The wonderful charitable group known as the Julian Bream Trust is dedicated to providing financial assistance to promising young guitarists, as well as commissioning new works for the classical guitar—something Julian Bream himself was passionate about during his own performing and recording career. Occasionally, too, the Julian Bream Trust stages concerts at London’s historic Wigmore Hall to showcase those guitarists and to premiere new works. In 2014, Andrey Lebedev used a Julian Bream Trust concert to introduce new pieces by Leo Brouwer and Harrison Birtwistle. In 2015, it was Laura Snowden premiering a work by Julian Anderson. She returned in 2017 to introduce a new sonata by Finnish composer Olli Mustonen.
This coming November 21—two years to the day of that second Snowden concert—Wigmore will be hosting another Julian Bream Trust recital, this time featuring Japanese guitarist Saki Kato, and featuring the world premiere of a piece by noted British composer Edward Cowie called Streams and Variations. Also on Kato’s program that night will be Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6, BWV 1012, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonata ‘Omaggio a Boccherini,’ Op. 77, and Antonio José’s Guitar Sonata.
Saki Kato is currently a student at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Michael Lewin, and an active player in at least two chamber duos: the Sakura Duo with flautist Jennifer Stinton, and the Miyabi Duo with guitarist Hugh Millington. It was just in March of 2019 that the Miyabi Duo premiered another piece by Cowie called Bashō Meditations (based on eight haiku by the 17th century Japanese poet). Below, watch the Miyabu Duo play the ‘Pure Peace Music’ from Geoffrey Poole’s 1984 Wild Goose (for two guitars), in which each movement is based on a different Chinese poem.
The prolific Edward Cowie (b. 1943) is a fascinating figure in the contemporary British classical music scene—besides have written dozens of pieces for all sorts of different combinations of instruments, he is also a visual artist of considerable renown, as well as a writer and naturalist. A number of his pieces have been inspired by nature; Streams and Variations will be the latest. Among his works including guitar are Kandinsky (for guitar quartet), Spellchecks (duos for different flutes and guitar), Spinning (for harp and guitar), Mount Keira Duets (for flute and guitar, Commedia Lazzi (solo guitar), Don Quixote (solo guitar), and California Suite (for guitar and string quartet). Music for all of these pieces (and many more) are available from United Music Publishing.
For more info on the concert, ticket availability, and such, click here.—Blair Jackson