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An Evening with Leon Bosch

Presented by the Mayor of Henley on Thames, Glen Lambert & the Henley Music School

Leon Bosch has an honoured place among the select group of virtuoso double bass players worldwide.   He was born in Cape Town, a political prisoner at the age of fifteen, he escaped South Africa’s repressive apartheid regime and became a British Citizen. He graduated from the University of Cape Town and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music.  

Since his 1984 London solo debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra, he has appeared with many distinguished musicians, including Pinchas Zukerman, Sir Charles Groves and Nicholas Kraemer and is artistic director of the chamber music ensemble I Musicanti. 

Highlights of his chamber music partnerships include engagements with the Lindsay, Belcea and Brodsky String Quartets and the Moscow Virtuosi. He has worked with such pianists as Maria João Pires, Mikhail Rudy, Vladimir Ovchinikov, Peter Donohoe, Martin Roscoe and Korean pianist Sung-Suk Kang. 

Leon has played a significant part in, and received acclaim for, the exploration of challenging and little-known music for double bass and has been responsible for several important first performances including “Pueblo”, a commission from John McCabe, works by Allan Stephenson, and music by the South African composers Hendrik Hofmeyr and Paul Hanmer. 

His experiences under South Africa’s  apartheid regime have ensured he has maintained a keen interest in social and political issues; he holds a master’s degree in Intelligence and International Relations 

This evening will feature Leon performing with a piano accompaniment and an interview, after the concert he will be signing copies of his album. 

For twenty years principal double bass with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Leon Bosch left the orchestra in 2014, devoting himself to his musical interests elsewhere: performing and recording as a soloist, setting up his chamber ensemble I Musicanti and teaching in the UK and internationally.

Encouraged by his former colleague at the ASMF, Sir Neville Marriner, and having directed orchestras from the solo double bass many times, he also took up conducting and now appears regularly on the podium and as soloist/director.

Born in Cape Town, although now a British citizen, he graduated from the University of Cape Town before completing his double bass studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. As soloist, Leon Bosch has so far recorded ten CDs, including the world premiere recording of music by the Catalan virtuoso Josep Cervera whose work he rediscovered and has been instrumental in reviving. He has commissioned dozens of works for the instrument.

London based award-winning pianist Rebeca Omordia was born in Romania to a Romanian mother and a Nigerian father. She graduated from the National Music University in Bucharest in 2006 when she was awarded full scholarships to study at Birmingham Conservatoire and later at Trinity College of Music in London.

Prize winner in international piano competitions, Rebeca Omordia was awarded the Delius Prize in 2009, which led to an extensive duo-partnership with the British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. They toured the UK, performing in renowned venues including the Wigmore Hall and Kings Place in London, at Highgrove for the Prince’s Trust and they made several broadcasts for BBC Radio 3.

Described by the Guardian as “ the virtuoso pianist who cast spell on Lagos”, Rebeca Omordia has made a name for herself as a vibrant and exciting virtuoso who is in demand throughout the UK and abroad. She has performed as a soloist with all the major Romanian orchestras including the Romanian National Radio Orchestra and MUSON Symphony Orchestra in Nigeria. She has collaborated with world-renowned artists including Raphael Wallfisch, Amy Dickson and Elizabeth Llewellyn. Rebeca’s recording with Mark Bebbington, “The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams” reached No. 3 in the UK’s Classical Music Chart.

Rebeca is a great advocate of Nigerian classical music. Her CD “EKELE: Piano Works by African Composers”, released in March 2018 on Heritage label, features music by three of Nigeria’s most prolific composers and was described as an “appealing album” (BBC Music Magazine), “fascinating programme “(Gramophone Magazine) and “beautifully delivered recital” (The Sunday Times)”.

Rebeca is also a talented arranger, her arrangement of “The Seal Lullaby” by Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre, for cello and harp, was released on Deutsche Gramophon.

In 2016, Rebeca received the Honorary Membership Award (HonBC) from Birmingham City University for her contribution to the music industry as an alumna of Birmingham Conservatoire. She is currently writing her PhD thesis.

“I’ve been working with the brilliant young pianist, Rebeca Omordia. She is half Romanian, half Nigerian – and it’s a powerful combination! … Rebeca’s technique knows no bounds but, more importantly, she plays with a depth of insight and understanding which is all too rare today.”

Julian Lloyd Webber, London Magazine

Show Details

Tickets: £16

(includes £1 theatre restoration levy)

Proceeds from this performance will be donated to the Mayor’s Charities.