Steinway Piano in Levinsky Hall, Roland Levinsky Building

Musica Viva: Open Rehearsal

Thursday 11 May 2023 | Levinsky Hall
Beethoven Sonata in A major Op 69 for cello and piano 
Open rehearsal and performance – Eliza Millett, cellist, and Robert Taub, pianist
This special musical event was a unique opportunity to hear the gifted cellist Eliza Millett in an open rehearsal collaborating with pianist Robert Taub, working up to a performance of the work. 
Eliza and Robert's focus was on the first movement of one of the most iconic mainstays of the cello and piano literature, Beethoven Sonata in A major, Op.69. They discussed issues of interpretation stemming from research into the autograph score. How does this musical idea work? How is it meant here? Beethoven changed his mind quite a bit! 
Director of Music for The Arts Institute, Dr Robert Taub, said: 
"An open rehearsal is a high-wire act. This is like an open jam session; you never know what might happen next! Some of what we’ll rehearse is Beethoven like you’ve never heard him before. We’ll be trying out some previously unperformed music that he wrote into his notes for this piece. We plan to try new musical ideas and ways of collaborating, and then run through a performance at the end. And we plan to leave time for Q&A from the audience."
Eliza Millett, image courtesy of Olivia Da Costa

Eliza Millett, image courtesy of Olivia Da Costa

New Music at Levinsky Hall

Saturday 11 March 2023 | Levinsky Hall
An exciting evening of works of our time - string trios of the 20th and 21st centuries - performed by the translucent London-based Trio Kurtag, and the premiere of a new composition commissioned by Musica Viva from David Bessell. 
David specialises in electronic music, and Trio Kurtag performs a wide range of repertoire of the present day. 
This was a unique concert, a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in music that was literally being heard for the first time, along with music that was recently composed. 
David Bessell photo: Neil FellowesTrio Kurtag photo: Olivia da Costa


Henry Purcell
Fantasia No.1
Z. 732 (1680)
Fantasia No.3 Z. 734 (1680)
Trio Kurtag
Gideon Klein
String Trio (1944)
      Lento – theme and variations
Trio Kurtag
David Bessell
Micro Variations on an Emerging Theme (2023)
Electronic realisation for physical modelled instruments
Commissioned by Music Viva, The Arts Institute
Performed by the composer
Jean Françaix
String Trio (1933)
      Allegretto vivo
      Rondo. Vivo
Trio Kurtag
George Enescu
Aubade for String Trio (1899)
Trio Kurtag

Musica Viva presents Southbank Sinfonia

4 February 2023 | Levinsky Hall
Southbank Sinfonia
Mark Forkgen, conductor
Dr Robert Taub, pianist
Southbank Sinfonia – an orchestra like no other.
Each year, Southbank Sinfonia welcomes thirty-three of the world’s most promising graduate musicians to come together to create a unique orchestra. These wonderful musicians who complete the Southbank Sinfonia fellowship often go on to occupy prominent seats in leading orchestras worldwide, from the Philharmonia to the Hong Kong Philharmonic. This concert was a thrilling opportunity to hear some of the most loved Beethoven masterpieces performed by some of the best young musicians in the UK, at the start of very promising careers.
Southbank Sinfonia came to us from London, where they have developed a renowned series of concerts at their artistic home, St John’s Smith Square. The concert here featured two deeply expressive and uplifting works of Beethoven: Symphony no.7 and Piano Concerto no.4, as well as the premiere of a new Plymouth-centric overture ‘Breakwater’ by the highly imaginative young composer Christopher Churcher, winner of our recent Composition Competition.
Musica Viva – Southbank Sinfonia

Virtuoso Violin

12 November 2022 | Levinsky Hall
The violin – carefully and artistically sculpted from thin wood and with only four slender strings, held aloft and gleaming in the spotlights – is a modest, unassuming instrument. But then the brilliant young London-born violinist Mathilde Milwidsky draws her bow across the strings and brings them to life, creating dynamic, vibrant waves of sound. Hear the magic!
Fresh from a summer of concert performances throughout the UK and abroad, Mathilde continued our inaugural Musica Viva season in Levinsky Hall with an imaginative programme of exciting violin works – both solo and collaborative.
Mathilde performed with pianist and composer Huw Watkins in expressive, stirring and demanding works of Ravel, Bartok, Walton, and Watkins himself. And ever an adventurous virtuoso, she is also played two solo violin works: Paganini’s 24th Caprice, a violin showstopper – so extraordinary was Paganini’s own playing that he was reputed to be in league with the Devil! – and Huw’s dramatic 2006 composition Partita for solo violin, commissioned by the BBC.
An unusual, exhilarating concert!
Illustration by Madison Wright, UoP Illustration student

Illustration by Madison Wright, UoP Illustration student


Romantic Piano

15 October 2022 | Levinsky Hall
The grand piano stands alone – lid open, the keyboard a gleaming row of sharks’ teeth. Slowly, deliberately, the pianist approaches, sits down and focuses concentration. Then with fingers flying, sonorous strings are brought to life, sounds swirling through the air… we enter the vivid, imaginative, even visionary, sometimes haunted realm of passionate piano music.
Romantic Piano brought together expressive, intimate, passionate and exciting music. In this special programme of works by three composer/pianists, Dr Robert Taub started with the stormy Pathétique Sonata of Beethoven, a proto-Romantic work that was an immediate hit: it sold out of its first printing almost immediately. Next was a set of highly personalised musical characterisations of an imaginary society by Schumann, his Davidsbündlertänze, with vivid musical symbolism of his yearning for his beloved Clara. The concert concluded with the thundering sonorities of Chopin’s mighty Sonata in B minor, the final of his three sonatas, composed five years before he died at age 39. Each work on this programme was deeply involving and expressive; the programme as a whole was a journey into the gripping soul of Romanticism. 
This inaugural Musica Viva concert in Levinsky Hall promised an uplifting evening for all!
Illustration by Madison Wright, UoP Illustration Student

Illustration by Madison Wright, UoP Illustration Student