There is the practical financial side as well, of course, but I felt quite lucky in that I have been able to work from September last year.

“I had about one project a month from September and that has been a lifeline. It was nothing that had originally been in the diary but new projects we’re starting to arrive from organisati­ons that had had a huge shock and were now finding new ways to get back.”

Tickets from the CFT.

 ?? Pic by Kaupo Kikkas ?? Jonathan Bloxham
Pic by Kaupo Kikkas Jonathan Bloxham

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