AUTUMN EVENTS

We are delighted to have dates in the diary for autumn concerts and events at two of our favourite venues and featuring some of our most popular artists.

COCKTAILS WITH VIVIEN

Our brand new show Cocktails With Vivien is a celebration in music and words of the life and career of one of the greatest actresses of stage and screen, starring Elena Lorenzi (vocals) and Stefano Marzanni (piano), with narration by Graham Roos and a post-concert Q&A with veteran actor Trader Faulkner.

3 November at Crazy Coqs Live at Zedel

“a moving, magical portrait of one of our greatest actresses”

audience feedback from debut show

CABARET BEYOND BORDERS

This sell-out show returns this autumn at the perfect venue!

International duo Elena Lorenzi (vocals) and Stefano Marzanni (piano) take us on a journey into the fascinating world of European Cabaret, from Parisian bistros and decadent 1930’s Berlin to the clubs of Vienna and Moscow.

In this atmospheric and evocative show, Elena and Stefano bring to life songs by Kurt Weill, Mischa Spoliansky and Alexander Vertinsky, and those made famous by Edith Piaf and Fréhel – songs of lyrical romance and love to dark, biting satire, politics and existentialist reflections on the meaning of life. Narrated by actress Susan Porrett.

“Those smokey, stylish Parisian jazz clubs and edgy pre-war Berlin cabarets…..truly come to life again in Classic Cabaret”

“atmospheric, stirring and deeply moving”

audience members at debut show

8 November at Crazy Coqs Live at Zedel


CLASSIC GERSHWIN & ANTHONY HEWITT at Riverhouse Barn

We return to Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre this autumn, a charming small venue close to the river at Walton-on-Thames, to present our “terrific” Classic Gershwin, with Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator).

Acclaimed concert pianist Anthony Hewitt will go a solo concert entitled Music of the Night, featuring music by Bartok, Schumann, Debussy and Chopin.


We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you to our concerts.

For full details of all our forthcoming events, please join our mailing list and/or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

An update on our forthcoming events

Due to the COVID19 crisis, we have postponed all forthcoming concerts until further notice. Please follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook or join our mailing list for updates.

Meanwhile, the music plays on and pianist Mei-Ting, who has delighted and enthralled us with his performances ranging from Bach to Art Tatum, has launched his COVID19 Beethoven Sonatas project on YouTube – do visit his YouTube channel to enjoy his performances.

We look forward to welcoming you to our concerts in the not too distant future. Events will resume when venues advise us it is safe to do so.

The 7 Start Arts team

COCKTAILS WITH VIVIEN

7 Star Arts’ newest show

A celebration of the life & career of Vivien Leigh in music & words

Wednesday 8 July at the OSO Arts Centre, Barnes

“a moving, magical portrait of one of our greatest actresses” (audience member at debut show)

Elena Lorenzi – vocals

Stefano Marzanni – piano

Graham Roos – narrator/writer

With special guest Trader Faulkner


Developed out of 7 Star Arts’ sell out production An Evening With Vivien Leigh, Cocktails With Vivien celebrates the life and career of stage and screen actress Vivien Leigh (Oscar-winning Gone With The Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire) in music and words.

With a narrative written and delivered by renowned playwright and performer Graham Roos, and music and songs performed by international cabaret duo Elena Lorenzi and Stefano Marzanni, this enchanting show, presented on the anniversary of her death on 8th July, is sure to delight fans of Vivien Leigh everywhere.

Plus free post-show discussion/Q&A (with projected images) with Vivien Leigh’s friend and fellow actor, Trader Faulkner.

