Exploring baroque with Ellipsis Ensemble

Published: Thursday 23rd November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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The enchanting Ellipsis Ensemble is returning to Hull to perform two inspiring concerts.

The musical trio is renowned for its unique and diverse programmes. We spoke with acclaimed piano player Susanna Stranders to find out more.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the ensemble?

Ellipsis Ensemble was established about a decade ago. We just wanted to get together and make music.

After having so much fun at St John’s May Festival in Notting Hill, we decided to take it a step further. Unfortunately, one of our founding members had to move away, but our flute player, Robert Manasse, joined us around six or seven years ago, and we’ve been making music ever since.

What was the inspiration for your beautiful name, Ellipsis Ensemble?

Well, an ellipsis means that there is ‘more to come’ or that a sentence is ‘not quite finished’; this ties in with the fact we like to invite singers and other musicians to join our trio. For example, in Hull, internationally renowned tenor James Gilchrist will be joining us.

We do this because we want to curate programmes that are interesting for our audiences. With just a piano, flute and an oboe, we can do a lot, but respectively, we can’t do everything. By inviting others to explore genres with us, we can continue to play and entertain.

What’s your favourite thing about playing in Ellipsis Ensemble?

Ellipsis is a real pleasure for me. We all have full-time jobs as well as Ellipsis, so it’s something that I do as a hobby. Sharing the love of playing music with friends for the public is really rewarding. My reasons for doing it are a lot more intimate than just making a career out of it.

What can audiences expect when they see you perform?

Well, we describe our concert in our blurb as a sort of potpourri of woodwind and piano repertoire. This will definitely be reflected in our lunchtime concert on Friday 24 November.

The show will combine all sorts of styles, from baroque to contemporary. It will also premiere new work by Professor Alastair Borthwick from the University of Hull, which is really exciting.

Our evening concert will be a more unusual programme. We are joined by the wonderful James Gilchrist to perform works by Bach, Handel, Vaughan Williams, as well as a new arrangement of Roxanna Panufnik’s setting of Shakespeare Sonnets, “Generation of Love”.

Again, we’ve been quite creative and imaginative, using different mixes of duos and trios – I really think that there will be something for everyone.

On that note, what would you say to someone quite new to this type of performance?

I would say to think of it like going to a restaurant; we don’t all like Indian or Chinese cuisine, but you have to try a range of things in order to experience classical music in a more wholesome way.

We are really keen to make contact with the audience in a personal way, with a lot of introductions and explanations to what the music is about and its history. I think this can help ease in newbies and people really appreciate this.

We have to work to train our ears and learn how to listen to things. Having a broad spectrum of repertoire is key for this.

You can catch Ellipsis Ensemble this evening at the University of Hull from 7:45pm and tomorrow lunchtime at 1pm.

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Published: Thursday 23rd November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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