Friday 28 April 2017

Cello Dublin! Julian's bringing his 300-year-old Stradivarius to Ireland

Julian Lloyd Webber is back in Ireland this month with his show Travels with my Cello: An Evening with Julian Lloyd Webber.

Celebrating his 60th birthday this year, the legendary cellist will perform favourite classics by Bach, Fauré, Saint-Saens and Debussy as well as pieces by his father, William, and his brother, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

It's been a busy year for the cellist who became a father, for the second time, in June to a baby girl with his fourth wife, Jiaxin Cheng, also a cellist.

Music accompanied the cellist's entire childhood -- his mother taught piano and his father started out as an organist and composer, and became the director of the London College of Music.

Julian and his brother, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, appear to have followed their own paths. In fact, the Lloyd Webber name hasn't particularly done the cellist any favours.

He has said in the past that on the one hand the name is so well known, which is great, but on the other there are classical music fans who aren't Andrew Lloyd Webber fans and so the sibling connection hasn't necessarily always been helpful.

The cellist appears to be a fan of his brother's work, though, and is proud to have recorded some of it.

Julian has made many outstanding recordings over the years, including his Brit-Award winning Elgar Concerto, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin and a coupling of Britten's Cello Symphony and Walton's Concerto with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

He has also premiered more than 50 new works for cello and has inspired new compositions from composers as diverse as Malcolm Arnold and Joaquin Rodrigo to James MacMillan and Philip Glass.

In addition to performing, Julian Lloyd Webber chairs In Harmony, the British government's national network of youth and children's orchestras, a project that aims to effect social change through free music tuition and access to instruments for young children living in deprived areas.

Julian plays a Barjansky Stradivarius cello (c.1690) and is accompanied by pianist Pam Chowhan on this Irish tour that began last Wednesday.

The cellist performs in The Mullingar Arts Centre tonight, The Theatre Royal Waterford tomorrow, then journeys on to Kilkenny, Athlone and Tipperary before finishing up in The Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray tomorrow week.

Aedín Gormley presents Movies and Musicals Saturday 2-4pm and Sunday Matinee Sundays at noon on RTÉ lyric fm.

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