President Jonathan Dove

A Concerto for the 21st Century


I have a dream, people: a musical utopia in which recorder players and percussionists aren’t discriminated against just because Mozart and Beethoven didn’t write concertos for their instruments; in which pianists don’t always walk away with the big prizes because they can play Rachmaninov.

Tom Service The Guardian


These words were published two days after the televised Concerto Finals of the BBC Young Musician Competition. One of the three finalists was the recorder player Sophie Westbrooke, playing a work by Gordon Jacob. In the previous final in 2012, Charlotte Barbour-Condini was the first recorder player ever to reach the concerto final in over 30 years of the programme’s history. She played a concerto by Vivaldi.

These performances demonstrated the outstanding musicianship of two young players but at the same time highlighted the paucity of the repertoire for the virtuoso recorder player playing with an orchestra in a big modern concert hall.

To build on the achievements of Charlotte and Sophie, and to prepare the way for a potential future winner of this prestigious competition, their teacher Barbara Law and I have commissioned Graham Fitkin to write a landmark recorder concerto for 2017. His recent cello concerto, commissioned and premiered at the BBC proms by Yo Yo Ma, was an outstanding success.

We have asked Graham to use 6 different sizes of recorder (just one player!), all amplified to enhance the sound — just as any guitarist playing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez does — confirming the place of the recorder in the 21st century concert hall.

Fund-raising target: £25,000

You can contribute with your Society of Recorder Players Subscription or
to help realize Tom Service’s dream, which we share, please send contributions to:
Sort code: 20 35 93
Account no. 93175332
Barclays Bank
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Last updated August 12, 2015