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Mark Bebbington


19 Nov 2011
John Ireland
Pianoforte Concerto

The critical plaudits that have greeted Mark Bebbington’s performances and recordings have singled him out as a British pianist of the rarest refinement and maturity. Increasingly recognised as a champion of British music, Mark has recorded extensively for SOMM “New Horizons” label to unanimous critical acclaim. His most recent CDs – four British Piano Concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a première recording of Arnold Bax’s Piano Concertino, coupled with John Ireland’s Piano Concerto and Legend – were released in 2010 and have met with rapturous acclaim. In addition to concerto recordings for SOMM label, Mark continues his John Ireland and Frank Bridge solo piano series. Five consecutive discs have each earned him 5***** in BBC Music Magazine and International Piano summed up his achievement in August 2010: “Bebbington’s revivals of British piano music are second to none; he could well be dubbed the concert pianists’ Richard Hickox. Bebbington has almost single-handedly demonstrated that 20th-century British piano scores have an exciting role to play in the concert hall and recording studio.” All these CDs are initial releases in an ongoing series recorded at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, where Mark has the distinction of becoming the first solo artist to record. Over recent seasons Mark has toured extensively throughout Central and Northern Europe (both as recitalist and as concerto soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras), as well as the Far East and North Africa. Within the UK, he has appeared with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, London Mozart Players and the Orchestra of the Swan, at all the major London concert halls and at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. He has featured both as concerto soloist and recitalist on BBC Television and Radio and also on major European Television and Radio networks. Mark studied at the Royal College of Music where he was a recipient of numerous international awards and prizes, including a Leverhulme Scholarship, a Winston Churchill Fellowship, the Chappell Silver Medal and the Ivan Sutton Recording Prize – the latter awarded to the one outstanding graduate of the combined London Music Colleges. He later studied in Italy with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini. Mark’s programming demonstrates a commitment to the music of our time and he regularly includes contemporary composers as diverse as Takemitsu, Julian Anderson, John McCabe, Francis Pott, David Matthews and Elliot Carter in his recital series. No less a passionate advocate of the Viennese classics, Mark is also establishing a reputation as a refined and elegant exponent of French music and over recent years he has given critically acclaimed South Bank and Paris recitals with special emphasis on French nineteenth- and twentieth-century pianistic traditions. His French debut in the capital’s Musée des Invalides Grands Interprétes, Premières Armes Series, was described by Aldo Ciccolini as “one of the most brilliant debuts I have witnessed in the capital”. His Erik Satie concert, featuring the UK première of Sports et Divertissements in its original version for narrator and piano, toured festivals in this country before playing sold-out performances at le chat blanc cabaret club in Montmartre. Projects for 2010/11 include continuing releases for the SOMM label of twentieth-century British piano music, a critically acclaimed disc of Mozart Piano Concertos K413, 414, 415 with the Orchestra of the Swan and David Curtis, appearances in major concert series and festivals both in the UK and throughout Europe (including a debut at the Husum “Piano Rarities” Festival in Germany and the Grand Theatre – Opera National de Bordeaux as part of the Bordeaux International Festival), concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins and London recitals at St John’s Smith Square and the Wigmore Hall. (November 2011)

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