Programme includes:I Know the Feeling (from Tovarich), Dance Little Lady (Noel Coward), Paper Moon (from A Streetcar Named Desire), Medley from Waterloo Bridge: Swan Lake theme, Auld Lang Syne, Farewell Waltz & I’ll Be Seeing You on Waterloo Bridge, Medley from film soundtracks, Someday I’ll Find You (from Private Lives, Noel Coward)

Join us for Cocktails With Vivien at 8pm on Wednesday 8 July at the OSO Arts Centre, Barnes

“I live for music” – interview with singer Elena Lorenzi

Singer Elena Lorenzi conceived and performs in 7 Star Arts’ new show Cabaret Beyond Borders at Live at Zedel at Crazy Coqs Soho on Friday 31 January

Who or what inspired you to take up singing, and pursue a career in music?

It was life itself that showed me music as a path.

I’ve been singing since I was a child. I won my first competition at the age of three, but I started to approach and studying singing in a serious way after the death of my father, when I was 13 years old. After a few years of suffering, I began to study opera singing, and this was truly therapeutic for me. The use of the opera voice, with its power and the need for technique and control, gave me a way to process pain. Singing for me has always been a necessity, something very cathartic. Singing has always been a way to shape my energy, it has given meaning to my life. I love the fact that I am my instrument, my voice is my instrument.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

I am an eclectic singer who loves many different musical genres and as a result I have been influenced by many singers, musicians and composers.

When I started singing opera, I was actually a little girl in love with symphonic metal, in particular a Finnish band, “Nightwish” and their singer Tarja Turunen. I was fascinated by the use of the opera voice and orchestral parts in such a strong genre. Growing up and falling in love with Opera, especially the composers Wagner and Puccini, I loved the angel voice of Renata Tebaldi, but my favourite opera singer is the Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Obratzova. In jazz I am a fan of Ella Fitzgerald, and in the music of my country, Italy, I owe a lot to the singer Mina.

As for the vintage repertoire and cabaret, in which I have specialized in recent years, the whole world of French music is essential for me, from Lèo Ferrè to Dalida, Juliette Greco, Edith Piaf….the list could be endless. The interpreter who today most reflects the path I have undertaken is undoubtedly the German actress and singer Ute Lemper, but I also love the great performers of the past like Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra. Honestly, there are so many other musicians and performers who have given me such a lot.

In general I love the energy that a singer transmits, the depth of the interpretation and the truth of what is told through music.

Furthermore, art is a source of inspiration for me (I am a fan of painting), nature and people too. Life itself is a constant source of inspiration for me, for better or for worse. I try to capture every little thing or great teaching and to tell it through my voice in the songs I sing.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Surely the life of the musician is full of challenges? The musician’s unstable lifestyle forces you to continually find new ways. But for me my singer’s life is such a wonderful journey that I adore new challenges and getting out of my comfort zone, even if it’s not always easy. The only difficulty, when I started to study singing, was to make my family understand that music for me is not just a passion, but that it would become my job. My family has always imagined another kind of path for me, more stable and safe, so for several years I did not have their support.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I have a lot of concerts in my heart and it’s hard to choose. I remember with satisfaction the first time I played a program of French songs, in 2013, on the occasion of the festival “Le X Giornate”, in Brescia, my home city. From that moment I totally fell in love with this kind of music, I began to study the world of cabaret, French and German music, songs of the vintage world. That concert really changed my musical life. During the same festival, always with the pianist Stefano Marzanni, I performed the RückertLieder (Songs after Rückert), a song cycle of five Lieder for voice and orchestra or piano by Gustav Mahler, based on poems written by Friedrich Ruckert. The concert, of which I have a beautiful memory and I am very proud of, was dedicated to the city of Vienna and its music and it was magical.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

As a classically-trained singer, I’m in love with opera, and I really love to sing it. Also because being a mezzo-soprano, I love the roles for this vocal register, for example Carmen. But I never felt part of the world of opera, I preferred to choose my path and create something of my own. I feel totally comfortable when I sing repertoire of old songs, as I said before. I can use various vocal registers, experiment with the voice using lyric, pop, jazz voice. I can create my own style. I love the music of the early 1900s; I think the lyrics are very deep, beautiful to interpret.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I always look for something new to study and interpret in a personal way. Surely the choice of the repertoire depends on the request, but for me it is really important to never stop and continue to create new shows.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

My favorite venue is definitely the Crazy Coqs in Brasserie Zedel, Soho, London. I love the atmosphere which links directly back to the vintage world of the Parisian bistros of the early decades of the 1900s. It’s perfect for cabaret shows, for French music and vintage repertoire. I have a funny memory of a very special venue for a concert of contemporary music in Holland in 2014, in the city of Den Haag. The venue was a beautiful ….. cemetery.

