Introduction to the 2023-24 season

It is my privilege as Music Secretary to unveil the new OCMC season.

Despite being affected by unpredictable difficulties such as train strikes the 2022-23 season showed that the Club had bounced back in style after Covid and its aftermath, demonstrating its full potential in a series of celebratory and commemorative events. A concert marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of one-time Club member Ralph Vaughan Williams was quickly followed by evenings celebrating the 80th birthday of Club President Sir Richard Armstrong, complete with specially-composed tributes, and the 50-year membership and outstanding contributions of Gudrun and David Edwards. Alan Reddish’s long and fruitful association with the Club was remembered with music both rousing and reflective. A twice-postponed concert featuring the Britten Nocturne and Haydn Symphony No 6 turned out to be well worth the wait, Club members relishing the chance to shine as soloists alongside some outstanding young professionals.

The new season contains a similar variety across its 20 concerts and will also note a rich crop of significant anniversaries. The opening concert (September 16th) includes quintets by Mozart and Schubert and a quartet by Sir Michael Tippett, who died 25 years ago. Geneviève Usher organises a concert of Tchaikovsky (d 1893) and first-time organisers Dace Ruklisa and Krisztián Bede include tributes to Byrd (d 1623) and Ives (b 1874). A double anniversary concert will mark 150 years since the births of Schoenberg and Hahn, and Fauré and Puccini (both d 1924) will doubtless feature in the many other concerts. Patrick Sewell also steps forward as a first-time organiser, Adrienne Walters returns with a predominantly vocal evening and Norman MacSween will again curate a 2-piano concert, as this year kindly hosted by Claire Kitchin. Our dear friend Mark Lowe will organise his own significant Birthday Bash in April.

Of course familiar Club events will take place across the year: Nothing Too Serious, New and Recently-joined members and Contemporary concerts, Strings Day and a Mostly-Wind Concert including the Brahms 2nd Serenade. The AGM concert includes large-scale works by Kodály and Ravel with experienced Club conductors from both sides of the Channel, Eric van Lauwe and Rupert Bawden. Full details of dates and organisers as well as submission deadlines for the AGM concert and Concerto Workshop are already shown on the website. Please come forward with your own ideas and projects and be part of the Club’s continuing resurgence!

Looking forward to a great season!

Rupert Bawden
Music Secretary