It has become October’s Hot Ticket in London: the Parsons-Poole Legacy Concert. Created by alumnae to honour Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole, two of the Faculty’s early piano teachers and international performance artists, the Friday concert and Saturday masterclass brings world-class musicians to Western’s campus.
This year, Angela Hewitt is the guest artist. For anyone who loves classical piano music, this is the best opportunity to hear one of the world’s leading pianists in an intimate theatre setting.
Date: Friday, October 3, 2014
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College
Tickets: $25/$15 through the Grand Theatre at 519-672-8800 or tickets.grandtheatre.com
Date: Saturday, October 4, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College
“It was a positive sensation. The Canadian pianist is one of the reliably mesmerising musicians of the day. You sit entranced….it would have been more accurate to say I was floating just below the ceiling. She seems to me the complete performer, gifted not only with fingers that imprint each note with a svelte newness and a mind that is not deflected by such precision work from calmly surmising the larger structure, but also with the ability to convey a spiritual seriousness that nonetheless does not exclude an utter charm.” Paul Driver writing of her Wigmore Hall recital in September 2003 in The Sunday Times.
One of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt regularly appears in recital and with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. Her performances and recordings of Bach have drawn particular praise, marking her out as one of the composer's foremost interpreters of our time.
Angela Hewitt has recently performed with orchestras including the Cleveland, Toronto Symphony, Philharmonia, and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She has also appeared with kammerorchesterbasel, Camerata Salzburg, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras, as well as the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. Recent and future highlights include concerts with the Finnish Radio Symphony and London Philharmonic orchestras, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Brussels Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, RAI Torino, Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms and a return to Verbier Festival.
In 2012/13, Angela Hewitt began a major project to perform Bach’s The Art of Fugue in two programs in major halls worldwide, based around concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the International Piano Series. This follows on from the celebrated project 'Angela Hewitt's Bach Book' in 2010, where Ms Hewitt gave world premieres of six newly commissioned works by leading composers at Wigmore Hall.
Angela Hewitt's award-winning recordings for Hyperion have garnered praise from around the world. Her 10-year project to record all the major keyboard works of Bach has been described as “one of the record glories of our age” (The Sunday Times) and has won her a huge following. She has been hailed as “the pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time” (The Guardian) and “the pianist who will define Bach performance on the piano for years to come” (Stereophile). Her discography also includes CDs of Beethoven, Schumann, Messiaen, Ravel, Chopin, Couperin, Rameau and Chabrier.
Born into a musical family, Angela Hewitt began her piano studies aged three, performing in public at four and a year later winning her first scholarship. She then went on to learn with French pianist, Jean-Paul Sévilla. In 1985 she won the Toronto International Bach Piano Competition.
In July 2005, Angela Hewitt launched her own Trasimeno Music Festival in the heart of Umbria near Perugia. An annual event, it draws an international audience to the Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione, on the shores of Lake Trasimeno. Seven concerts in seven days feature Hewitt as a recitalist, chamber musician, song accompanist, and conductor, working with both established and young artists of her choosing.
Angela Hewitt was named ‘Artist of the Year’ at the 2006 Gramophone Awards. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006. She lives in London but also has homes in Ottawa and in Italy.
Glamorous, talented and world-famous, the husband and wife pianists were not typical professors at Western in the 1950s. Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole balanced performance tours as a piano duo with teaching and inspiring young musicians. They also recorded their work, created educational materials and started the Gilbert & Sullivan productions still going strong in London today.
They came to London in 1948 to teach at the Western Ontario Music Conservatory, Music Teachers’ College and Department of Music at Western. Already well known, the pair joined the staff two years after Alfred Rose, Gustav Mahler’s nephew. Over the next few years, the three organizations evolved, each focusing on a different level of music education. As J.R.W. Gwynne-Timothy wrote in his Western’s First Century: “The concerts of the well-known piano duo, Clifford Poole and his wife Margaret Parsons, carried far and wide the name of music at Western as public relations emissaries for the college.”
A group of alumnae who studied with Parsons and Poole created an artist-in-residence program, called the Parsons-Poole Legacy Project to carry their names into the future. The project gives students an opportunity to study with musicians who bring the same level of acclaim and expertise as Parsons and Poole.
The benefits of the Parsons-Poole Legacy Project will go beyond the music faculty, providing opportunities for inter-disciplinary scholarship and cultural enrichment for the community. This is a fitting continuation of the kind of projects the duo undertook while in London. They composed and arranged piano music for young players, and their Parsons-Poole Festival Piano Series and Poole’s many pedagogical piano pieces remain favourites. The pair also established a community concert series and toured to many Ontario towns and cities, often with students to showcase their talents and gain experience in performing.
The first Parsons-Poole Legacy Concert featured Andre LaPlante, October 2012, and Menahem Pressler was the second guest in October 2013.