As a musician what is your definition of success?

Success for me is simply being able to do what I love, and to be able to express myself. Being able to experiment and see that the public appreciates it. For me, real success is knowing that I have given all of myself in the music I sing, in the best way possible.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

I think that an aspiring musician should know first of all that the work of the musician is a wonderful job but it requires many sacrifices, much study and a lot of passion. We need a lot of determination to overcome the challenges and obstacles, a lot of patience, because the results do not come immediately. But I believe that humility is fundamental above all. We have to really focus on the goals, do not give up if the road is not easy. A little advice: be yourself.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

I live for music so I can only imagine my future singing in theatres. I dream of taking my shows on tour in the most beautiful cities in the world. I love travelling, visiting new places and meeting new people.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

For me happiness is not lack of pain or suffering, but the ability to understand that there is a reason for everything. True happiness for me is something very profound, which goes beyond sensory experiences: it is a way of being. In this I am close to the Buddhist philosophy. I am a happy person, because I love life, I love my job, my family and my friends. I have learned to always see the positive side of everything and not to worry too much about the problems. I learned to be happy for any gift life gives me, even the smallest. It is not always easy to follow this path, but I am convinced that it is the best way to face life, which for me is something extraordinary. I “love to spread love”

What is your most treasured possession?

I could answer this question in several ways. For me the most precious thing is life itself, the experiences I do, so health is fundamental. Obviously as regards my person, my most precious asset is my voice, without that I can not work, but above all I can not express myself and elaborate the experiences. But I can also say that my greatest treasure is the people I love, family (including my four dogs) and friends. The moments spent with the people I love are something that enriches me, something that for me is very important and that I want to enjoy because unfortunately I learned as a young person that people can be taken away at any moment.

What is your present state of mind?

At this moment I am extremely grateful for the wonderful opportunities and the possibility that life is giving me. I am full of joy and I hope I can share it, in life and through music. Thank you so much for this interview.

Cabaret Beyond Borders is at Live at Zedel at Crazy Coqs Soho on Friday 31 January (tickets here)

Stefano Marzanni & Elena Lorenzi

7 Star Arts presents…..an exciting autumn line up of artists and music

Classic Gershwin Showreel

A taster of Classic Gershwin, 7 Star Arts’ most popular mixed genre production, starring Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator). Music by George Gershwin

 

Anthony Hewitt wows The Jazz Room

The Jazz Room in Barnes, SW London, affectionately known as “the suburban Ronnie’s Scotts” (and almost as longstanding as the eponymous Soho jazz club), resonated to a different vibe on Sunday evening when internationally-renowned pianist Anthony Hewitt – an artist more used to playing in hallowed gilded spaces such as the Wigmore or Carnegie Halls – gave a concert of classical music by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin – all performed on the Yamaha upright piano which resides in the Jazz Room. It’s a very good piano, but it ain’t a Steinway model D!

Yet such is Anthony’s skill and sensitively that he wrought myriad sounds and colours from the modest instrument – and somehow listening to Bach (Partita No. 1) in a venue normally reserved for jazz, one suddenly becomes hyper-aware of all the jazzy syncopations and offbeat rhythms inherent in Bach’s writing.

The piano music of Brahms, more usually heard on a modern concert grand, had a lightness which lent a greater poignancy and tenderness to his Op 119 piano pieces; while in Debussy’s Estampes multi-layered lines and textures were revealed.

