Ewan Millar & Tomos Boyles
Notes on the performers
Ewan Millar is from Berkshire, recently having completed his final year reading music at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, graduating with first class honours. He has been playing for over a decade, beginning in the Berkshire Maestros charity music service in Reading, learning with Nicky Fairbairn. He now has lessons with Melanie Ragge, and is continuing with her at the Royal Academy of Music over the next two years for his Masters.
In 2021, he reached the grand final of the BBC Young Musician Competition, winning the woodwind final along the way, getting to perform Oscar Navarro’s “Legacy” Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall.
As a solo recitalist, he has performed at events around the UK like the Cheltenham Festival, Wooburn Festival, and Lake District Summer Music Festival. As well as oboe, he is a jazz pianist and singer, gigging regularly around Oxford.
Tomos Boyles is a young Welsh musician developing a career as a pianist. He has performed in numerous venues, including St Martin in the Fields, the Holywell Music Room in Oxford, the Wales Millennium Centre, Christ Church Cathedral, and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
He has enjoyed success in competitions, having recently been awarded the first prize at the Wales International Piano Festival in Caernarfon; this came with a scholarship to help fund future studies. Other top prizes include the Blue Ribband at the National Eisteddfod, and first place in the EPTA
Tomos graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University in 2022 with a first-class degree in music, having been the recipient of an academic scholarship during his studies. As a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music, Tomos studies under pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff, having previously studied with Alison Bowring at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s junior department.
Canzonetta, written in 1978, was intended to be the slow movement of an oboe concerto commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. No other movements were composed and the concerto was left unfinished at the time of Barber’s death in 1981.
Source: Music Room
Originally written for violin and piano, Lili Boulanger’s Nocturne was first published in 1911. This short work is typical of Boulanger: whole-tone harmonies combined with graceful melodies and an air of delicateness in its scoring.
Three Romances for Violin and Piano
- Andante molto
- Leidenschaftlich schnell
The Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22 of Clara Schumann, were written in 1853 and first published in 1855. Having moved to Düsseldorf in 1853, Clara Schumann, who said that “Women are not born to compose,” produced several works, including these three romances. Dedicated to the legendary violinist Joseph Joachim, Schumann and Joachim went on tour with them, even playing them before King George V of Hanover, who was “completely ecstatic” upon hearing them. A critic for the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung praised them, declaring: “All three pieces display an individual character conceived in a truly sincere manner and written in a delicate and fragrant hand.” Stephen Pettitt for The Times, wrote, “Lush and poignant, they make one regret that Clara’s career as a composer became subordinate to her husband’s.”
Threnody for Cor Anglais and Piano
Ruth Dorothy Louisa (“Wid”) Gipps MBE (1921 – 1999) was an English composer, oboist, pianist, conductor, and educator. She composed music in a wide range of genres, including five symphonies, seven concertos, and numerous chamber and choral works. She founded both the London Repertoire Orchestra and the Chanticleer Orchestra and served as conductor and music director for the City of Birmingham Choir. Later in her life she served as chairwoman of the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain.
Henri Paul Julien Dutilleux (1916 – 2013) was a French composer of late 20th-century classical music. Among the leading French composers of his time, his work was rooted in the Impressionistic style of Debussy and Ravel, but in an idiosyncratic, individual style. Among his best known works are his early Flute Sonatine and Piano Sonata; concertos for cello, Tout un monde lointain… (“A whole distant world”) and violin, L’arbre des songes (“The tree of dreams”); a string quartet known as Ainsi la nuit (“Thus the night”); and two symphonies: No. 1 (1951) and No. 2, Le Double (1959).
Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla (1921 – 1992) was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger. His works revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. A virtuoso bandoneonist, he regularly performed his own compositions with a variety of ensembles. In 1992, American music critic Stephen Holden described Piazzolla as “the world’s foremost composer of Tango music”. In 1982 he recorded the album Oblivion with an orchestra in Italy for the film Enrico IV, directed by Marco Bellocchio.