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Interview with the Violinist Vlad Maistorovici
The 100th anniversary of the composer, pianist and conductor Benjamin Britten is celebrated today, 12th December, at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, as well. The Mercury Quartet, comprising young rising stars of the British music stage: the Romanian violinist Vlad Maistorovici, the British clarinettist Harry Cameron-Penny, the French cellist Corentin Chassard and the Swiss pianist Antoine Françoise, presents works inspired by Britten's compositions, in an original interpretation.
Mister Vlad Maistorovici, this evening you will be at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London once again, to present to the public a few extremely interesting pieces, together with the quartet you are coordinating. What is the project about?
It is a new collaboration between our ensemble, the Mercury Quartet, and the EUNIC network, that is the European Union National Institutes for Culture. The project is being coordinated by the Cultural Institute in London and it represents a continuation of our last year's collaboration, a concert at Kings Place, inspired by and in the memory of Debussy, during which, besides Debussy's music, we played works especially commissioned to commemorate the great composer. This year we were invited again and the composer who received the commission was in fact me, so it is a double challenge, because we will be playing works from the English repertoire, along the lines of Benjamin Britten's legacy, and the new piece that I have written for this concert, Mutations for Quartet.
So which are the works included in the programme?
We will perform two pieces by Thomas Ades, Catch and Courts Studies, with themes from Shakespeare's The Tempest, a series of miniatures by Britten for each of our ensemble's instruments (clarinet, violin, cello and piano), two works inspired by a theme belonging to Henry Purcell, Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews from the cycle Purcell Garland and then a miniature by Frank Bridge, who was Benjamin Britten's mentor, so it is a programme that has to do with Britten's predecessors and successors and with what he meant for the English and the European repertoire.
Alongside works by Thomas Ades, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten, Colin Matthews and Oliver Knussen, there is also your piece, Mutations. Share with us a few thoughts on it.
It is a piece for the whole quartet, for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and it explores the idea of mutations in genetics, so the substance transforms itself very slowly and never comes back to the same shape. It is somehow an indirect homage to Benjamin Britten; there is no direct connection, but his language is probably to be found in my structure as a composer.
Thank you very much and good luck! We will not come to a close before you tell us if you have other projects with the Mercury Quartet.
Of course, I do. There are a lot of projects in store for next year. We are also trying to plan a comeback to Romania, if not in the summer, then in the autumn, and we hope to see the Romanian audience again soon.
Translated by Ana Cristina Dumitrache and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest