Under the Skin of Elgar
Elgar Symphony No1
Who was Edward Elgar? An Edwardian with a walrus moustache – or an artist with an all-embracing vision, and secrets too deep for words? Ahead of our performance of Elgar’s First Symphony, Karl-Heinz Steffens, presenter John Whitener and the full RSNO dive deep beneath the notes, talking, playing and using live musical examples to unpick the layers and legends that make this symphony so much more than just a very British masterpiece.
Under 16s free, Under 26s and Mature Students £6 in advance / £8 on the day, Unemployed £6, Disabled patrons and their carers 50% off
The German conductor Karl-Heinz Steffens has rapidly distinguished himself as a conductor of magnificent quality since devoting himself full-time to his craft in 2007. At the start of the 2009/10 season he took up his appointment as Music Director of the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz in Ludwigshafen, which has been an appointment of unqualified success and was most recently honoured with an ECHO award for “Best Orchestra” in 2015 in response to their recording of Zimmerman in the modern music festival of Steffens’ conception “Modern Times”. Undertaking huge surveys of repertoire with his orchestra,, he is currently engaged in a Bruckner cycle that takes him through the coming season. Additionally, Steffens is in huge demand as a guest conductor. The past two seasons have seen his debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic (Beethoven, Schubert and Zimmerman), Munich Philharmonic (Elgar), Vienna Symphony (Beethoven and Cesar Franck), Philharmonia (Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Mahler), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Danish Radio, Helsinki Philharmonia, and Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. He has additionally visited the City of Birmingham Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, and Halle orchestras in the UK, the Bamberg Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, and the Radio Symphony orchestras of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig and Stuttgart. 15/16 will see debuts in Torino and Lisbon, with the orchestra of Maggio Musicale in Florence, and returns to the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Monte Carlo. His debut with the Philharmonia orchestra in two sensational late-hour substitutions has resulted in a deep connection that will see him conduct the orchestra regularly both in their London season and on tour abroad.
John Whitener, Principal Tuba of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, took up his position with the orchestra in 2009. Since joining the RSNO, John has recorded with them extensively and toured throughout Europe and China. John has also performed with many of the great orchestras around Europe and the globe including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Frankfurt Opera, the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, the Brussels Philharmonic, and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst others. During his career John has played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues including the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall in New York, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. John has also had the pleasure of working under conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, and James Levine. John took up the tuba at the age of 10 beginning his studies with his father, William Whitener, a successful trumpet player in New England. After graduating from high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy where he studied with Tom Riccobono, John received his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Paul Krzywicki (formerly of the Philadelphia Orchestra). After one year of study at the Yale School of Music with Toby Hanks, John then went on to earn his Graduate Diploma from the Juilliard School where he studied with David Fedderly of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2007 John moved to the Netherlands to study under Hendrik-Jan Renes of the Rotterdam Philharmonic at the Rotterdam Codarts Conservatory. In addition to performing, John also teaches, adjudicates, coaches, and delivers masterclasses regularly. John recently toured through several southern US states performing recitals and delivering masterclasses at universities. He is currently the Tuba and Euphonium Specialist at the prestigious private school “The High School of Glasgow”, and has also coached and given masterclasses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Additionally, John has coached for the Faroese National Brass Band Festival, the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, the East Dumbartonshire Wind Band, the Dundee Symphony Orchestra, and adjudicated for the Scottish Concert Band Festival.