Festival Exhibition - Kaupo Kikkas - "Ansel"
May
2
to May 6

Festival Exhibition - Kaupo Kikkas - "Ansel"

Project Ansel and Arvo Pärt

As a photographer, I have been working together with Arvo Pärt over ten years, following and documenting his working process and also in portrait sittings. Arvo Pärt's music is probably the greatest inspiration and influence on my visual art. For me, it is fascinating how Pärt's music merges into the essence that starts my visual engine. I consider myself very lucky that my inspiration is coming from the music instead of visual arts. Project "Ansel" takes us to America's last wild landscapes, where famous landscape photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams worked his whole life. My thoughts pick up where Adams left off.  Key to project "Ansel" is Pärt's piece "My heart's in the Highlands" from the Robert Burns poem.


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The Music of Bubbles - Prof. Tim Leighton, University of Southampton
May
2
5:30 PM17:30

The Music of Bubbles - Prof. Tim Leighton, University of Southampton

Gas bubbles in liquids are powerful generators of sound. They are, for example, the main sources of the sounds of waterfalls or breaking waves. The lecture explores how bubbles can track carbon dioxide absorbed in the oceans, the sound of ‘waterfalls’ on other planets, how dolphins use bubbles to aid hunting and how bubbles can help fight the coming ‘antibiotic apocalypse’.

Tim’s Web page

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Festival Overture!
May
2
8:00 PM20:00

Festival Overture!

Beethoven - String Quartet No. 11, in F minor, Op. 95
Arvo Pärt - “Spiegel im Spiegel” for viola and piano
York Bowen - “Fantasy” Clarinet Quintet, Op. 93

Interval  

Schumann - “Märchenerzählungen”, Op. 132, for clarinet, viola and piano
Shostakovich - String Quartet No 9 in E flat major, Op. 117

Goldner String Quartet
Jack Liebeck - violin
Alexandra Raikhlina - violin
Mathieu Herzog - viola
Trish O’Brien - cello
Paul Dean - clarinet
Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro - piano

A theme of the Festival is the music of Arvo Pärt, an inspiration to Kaupo Kikkas and our photographic exhibition. Pärt’s “Speigel im Speigel” will be played by Mathieu Herzog, distinguished violist and former member of the Quattuor Ebene, making his first visit to the Festival. We are equally delighted to welcome back our Australian guests, the Goldner String Quartet, Paul Dean and Trish O’Brein. The Goldners frame the programme in quartets by two of the greatest masters of the genre, Beethoven and Shostakovich. Paul Dean takes the lead in the remaining works by York Bowen and Schumann.

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Brain plasticity: from Music to Hearing Loss -  Prof. Andrew King, University of Oxford
May
3
5:30 PM17:30

Brain plasticity: from Music to Hearing Loss - Prof. Andrew King, University of Oxford

Our ability to hear provides us with an incredibly rich source of information about the world around us and, through language and music, plays a hugely important role in human communication. The tiny disturbances in air molecules that constitute sound are detected by the ear and converted into a form that the brain can understand. The events that unfold in the brain enable us to recognise someone’s voice or a piece of music, to determine the direction from which it came, and to separate particular sounds from the many others that may be present at the same time. One of the most important properties of the brain – which is the topic of this talk – is its capacity to change the way in which sensory signals are processed over multiple timescales. By continually adjusting its own representations, behaviourally relevant aspects of sound are highlighted despite considerable variations in the range of sounds reaching the ears. Furthermore, “plasticity” in those representations provides the basis for learning language and musical training, and also offers the potential for recovery of function following hearing loss.

Andrew King’s webpage

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Phronesis - "We Are All"
May
3
8:00 PM20:00

Phronesis - "We Are All"

Outstanding Jazz Trio, Phronesis, return to Oxford May Music following their stellar performance (then in the pitch dark) in 2016. Their latest adventure, We Are All, the band’s eighth and newest studio album, offers plenty of emotional range and musical richness both for committed Phronesis fans and new listeners alike. But in its title and scope, it also seeks to focus attention on an important message of togetherness and balance beyond the one they demonstrate on the bandstand. The trio aim to shine a light on the interconnectedness of all living species and the responsibility we hold as human beings to coexist in harmony with our environment, and to protect the beauty, fragility and welfare of our planet, and each other.

Phronesis Web Page

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American Connection
May
4
2:30 PM14:30

American Connection

Dvorak - “American” String Quartet in F major, Op. 96
Copland  - Sextet for clarinet, string quartet and piano
John Williams - Elegy for cello and piano
Korngold - “Much Ado About Nothing” Suite, Op. 11, for violin and piano

Goldner String Quartet
Jack Liebeck - violin
Alexandra Raikhlina - violin
Mathieu Herzog - viola
Trish O’Brien - cello
Thomas Carroll - cello
Paul Dean - clarinet
Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro - piano

Dvorak was greatly influenced by the music of America during his time as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. Several of his works reveal these influences, most famously the “New World” Symphony but also this wonderful string quartet. The Copland Sextet was written in 1937 in attempt to make his “Short Symphony” more approachable and therefore to have it performed more often. He succeeded brilliantly! John Williams expanded a fragment from his film music for “Seven Years in Tibet” to produce this touching elegy to commemorate the tragic death of two children. Wolfgang Erich Korngold was a prodigy almost to rival Mozart although he wrote tonight’s exhilarating piece at the ripe old age of 20 for the Burgtheater in Vienna. He was subsequently to become one of Hollywood’s most famous writers of film music, although not perhaps so ubiquitous as John Williams.

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A Sea of Trouble: how plastics are impacting our oceans - Dr Simon Boxall, University of Southampton
May
4
5:30 PM17:30

A Sea of Trouble: how plastics are impacting our oceans - Dr Simon Boxall, University of Southampton

One of the most prevailing topics for the health of our oceans today is the issue of plastics. From the bottles discarded on the beach to the micro plastics that wash down our drains  there is clear evidence that the volume is steadily growing.  With reports that there will soon be more plastic particles in the sea that fish, what is the science behind the story and how concerned should we be.  Can we see the "Pacific Garbage Patch" from space and how wide spread is it?  More importantly can we reverse the trend and return our fragile ocean environment to a pre-plastic time?  These and other issues will be covered in this talk.

Simon Boxall’s Web Page

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Austrian brothers
May
4
8:00 PM20:00

Austrian brothers

Mozart - Piano Quartet in E flat major, K493 
Webern - Langsammer Satz for string quartet
Mahler - Piano Quartet in A minor

Interval  
Arvo Pärt - “Fratres” for string quartet
Mozart - Clarinet Quintet in A major, K581

Goldner String Quartet
Jack Liebeck - violin
Alexandra Raikhlina - violin
Mathieu Herzog - viola
Trish O’Brien - cello
Thomas Carroll - cello
Paul Dean - clarinet
Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro - piano

Sandwiched between two masterworks by Mozart, we have pieces by composers who all particularly admired their great predecessor: Webern expressed enthusiasm for both Beethoven and Mozart, although his own music, following his teacher Schoenberg, went in very different directions; Mahler, whose composition was a sideline to his main career, conducting, was particularly associated with Mozart’s music; Arvo Pärt wrote a beautiful homage to both Mozart and the late Oleg Kagan with his Mozart-Adagio. While the Clarinet Quintet is an old favourite at the Festival, the E flat major Piano Quartet receives its first outing.

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Photowalk with Kaupo Kikkas
May
5
10:30 AM10:30

Photowalk with Kaupo Kikkas

The photowalk two years ago was a great success and we intend to repeat the experience! Please indicate when booking tickets for the Festival whether you want to take part in the walk, as places are limited. Please check back for exact details, but the walk will begin at 10.30 on Sunday morning 5th May.

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Mary Bevan and OMM friends
May
5
2:30 PM14:30

Mary Bevan and OMM friends

Vaughan Williams - “Along the Field” for soprano and violin
Holst - Four Songs Op. 35 for soprano and violin
Schubert - “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen”, D965 for soprano, clarinet and piano
Arvo Pärt - “My Heart's in the Highlands” for soprano and organ
Vaughan Williams - Three Vocalises for soprano and clarinet

Mary Bevan - soprano
Jack Liebeck - violin
Paul Dean - clarinet
Daniel Grimwood - piano/organ

A festival of song, in which star soprano Mary Bevan joins Jack, Paul and Daniel in a variety of combinations. Although Vaughan Williams is not noted for his songs, he wrote some wonderful ones, as in this cycle to words by A.E. Housman. Vaughan Williams introduced Holst to folk songs; the Op. 35 set continue with the soprano/violin combination in a setting of medieval religious works. Schubert, surely the greatest composer of songs of all time, is represented by the famous “Shepherd on the rock”. Pärt’s song is the inspiration for Kaupo Kikkas’ exhibition. We end with more superb Vaughan Williams, three songs without words composed in the last year of his life.