The second half of the concert swung to the sounds of Ravel’s decadent and sensuous La Valse and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in blue, his vibrant and exhilarating evocation of the melting pot of America and the sounds of the big city. Anthony did a remarkable job in drawing so much colourful sound out of the Yamaha upright to achieve brilliant results.

For the audience, the small size of the Jazz Room means one gets up and close and personal with music and performer in a way which is never possible in a larger or more formal venue. Such closeness creates a very special sense of communication and shared experience between audience and performer, and throughout the concert there was a very palpable sense of people listening really intently – a great compliment to the music and the pianist. In addition, Anthony introduced the music engagingly and audience members were able to meet and chat to him after the performance. As one audience member remarked “the Jazz room is a real gem and now to start a classical series there is an added bonus”.

The concert was billed as “Iconoclassics”, paying homage to the Jazz Room’s iconic status as one of London’s leading jazz venues. More like this please!

 

7 Star Arts says: audiences can enjoy more classical music, fused with jazz, world and original compositions on 10 April when pianist and composer Helen Anahita Wilson makes her Jazz Room debut. Book tickets here


(Reviewed by The Cross-Eyed Pianist)

Meet the Artist – Duncan Eagles, saxophonist

Saxophonist and composer Duncan Eagles chats to The Cross-Eyed Pianist (AKA Frances Wilson) about his musical influences and inspirations, and more…..

I think there are many moments that define what kind of musician you are / will become. One of the earliest I remember was borrowing a John Coltrane double album from school. It was probably the first jazz CD I checked out. The first of the two CD’s I listened to was “My Favourite Things” which I didn’t really get and can’t say I enjoyed. I got a few minutes in and then swapped to the second CD which was “Blue Trane”. This blew my mind. I was intrigued how someone could play the instrument in the way Coltrane does on that record. The sound, technique, composition were all completely new to me. That started me on the road to wanting to be able to get serious about playing, improvising, composing etc and also started to open up the history of the music to me. From here I found Miles Davis then Wayne Shorter then Art Blakey etc etc its all linked.

Read more

Duncan Eagles and his quartet perform at The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head on Thursday 15 March. Book tickets

Interview with Niklas Walentin, violinist

Ahead of his appearance with the Walentin Trio at Craxton Studios on 16 March, violinist Niklas Walentin talks about his influences and inspirations, significant teachers, repertoire, performing and more……

