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City of Peterborough Symphony Orchestra

Summer Concert
22nd June at 7.00pm
Conductor: Bjorn Bantock
Piano: Katya Apekisheva

Peterborough Cathedral


Brahms - Academic Festival Overture

Dvorak - Symphony No. 9

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2

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Next Concert

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Autumn 2024
17th November 3pm

Spring 2025

16th March 3pm

Summer 2025

28th June

Described as a 'profoundly gifted artist' by Gramophone magazine, Katya Apekisheva has earned her place as one of Europe's most renowned and gifted musicians. 

Born in Moscow, into a family of musicians, she attended the Gnessin Music School for exceptionally gifted children making her stage debut at the age of 12. She continued her studies in Jerusalem at the Rubin Music Academy and later at the Royal College of Music in London. From these auspicious beginnings she went on to be a Prizewinner of the Leeds International Piano competition and has gone on to enjoy a career performing with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, working with renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, David Shallon, Jan Latham-Koenig and Alexander Lazarev.   

Her latest disc is a collection of impromptus of which International Piano called 'A fascinating and engrossing album'.  As a recording artist, Katya has received widespread critical acclaim for her interpretations from Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award and International Piano Magazine’s Critics’ choice to Classic FM’s CD of the week as well as a Classical Brit award to name but a few. Katya’s discography includes solo and chamber works by Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Dvorak and Rachmaninov.

Recent and future highlights include performances in Russia, Norway, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Australia and at home in the UK at the Bath Mozart Fest, St. George’s Bristol and the prestigious Wigmore Hall – where she is a regular presence. Her intense artistry and delicacy makes Katya a most sought after collaborative pianist, working with artists such as Janine Jansen, Natalie Clein, Guy Johnston, Maxim Rysanov, Jack Liebeck, Boris Brovtsyn, Alexei Ogrinchouk and Nicholas Daniel and she appears regularly at major chamber music festivals around the world. Katya also has a highly successful and personally rewarding piano duo partnership with Charles Owen, performing regularly at festivals worldwide. Together they are co-Artistic Directors of the London Piano Festival which began in 2016.

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Bjorn has an extensive performance schedule conducting ensembles and orchestras internationally. He is principal conductor of the Irish Memory Orchestra and has been a guest conductor for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town, the European Bienniale in Naples and the Svanker Music Festival. Bjorn was also principal conductor for the  St Albans Symphony Orchestra, the London Medical Orchestra, the Huntingdonshire Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Europa Ensemble and the Film Score Spectacular Orchestra and the International String Orchestra Festival in Malta.

Passionate about teaching, Bjorn runs the Conducting Course for the National Schools Symphony Orchestra course in Malvern College and the Conducting Course for the Open Strings Festival in Denmark.  He also founded and is principal conductor for the London Chamber Strings which showcases London’s finest string professionals. Hand-picked specifically for their musical integrity and stunning virtuosity the London Chamber Strings are led by David Juritz.

Bjorn regularly conducts the Hertfordshire Philharmonia and worked as conductor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the London Contemporary Dance School and the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. He has broadcast live on the SABC, BBC and S4C and has recorded and produced CD’s for the Kingsway Record label. Bjorn studied conducting with Colin Metters, Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has won numerous prizes, bursaries and scholarships including first prize in the Sir John Barbirolli competition, RNCM Contemporary Music Performance Prize
 and a Full International ABRSM Scholarship.


Programme Note


A superb programme of rightly popular tuneful works.

In his Academic Festival Overture Brahms celebrates the occasion of his honorary doctorate with a "rollicking potpourri of student songs" drawn mostly from the student's beer hall repertoire. A resounding Gaudeamus Igitur (Let us therefore rejoice) brings the overture to a splendid conclusion.

Brooding and passionate, Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 is the score of choice for the movie business ('Brief Encounter'), born romantics and pianists who want to impress! The opening solemn chords lead to glorious tunes and, after woodwind melodies in the dreamy slow movement, we are allowed a final wallow in the last movement with the gorgeous big tune thundered out again.

Dvorak wrote his Symphony No 9 "New Word" during a visit to a Bohemian immigrant community in Iowa in 1893. He uses native American folk songs to express yearning for his Czech homeland. A tender flute solo sounds like the spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot but is original. The Largo was inspired by Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha featuring an exquisite cor anglais solo, one of Dvorak's most beautiful creations. After the brass proudly proclaim a majestic theme in the finale the work ends in a blaze of orchestral colour that fades away via a long string chord.

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