Listen and learn: Pelléas Ensemble

Pelléas EnsemblePelléas Ensemble

In the sixth of a series of articles, David Bird discusses the work of the Redbridge Music Society and introduces us to Pelléas Ensemble, a flute, viola and harp trio who will be performing in Wanstead this month.

This is the last event of Redbridge Music Society's current programme of recitals, the key aim of which this season has been to promote talented young musicians by bringing them to perform to the people of Redbridge under the society's 'Wigmore to Wanstead' programme of chamber concerts. This month, the award-winning Pelléas Ensemble will perform a diverse range of music, from Bach to Richard Rodney Bennett, at Wanstead Library's Churchill Room.

The Pelléas Ensemble – Luba Tunnicliffe (viola), Henry Roberts (flute) and Oliver Wass (harp) – has received much recognition and acclaim since it was formed at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011, whilst the players were still students. They were winners of the 2017 Elias Fawcett Award for Outstanding Chamber Ensemble at the Royal Overseas League Competition and in 2016 won both the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize in the St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Music Competition.

In November 2016, they made their debut at the Wigmore Hall, at which they were praised by Seen and Heard International for their "captivating vitality" and "effortlessness and delicacy." They have given numerous recitals at other London venues, including St John's Smith Square, and have also appeared live on BBC Radio 3's In Tune. The players take communication with their audiences very seriously and have established a reputation for performing their recitals from memory, which they believe creates an immediate and more intimate connection with their listeners. They aim to make every listener at their recitals feel that the flute, viola and harp are being played "just for them" and for nobody else.

The combination of flute, viola and harp is somewhat unusual and repertoire written specifically for such a combination is relatively rare. However, this provides the ensemble players with the opportunity to perform many arrangements of existing works in ways where they can explore different types of sound worlds and textures. The players are dedicated to performing new music; they have recently premiered new works and have also commissioned a number of pieces, some with a very strong jazz influence, which they hope will appeal to younger audiences. One recently commissioned work is by jazz bass player and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado, son of violinist Viktoria Mullova and the late Claudio Abbado.

The Pelléas Ensemble is rapidly becoming a much sought-after group and their recital will provide the perfect finish to our season.

Pelléas Ensemble will perform at Wanstead Library on 23 May from 8pm (tickets available on the door; visitors: £10; Redbridge Music Society members: £7). For more information, call 07511 888 520 or visit redbridgemusicsociety.org.uk


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