Who or what inspired you to take up the violin and pursue a career in
music?
I was first introduced to the violin and classical music “live” when attending a chamber music concert in Germany at the age of 6. The programme included, among other pieces, the famous C major string quintet by Franz Schubert. It had an immense impact on me, and I startet leaning the violin later the same year. At the age of 10, and not having found much interest in school, I decided to stay in the world of music into which I had been so luckily invited. At the same time, I had already been participating successfully in many competitions and masterclasses, so that taking the decision of becoming the best violinist I could possibly become, was not so far away.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
The number of people and their endless support it has taken makes up a list longer than one could possibly imagine. I know of very few careers where from childhood, one is in the need of such strong and continuous support. But naturally, every member of my family is the initial answer. Then, my teacher and mentor, Søren Elbæk, who both as a violinist and musician has inspired me tremendously, but also his personality and as a human being has been a great support through my youth.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
It is difficult question to answer, as there are so many different things I have encountered at different times in my career. But looking back, I would say the most challenging thing has been to accept how the world of classical music works as a business. Even though it sounds quite harsh, and in some way ruins the romantic image of this wonderful world filled with so much incredible music, musicians, composers and so forth all need to make a living. To me, having slowly experienced how all that works, and to accept in some situations, that even though one has done ‘the job’ exactly as intended to highest standards, and all the work it takes around building up a career has been done, still sometimes, doors just simply won’t open. And that has been quite a challenge.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
The perfect answer would and should of course in many ways be them all. Yet there are some I am particularly happy about. One of them was by debut concert in Carnegie Hall two years ago: it was a childhood dream come true, and a truly magical evening. I was at the time releasing my second album with four grand works for violin by Carl Nielsens, and even though my fourth album is on its way with my piano trio, I am still very proud of the recording of Carl Nielsen.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I have spent a lot of time with Carl Nielsen and his music. He is definitely a composer woth whom I have strongly identified. I have a passion for playing solo violin, and have many plans of doing much more in the future. But next to my solo career, I have a very busy ensemble with my piano trio, Trio Vitruvi, and this spring I will return to Carnegie Hall together with my colleagues. We will be releasing our first album together, with the second piano trio by Schubert, and his music; being some of the first classical music I ever experienced, it has a very dear place in my heart.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
It is far from easy to choose, and a lot of the time, other circumstances do the choosing for me. But when I have my hands totally free, I choose pieces I simply can’t help but play. There comes an incredible and very naturally overflow of passion when performing pieces that you simply must play, and this is something that I feel always transmits to the audience very positively.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
The Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall is unique. But I have to admit that I have fallen equally in love with Wigmore Hall. Also, the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg is to me, when performing violin concertos, a gem!
Who are your favourite musicians?
I would say the violinist Henryk Szeryng has had a very big influence on my playing. But my chamber music professor, founding member of the Alban Berg quartet, Hatto Beyerle, is a musician to whom I very much look up. Danish jazz violinist Svend Asmussen is also very high on the list!
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Lately it was when I was at the Verbier Festival, I had a free evening to attend a concert with Ana Chumachenko, who together with friends performed Schubert’s String Quintet in C. I had not heard the work for many years, and I was in tears more or less throughout the piece.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
To remain yourself throughout your career and not to be confused by the many who want their influence to show through your character and way of playing. I have had many faces in my life, where I have been torn between two parties, and their way to do things would be the best. But when I finally learned to take the final decisions myself, a true sense of freedom followed.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
One thing which can be difficult to impart is the experience of the life itself as a musician. How to overcome issues of not undestanding why things don’t come your way when you work hard, or to restrain the pressure of nerves when performing at a high level. So much time is spent on learning how to play the instrument and the pieces, but I find advice for when you are actually out there on your own, and you need to show your very best to an unfamiliar audience that demands the highest level of quality, is rarely given enough.

Niklas Walentin performs with Alena Walentin (flute) and Viv McLean (piano) at Craxton Studios, Hampstead on Friday 16 March in a programme featuring Franck’s Sonata in A for violin and piano. Further details and tickets here www.7stararts.com/event/walentin-trio-craxton-studios/

Iconoclassics at The Jazz Room

7 Star Arts announces the launch of a new series of concerts in the iconic Jazz Room at the Bull’s Head

Iconoclassics features leading, critically-acclaimed classical musicians, more at home in the world’s great concert halls than in a jazz club but all happy to break free from the conventional classical music scene. The small size of the Jazz Room creates a special connection between musicians and audience, and allows the musicians to present music in a more accessible and relaxed way.

In keeping with the main focus of The Jazz Room, programmes in the Iconoclassics series will explore links between classical music and jazz, and will include works by Ravel and Gershwin, two composers whose music crossed genres and pushed the boundaries of what we define as “classical music”.

Iconoclassics launches on 14 February 2018 with Classic Valentine – a special concert for Valentine’s Day featuring David Le Page (violin) and Viv McLean (piano). This will be followed on 11 March by a solo concert by internationally-acclaimed pianist Anthony Hewitt, who has been praised for his “fine, poetic and communicative musicianship” (BBC Music Magazine).

This promises to be an exciting and intriguing new series in an intimate and friendly venue.

 

Purists may balk at hearing classical music in a venue normally reserved for jazz, but the small size of the jazz room lends itself to the right kind of concentrated listening and intimacy of expression which this music demands and offers. And David Le Page and Viv McLean create a very special intimacy of their own – these musicians work together regularly and their empathy and mutual understanding is palpable in every note they play.

  • Frances Wilson/The Cross-Eyed Pianist

 

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