GEOFF EALES piano
Tuesday 13 December 2022
Concert: 8pm (approx 1.5 hours, no interval)
Tickets: £25 (including a complimentary glass of mulled wine/punch and a mince pie)
The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians writes of Ivor Novello thus: “he was, until the advent of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the 20th century’s most consistently successful composer of British musicals”. What is also beyond doubt is that he is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Not for nothing were the Ivor Novello Awards named after the Cardiff-born composer in 1955.
In tonight’s concert Geoff and the trio pay tribute to the genius of Novello in their own personal way, imbuing his beautiful melodies with a distinctly jazz flavour whilst always being faithful to the romantic essence of his music.
All compositions by Ivor Novello
Arranged by Geoff Eales, except Remembering Ivor and Bill by Geoff Eales
I Can Give You The Starlight
My Life Belongs To You
Fly Home, Little Heart
Love Is My Reason
Shine Through My Dreams
We’ll Gather Lilacs
Waltz Of My Heart
My Dearest Dear
Remembering Ivor and Bill
Geoff Eales is one of Europe’s most eclectic and inspirational pianists and composers. Though a master of many genres, it is within the jazz arena that the full extent of his musical imagination is revealed.
Born in the Welsh mining town of Aberbargoed, he studied music at Cardiff University. His composition tutor was Professor Alun Hoddinott, his piano teacher Martin Jones. After graduating summa cum laude he went on to study for a Ph.D in musical composition as well as writing a thesis on the symphonic works of Aaron Copland.
After leaving university Geoff made a conscious decision to move away from academia towards a more practical career in music. Jazz had always been Geoff’s first love and it was no surprise when soon after locating to London he was offered the piano chair in the BBC Radio Big Band. Here, he was featured in well over 2,000 broadcasts during his four-year residency. In 1983 he left the BBC in order to pursue a career in the London studios, working alongside a host of musical luminaries including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith, José Carreras and Shirley Bassey.
As the new millennium approached Geoff felt the need to change direction once again. He craved a more hands-on approach as opposed to playing a supportive role to others. This has resulted in the release of thirteen highly acclaimed jazz albums during the last twenty years.
Throughout the course of his long career Geoff has performed at many prestigious venues worldwide including New York’s Birdland, The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, the Blue Note Clubs of Japan, London’s Ronnie Scott’s and Purcell Room as well as jazz festivals such as Zagreb, Belgrade, Cork and Brecon.
Since 2017 Geoff has been developing a multi-media musical, Spirit of the Mine, based on the history of the Welsh coal-mining industry. This culminated in the Welsh premiere of the work on 22 October 2022 in front of a packed audience at the City United Reformed Church in Cardiff.
Mandy Watsham Dunstall
Mandy Watsham Dunstall is a lively, highly motivated soprano with a genuine love for communicating through the power of music and drawing the audience into the story through her singing and acting.
She has a wide range of experience including West End (Phantom of the Opera – 2002-2004, 2006 20th anniversary and the 25th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall), Opera (Royal Opera House), Film, TV (Popstar to Operastar 2011) and has been part of various touring companies. In addition, Mandy is a radio presenter and presents a weekly show The Ladies who Lunch along with her best friend Nicki on Box Office Radio. She is a recording artist and session singer, and has performed at many corporate events including The Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Chelsea Football Club and the Take That Stadium Tour (2009).
Mandy is the top soprano with the vocal big band Voxtet and has performed with them at a variety of venues including The Scoop at the More London Festival and Ronnie Scotts, London (2011) as part of Voxtet's 10th Anniversary Tour. When she sings she transmits with a passion, honesty and sincerity that radiates such depths of emotion that her performances have met with much critical acclaim and have been described as ’singing with soul’.
In recent times Mandy has been a regular featured artist at Barakura English Gardens in Japan and in October this year appeared as a leading lady in the Welsh premiere of Geoff Eales' musical Spirit of the Mine in Cardiff.