KEITH BURSTEIN piano
Friday 14 December 2018
Concert: 12.15pm (1 hour)
Tickets: £10 Adult, £5 concessions
Please note: this is a lunchtime recital and the Club's bar will not be open for this event.
Keith Burstein, composer of super- tonal new concert music returns for a second year after his concert in the 1901 Arts Club last December.
He is joined at the piano by distinguished performers Corinne Morris, cello and Peter Cigleris, clarinet and also Soprano and Baritone, (tba).
After the last concert doyenne of critics Meirion Bowen wrote
Chamber works of Keith Burstein, including “Memories of Lithuania” for Piano, Clarinet and Cello
KEITH BURSTEIN has devoted himself to the rediscovery of tonality as the timeless source of all music. This has meant a singular pathway since he began his career about thirty years ago, as the landscape of new classical music was then dominated by atonalism- and it still is.
Since then, although some progress has been made towards a more open culture of new concert music, nevertheless the question "wither music?" still hangs in the air. His answer was spontaneous, albeit not emerging from within him until he was almost 30, having spent the first part of his career exploring the work of other contemporary composers from his time as a scholar at the Royal College of Music and through his early years making recordings for BBC Radio 3 with his contemporary ensemble, the Grosvenor Group. Quite suddenly he found his voice - and it was overtly tonal - and yet at the same time somehow modern. He had learnt how to re-conceive tonality by emerging through atonalism.
This immediately brought him into conflict with the atonal establishment. However, distinguished musicians of international standing have given him exceptional support. Firstly the renowned Estonian composer Arvo Part - who himself fled a different sort of autocracy in the Soviet Union - and later Vladimir Ashkenazy the great pianist and conductor championed his work getting his first Symphony ‘Elixir’ released on Naxos Records.
Never far from controversy Burstein came fully to public notice with his opera Manifest Destiny which asks what might happen if suicide bombers renounced violence and became peace makers? Undoing every normal expectation the opera caused a sensation at the Edinburgh Festival in 2005, after which some newspapers accused the composer quite wrongly of glorifying terrorism. Many luminaries got involved in defending and supporting him, including Corin and Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Corbyn, Julian Assange and Ralph Steadman; there were libel trials, plays about the trials (in which Tim Pigott- Smith played Burstein) and vast amounts of publicity here and abroad.
His most recent opera The Prometheus Revolution was premiered at the Arcola Theatre last August as part of the Grimeborn Opera Festival. It was attended by the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and also widely covered in the national and international media.