Avison Ensemble 'The Italian Connection' concerts, Bishop Auckland, St Andrews and Newcastle, September 2017
The principal members of the Avison Ensemble celebrated the legacy of Newcastle's 18th century composer Charles Avison and the Italian influence on music of the period through concerts in Bishop Auckland Town Hall (Wednesday 20th September), in St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews (Thursday 21st September) and in the Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle (Saturday 23rd September).

The concerts featured trio sonatas by the English composers Charles Avison, Henry Purcell, Matthew Locke and George Frederic Handel, all of whom were influenced to varying degrees by music from Italy. On the Italian side we performed trios sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli and Francesco Geminiani, as well as a toccata, ricercare and violin sonata by the lesser-known composers Pasquini, Gabrielli and Veracini.

The performers were Pavlo Beznosiuk and Caroline Balding (violins), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello) and Roger Hamilton (harpsichord).

The concerts in Bishop Auckland and Newcastle were part of our Avison Workbook Project. Thanks to funding awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund we were able to explore the heritage and legacy of Charles Avison’s music by displaying one of Avison's manuscript music Workbooks from the 1750s. Manuscript music by Avison was virtually unknown until we acquired and restored two of his Workbooks in 2002. Since then they’ve been on loan to Newcastle City Library, housed in the Charles Avison Building, but are rarely on public display. Thanks for the HLF not only were we able to make these very significant Workbooks available to view, we were also able during these concerts to play some of Avison’s music contained in the Workbooks.

We’re grateful to the Hays Travel Foundation for supporting our concert in Bishop Auckland and to the Lit and Phil for hosting our concert in Newcastle.

The Avison Ensemble is the outstanding period instrument orchestra based in Newcastle upon Tyne, which plays and popularises the music of Charles Avison (1709-1770) and other English classical composers of the Baroque period, such as Garth, Arne and Herschel. The Ensemble also performs Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Geminiani, Pergolesi, Teleman, Rameau, Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.
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