Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
12:21 PM 11th September 2019

Two Guest Debuts Make A Royal Opening For New Kirklees Concert Season

Marc-Andre Hamelin. Photo by Sim Cannety-Clark
Marc-Andre Hamelin. Photo by Sim Cannety-Clark
The brilliant Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin makes his debut with the Orchestra of Opera North to open the Kirklees Concert Season at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 19 September. Following his Prom at the end of last month, we caught up with him to find out more about his approach to performance, and for some insights into the famously demanding work he’ll be playing, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5, known as the “Emperor”.

Ruth Reinhardt. Photo by Harrison Linsey
Ruth Reinhardt. Photo by Harrison Linsey
Renowned as a champion of lesser-known works and composers, as well as a virtuoso performer of works like the “Emperor”, Hamelin says, “I've always believed that anything can feed off anything; so not only will playing obscure works will influence my performances of the 'Emperor'; it can also work the other way”.

Asked if he has a favourite passage in the piece, he enthuses, “the slow movement is a pretty wonderful little thing. Seriously, I do feel it's a highlight of the work, and its only fault is that it's too short!”

With a discography totalling over a hundred releases, Hamelin is as prolific a recording artist as he is a live performer. But which situation does he like best? “I love both”, he says, “and my musical commitment is identical in both cases, but the presence of an audience will always be an additional stimulant.

“Any work played at any time in different concert halls is bound to surprise you. The differences in conditions from one hall to another, and from one piano to another will inevitably give rise to new possibilities and spontaneous variations.”

Acclaimed young conductor Ruth Reinhardt will take the podium at the concert, which marks her UK debut. Following a precocious childhood in Saarbrücken, Germany – by 17 she had already composed and conducted her first opera – Ruth Reinhardt received her master’s degree in conducting from The Juilliard School. She went on to a Dudamel Fellowship with the LA Philharmonic, and tenures at the Seattle, Boston and Dallas Symphony Orchestras.

Opening the evening, Webern’s Passacaglia, his brief but brilliant first published work, proceeds from sparsely beautiful passages that look forward to his later style, to luscious, full-blown late-Romantic orchestration that echoes Brahms, and Webern’s mentor, Mahler.

Another early work, written when its composer was just 19, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 sparkles with the joyful influence of what he called “the magic notes of Mozart’s music” that “show us in the darkness of this life a bright, clear, lovely distance”.

Joined by soloist Marc-André Hamelin under conductor Ruth Reinhardt, the Orchestra of Opera North opens the new Kirklees Concert Season at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 19 September.

For more information and to book tickets, contact Box Office on 0113 2233600 or visit