Henlow composer’s concerto set for first performance in Hitchin

Hitchin Symphony Orchestra performing at St Mary's Church in Hitchin. Picture: Andrew Hyde

Hitchin Symphony Orchestra performing at St Mary's Church in Hitchin. Picture: Andrew Hyde - Credit: Archant

A concerto by a composer from Henlow is set to be performed for the first time in Hitchin this weekend.

Henlow composer Paul Ibbotson. Picture: Paul Ibbotson

Henlow composer Paul Ibbotson. Picture: Paul Ibbotson - Credit: Archant

Paul Ibbotson’s Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra will be performed by cellist Lydia Dobson and the Hitchin Symphony Orchestra on Saturday at St Mary’s Church.

This is the first big orchestral work by Paul, who is a lecturer in developmental psychology for the Open University – and wrote the concerto in early 2015.

He said: “A piece of work like this is a great opportunity to tell a long story.

“Everything about the music and the technicalities of writing it are, for me, at the service of telling this story.

“If I’ve done my job properly, the emotional content of the music should speak for itself.”

Paul describes himself as writing in the romantic classical traditions, and has also composed a musicial about Kim Jong-il’s North Korea called IL Behaviour.

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His work has received airplay on Classic FM in the Netherlands and Radio Classique in France.

Paul Adrian Rooke, the Hitchin Symphony Orchestra’s conductor, said the cello concerto had been well received by his musicians.

He said: “It is a very engaging piece and has gone down well with the orchestral players.

“The opening movement is dramatic, followed by a beautiful and tender, lyrical slow movement and a finale abounding in rhythmic excitement.”

Soloist Lydia Dobson is from Great Ashby in Stevenage and is in her final year at the Royal College of Music. Having so far achieved first-class grades, Lydia – previously a member of the National Youth Orchestra – is now a BBC Classical Introducing Artist and has appeared on the BBC Radio 3 In Tune programme.

Conductor Paul said: “We are privileged to be working with Paul and with Lydia on this concerto, and are proud to promote the work of these two fine local musicians.”

Also in the programme are Mozart’s Overture to Così fan tutte, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

The concert will start at 7.30pm this Saturday night. Tickets from Hitchin Initiative on 01462 458614 or from wegottickets.com – £14 for adults and £12 for concessions. Under-16s admitted free.

For more about Paul Ibbotson, see paulibbotson.wixsite.com/composer.