With Guest Ensemble – Heath Quartet
The London Bridge Ensemble is one of Britain’s most exciting and brilliant chamber groups, whose primary focus is driven by the piano trio repertoire.
The ensemble is widely recognised for offering programmes with strong, composer-led themes, and continues to uphold its unique selling point of combining chamber music with song through the ensemble’s ‘resident’ baritone voice member, Ivan Ludlow. They maintain their reputation for flexible programming with regular guest string players on hand and the possibility to invite other singers as demanded by the occasion and repertoire.
In addition to their facility to ‘bridge’ these various genre, the group’s name reflects, through Frank Bridge, an admiration for the English music of the early twentieth century, which has from the outset formed an important part of the group’s varied repertoire, and is represented by their hugely successful Frank Bridge recordings.
Engagements since the group’s Wigmore Hall debut in 2005 have included Kings Place, Goldsmiths’ Hall, St. George’s Bristol, St. John’s Smith Square, Turner Sims Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Sheffield Music in the Round and St. David’s Hall Cardiff. Festival appearances have included City of London Festival, the Kerry Chamber Music Festival, Leicester International Music Festival’s lunchtime series and Ponte de Lima Festival in North Portugal. The ensemble’s own festival – The Winchester Chamber Music Festival – quickly established itself as a highly successful event following the inaugural festival in 2008 in the home town of their cellist Kate Gould and now plays to capacity audiences in April each year.
The ensemble’s first recording was of works by Frank Bridge, which was released by Dutton to critical acclaim, including glowing reviews and recommendations by both Gramophone and International Record Review. The subsequent release of the second disc in their survey of Bridge’s early works for Dutton was again met with plaudits from the critics, including unreserved commendations from Gramophone Magazine, American Record Guide and BBC Radio 3 (CD Review), and was shortlisted for the Gramophone Chamber Music Award 2011. The London Bridge Ensemble’s next release was a Schumann recording for Sonimage Classics, which drew observations such as “rendered with a bubbling brilliance”, and “heart-touchingly eloquent” from the Sunday Times. A collection of works by Fauré followed on the same label, and received excellent reviews from both The Strad and Gramophone magazine.