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Learning to live with our defects - Prof. Robin Grimes.  Imperial College, London
May
5
5:30 PM17:30

Learning to live with our defects - Prof. Robin Grimes. Imperial College, London

Crystals are like people, it is their defects that make them interesting.  On occasion a Materials Scientist might be tempted to replace interesting with frustrating!  Nevertheless, without their defects most engineering materials would be useless.  Defects facilitate common properties such as ductility in metals or remarkable properties such as zero resistance in superconductors.  Yet our image of a solid at the atomic level is one of perfectly aligned rows of atoms.  In only a few cases is this view accurate.  Most real materials are full of defects: missing atoms, displaced atoms or even extra atoms arranged in long rows called dislocations.  It is the objective of the Materials Scientist to control the spatial distribution of defects, that is, to perform atomic scale engineering.

During the lecture we shall use demonstrations to help us explore the world of crystal imperfections.  Some defects will actually be visible.  Others will be understood in terms of analogies.  Historically, such demonstrations have played an important role in advancing our understanding of defect motion and stability.  More recently the key has been to combine atomic scale computer simulation with experimental data.  But the aim remains the same: to develop new material with enhanced or new properties.  This requires us to understanding the role of defects.

Robin Grimes’ Web Page

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"In Memoriam"
May
5
8:00 PM20:00

"In Memoriam"

Mozart - Violin Sonata E minor, K304
Smetana - Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15

Interval  
Arvo Pärt - “Da Pacem Domine”
Paul Dean - “Blue Ginger” for piano quartet
Brahms - Trio for horn, violin and piano in E flat major, Op. 40


Jack Liebeck - violin
Alexandra Raikhlina - violin
Mathieu Herzog - viola
Trish O’Brien - cello
Thomas Carroll - cello
Paul Dean - clarinet
Richard Watkins - horn
Amandine Savary - piano
Daniel Grimwood - piano

The theme for tonight’s concert is grief and the consolations that music provides to assuage it. Mozart’s only violin sonata in a minor key was written during his stay in Paris, where his mother, who had accompanied him, died. Smetana composed his piano trio in response to the death from scarlet fever of his eldest daughter at the age of four. “Da pacem, Domine”, “Give peace, oh Lord”, was Pärt’s response to the Madrid train bombings of 2004. “Blue ginger” was written last year in memory of Paul Dean’s father. Brahms was deeply moved by the death of his mother in 1865. The Horn Trio, as most likely his great German Requiem, was a response to that loss.

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Kaupo Kikkas - "Ansel" - illustrated talk with the photographer
May
6
2:00 PM14:00

Kaupo Kikkas - "Ansel" - illustrated talk with the photographer

Photographer and festival returnee Kaupo Kikkas gives an introduction into his inspiration behind his featured exhibition in the festival.

Kaupo says, “‘Ansel’ is my journey of discovery of America's last wild landscape. It is dark and personal, inspired by the personality of the great master. ‘Ansel’ was a pulsing invitation which I could not ignore, my thoughts picking up where Adams left off.”

Kaupo Kikkas’ Web Page

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Thinking like a vegetable: How plants decide what to do - Prof Dame Ottoline Leyser, University of Cambridge
May
6
4:00 PM16:00

Thinking like a vegetable: How plants decide what to do - Prof Dame Ottoline Leyser, University of Cambridge

It’s easy to imagine that plants don’t do much because of our powerful prejudice that equates action with movement. But plants literally build themselves out of thin air and water, which is pretty extraordinary. They collect carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil, which requires large surface areas above and below ground, and this means that they can't move. Because they can’t move, they have to adapt to the environmental conditions around them, assessing light quality, nutrient availability, windiness etc and adjusting their growth and development accordingly. Also because the can’t move, they have to be able to deal with predation without running away, which means having no unique parts, and therefore no central information processing centre equivalent to an animal’s brain. Instead they have to use distributed decisions making processes. My research is about how plants make developmental decisions without the benefit of a brain.

Ottoline Leyser’s Web Page

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Festival Finale
May
6
6:00 PM18:00

Festival Finale

Wolf-Ferrari - Chamber Symphony in B flat major, Op. 8

Interval

Schubert - Octet in F major, D803

Jack Liebeck - violin
Alexandra Raikhlina - violin
Mathieu Herzog - viola
Trish O’Brien - cello
Thomas Carroll - cello
Tim Gibbs - double bass
Paul Dean - clarinet
Richard Watkins - horn
David Cuthbert - flute
Nicholas Daniel - oboe
Amy Harman - bassoon
Daniel Grimwood - piano

Ermano Wolf-Ferrari was an Italian composer mostly noted for his comic operas. This early work, overflowing with exuberance, is a wonderful companion in our Finale with an old friend. The Schubert Octet always begs to be programmed in the finale but it is necessary to show some restraint or it would turn up every year - but with such a great piece and wonderful combination of instruments, would that be such a bad thing?

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