Julian Bliss joins the Carducci String Quartet in performances of two seminal works – Weber’s Clarinet Quintet in B flat Major, Op. 34 and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K.581.
Both Mozart and Weber were inspired by the artisty of performers of their day (Anton Stadler in Mozart’s case, and Heinrich Baermann in Weber’s). Their technical prowess, tonal quality and imaginative range allowed each composer to expand the clarinet repertoire with these works, which remain pre-eminent in the genre.
Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinettists excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer. He has inspired a generation of young players as guest lecturer and creator of his Conn-Selmer range of affordable clarinets, and introduced a substantial new audience to his instrument. Born in the UK, Julian started playing the clarinet age 4, going on to study in the USA at the University of Indiana and in Germany under Sabine Meyer. The breadth and depth of his artistry are reflected in the diversity and distinction of his work. © Ben Wright 03354 JC 16pp Carducci String Quartet & Julian Bliss – Mozart & Weber.indd 10 02/07/2018 12:51 10 11 In recital and chamber music he has played at most of the world’s leading festivals and venues including Gstaad, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Verbier, Wigmore Hall (London) and Lincoln Center (New York). As soloist, he has appeared with a wide range of international orchestras, from the São Paulo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Paris, and Auckland Philharmonia, to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012 he established the Julian Bliss Septet, creating programmes inspired by King of Swing, Benny Goodman, and Latin music from Brazil and Cuba that have gone on to be performed to packed houses in festivals, Ronnie Scott’s (London), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and across the U.S. Album releases receiving rave reviews from critics, album of the week spots and media attention, include his recording of Mozart and Nielsen’s Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Recent chamber discs include a new piece for clarinet & string quartet by David Bruce – Gumboots – inspired by the gumboot dancing of miners in South Africa and a recital album of Russian and French composers with American pianist, Bradley Moore. Recent highlights include an exciting new concerto by Wayne Shorter, with the Argovia Philharmonic, an extensive USA tour with his septet, and chamber concerts with the Carducci Quartet.
Described by The Strad as presenting “a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose, in which severity could melt seamlessly into charm, and drama into geniality”, the award winning Carducci Quartet is internationally acclaimed as one of the most accomplished and versatile ensembles of today. Not only mastering the core repertoire, the quartet is presenting each season a selection of new works and diversifying further with programmes of film music, pop and rock. Founded in 1997 by Matthew Denton (violin), Michelle Fleming (violin), Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola), and Emma Denton (cello), the ensemble has won numerous international competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and First Prize at Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition. In 2016, they took home a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for their project, Shostakovich15, an immense cycle of Shostakovich’s Quartets performed across the UK, North and South America with a marathon one day cycle hosted by Shakespeare’s Globe, London. The project was accompanied by a recording of the 4th, 8th, and 11th Quartets: their 03354 JC 16pp Carducci String Quartet & Julian Bliss – Mozart & Weber.indd 13 02/07/2018 12:51 14 15 second disc for Signum Classics, and was recognised by BBC Music Magazine as “a fine achievement, boasting excellent ensemble, musical insight and sensitive attention to detail”. The Carducci Quartet has appeared at prestigious venues across the globe including the Wigmore Hall, London; National Concert Hall, Dublin; Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen; The Frick Collection and Carnegie Hall, New York, Library of Congress and John F. Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., St Lawrence Center for the Arts, Toronto, and Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Festival residencies include Cheltenham, Ryedale, Lichfield, Presteigne, Kilkenny and West Cork. 2018 saw the quartet perform complete cycles of the Bartok Quartets at Kings Place in London, Gloucestershire and Oxford. They tour to Canada, Italy, France, Spain and Germany and return to the studio to record a second Shostakovich disc. Recent collaborations include projects with pianists Denis Kozhukhin and Martin Roscoe, guitarist Craig Ogden, oboist Nicholas Daniel, clarinettists Julian Bliss and Emma Johnson, cellists Benedict Kloeckner and Guy Johnston and acclaimed folk-rock icon Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Highly celebrated for their interpretation of contemporary repertoire, the Carducci Quartet has curated many diverse projects and is regularly invited to perform new works. Recent and upcoming premieres include works by Simon Rowland-Jones, Gavin Higgins, Kemal Yusuf and Kate Whitley. In 2015 they curated projects around Philip Glass and Steve Reich, as 03354 JC 16pp Carducci String Quartet & Julian Bliss – Mozart & Weber.indd 14 02/07/2018 12:51 14 15 part of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award winning Minimalism Unwrapped at Kings Place in London, their recording of the Philip Glass Quartets, for Naxos, has reached over 6 million plays on Spotify. More recently they released an acclaimed recording of David Bruce’s clarinet quintet Gumboots with Julian Bliss, for Signum Classics. Education work is an important element of the Carducci Quartet’s work, earning them a place on the Royal Philharmonic Society Award shortlist for their family concert ‘Getting the Quartet Bug!’. The Carducci Music Trust was set up to support their work in schools and with young musicians. They also perform a number of school concerts each year supported by the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust.