Fionnuala


I discovered an entry in the Welsh Music Information Centre concerning the first ever modern work to be written specially for me. Fionnuala, inspired by Irish folklore, was a work for viol and harpsichord written by Andrew Wilson-Dickson, then the head of early music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It was during a recital in 2003, with harpsichordist Shane Thio, that I premiered the work in Singapore. Here is some information about Andrew:

Andrew Wilson-Dickson is a composer, pianist and conductor (as well as author, teacher and string-player). During his four years at Cambridge
University he studied piano with John Lill and then the organ at York with Nicholas Danby and Francis Jackson, at the same time holding the post of organ scholar at York Minster.

Just prior to his move to Wales in 1984, Andrew won the National Eiseddfod`s `Tlws y Cerddor` with Sefyddfa a Sgwrs for clarinet, strings, horn and accordion. But before and since then his compositions have been played (and broadcast) by many well-known artists such as Peter Lawson, Andrew Ball, Julian Jacobson (piano), Nancy Ruffer (flute), John Wallace (trumpet), Susanne Stanzeleit, Madeleine Mitchell (violin), (piano) Kevin Bowyer (organ), and by ensembles such as Lontano, the Wallace Collection and the Medici String Quartet (who played his string quartet commissioned by the BBC). He has written three operas and other dramatic works. He won the Bournemouth-Parry International Festival composition prize in 1999 with a piece (Psalm 29) which has since been taken on tour in Australia by the Sydney Chamber Choir.

As a result of his long-standing involvement with period music as a player and teacher, he is particularly interested in writing for early instruments – explaining the recent commissions for music from Fretwork and Charivari Agréable. Unknown to the players, he is writing a concerto grosso for the Welsh Baroque Orchestra, a period instrument ensemble which he founded and directs.

Recently completed commissions include Three Hail Marys (ten-piece brass) for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and The Fox, a cantata for period instruments first performed by the Welsh Baroque Soloists, summer 2005. A guitar concerto is due for first performance at the end of 2005.

Fionnuala will definitely see the light of day soon (harpsichordist Stewart Smith expressed great interest during our last recital), but in the meantime I shall be on the look out for more composers - especially young composers - to write for the viol. Perhaps one day I will premiere your work?