Our next full Orchestral concert.



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Saturday 25 November 2017 at 7.30 p.m.

Sidmouth Parish Church.

Special Concert supported by

the Joanna Leach Foundation.


Isca Ensemble with Roger Hendy (MD)


Emmanuel Bach - violin 



Brahms : Academic Festival Overture

Brahms : Symphony No. 4


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Emmanuel Bach in a recent performance of Brahms' Violin Concerto with Maxim Vengerov.


Emmanuel Bach.


Emmanuel Bach is a classical violinist, based in London. He graduated with double First-Class Honours in Music from Magdalen College, Oxford. He is grateful for generous support from the English-Speaking Union and Countess of Munster Musical Trust.  Alongside UK concerts, Emmanuel has performed in France, Italy, Germany and South Africa. Early concerto performances included those by Brahms, Britten, Mendelssohn and Paganini No.1.  In 2011, Emmanuel was invited to play Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, with the Pretoria University Orchestra and conductor Eric Rycroft. He returned in 2013 to play Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole. Both performances earned him nominations for the ‘Best Upcoming Artist’ award at the Karoo National Arts Festival.


Emmanuel is a very dedicated chamber musician, and has been coached by members of the Wihan, Elias, Skampa and Allegri Quartets. From 2013–15, he held a Leverhulme Fellowship in chamber music at Pro Corda, coaching young chamber musicians. Emmanuel is also an active recitalist, and recently gave the UK premiere of Lennox Berkeley’s Sonata No. 1 for the Berkeley Society.


Emmanuel is grateful for various awards, including Music and Academic Scholarships at Magdalen College, a Joan Conway bursary, and support from the Charles Dale Memorial Fund, Peter Bond Prize and H R Taylor Trust. He was a winner of the Una Clark Competition and Newbury Young Musician Competition. He currently holds an Edison Research Fellowship at the British Library. Emmanuel has received masterclasses from various musicians, including Hugh Maguire, Maxim Vengerov, Shlomo Mintz, Peter Schuhmayer and Peter Herresthal. In 2016, Emmanuel recorded a CD for Willowhayne Records.


Emmanuel is gaining recognition as a soloist and chamber musician, performing at venues including the Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the Fields, St James’s, Piccadilly and the V&A Museum. He was a prizewinner at the 2017 Royal Overseas League String Competition, and the Mirecourt International Violin Competition 2016.  Most recently, he played in a live-streamed masterclass conducted by Maxim Vengerov, on the Brahms Violin Concerto. He has performed in the UK and abroad, in recitals and concertos by Brahms, Bruch, Lalo, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, among others. Notable performances include playing as a co-soloist with Anne-Sophie Mutter in Bach’s Double Concerto, and giving the UK premiere of Lennox Berkeley’s Sonata No. 1.


He was a Fellow on the Norfolk Festival 2016 (USA) working with the Artis, Brentano and Emerson String Quartets. From 2013-15, he held a Leverhulme Fellowship at the Pro Corda Chamber Music Academy, coaching young musicians. He has benefitted from masterclasses with musicians including Miriam Fried, Dong-Suk Kang, Shlomo Mintz, Maxim Vengerov, Peter Herresthal and Hugh Maguire. Previously, Emmanuel studied with Natasha Boyarsky, reading Music at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is currently undertaking an Artist Diploma at the Royal College of Music, with Radu Blidar, supported by the HR Taylor Trust and the RCM. He is grateful for generous support from the English-Speaking Union and Countess of Munster Musical Trust.


Extract from Emmanuel's latest CD with Jenny Stern (piano)


Sibelius Violin Concerto.


Sibelius’ busy schedule and heavy drinking necessitated an escape from the pressures of Helsinki in 1903. He had vowed to cope with his alcohol issues “with all [his] strength” but was not having much success. A little distance from the capital and its social climate was needed and, though it took a year to complete, his new home in the village of Järvenpää provided some genuine, though ultimately insufficient, solace.


Coincident with the gradual departure from Helsinki was the creation of the Violin Concerto. As a composer, Sibelius was not cut from the showy sort of cloth that produced the virtuoso concerti of his day. His was a more solemn disposition, so solemn that one wonders why he agreed to take on such a project. It would seem, at least in part, that an avid admirer talked him into it. Willy Burmeister was a leading violin soloist of the day and was greatly impressed with Sibelius. He eventually helped convince the composer to craft a concerto for him. As a violinist himself, Sibelius must have liked the idea. He was a fine player but had been a late starter and probably didn’t need any help imagining the virtuoso performance career that might have been. Sibelius wrote the concerto during 1903 and settled on a premiere date for Burmeister in March of the following year. Unfortunately, circumstances pressed the composer towards an earlier date. These “circumstances” were almost certainly related to money woes. In any case, the change did work in Burmeister’s calendar and Viktor Novacek played instead. By all accounts Novacek was not up to it and though Burmeister was willing to forgive the initial insult, he did not get to premiere the revised version either. A pity, as he correctly believed Sibelius’ Concerto to be on par with Tchaikovsky’s and deserved a more close association with it.  




Brahms' sense of history was well-informed, as he was the first great composer who was also a musicologist. His interests and knowledge not only embraced the folk music of his time but extended back through Palestrina to the dawn of our musical heritage in the 16th Century. The depth of Brahms' scholarship is evident throughout his career, and never more so than in his fourth and final symphony.