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ANDREW ANSON

by

Dr David C. F. Wright

 


Andrew is an extraordinary young flautist, gifted and blessed with a sincere and genuine disposition and not hindered by any hint of arrogance or conceit. It is a pleasure to be in his company. He will ask advice and consider what you say with a courtesy which in the musical world is somewhat rare.

I was the sole audience in his parent's home and listened to his performance of Debussy’s Syrinx which was nothing short of a revelation.

I have always believed that the flute and the cello were the instruments with the most heart. Somehow there is something very human about the flute. It seems to be the voice of the heart and the cello, because it is so close to the body, is also another intimate instrument. This may explain why one of my first works was for flute and cello.

Andy graduated from Trinity College, London in 1998. He studied with the American Ann Cherry, who is also an editor of many works for flute, Daniel Pailthorpe, co-principal flute with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the incomparable Susan Milan at the Royal College of Music and, later, in New York with Julius Baker and Jeanne Baxtresser then of the New York Philharmonic. This, in itself, shows Andy’s desire to both learn and improve as well as his true and unfeigned humility.

In 1999 he released his first CD (Claudio CR4942-2 review) of music by Schubert, Pierre Sancan ( a superb sonatina) and Prokofiev. Here are some review quotes:

A star soloist, Anson is bright, engaging and a gifted colourist Classic FM

... superbly played ....provides an in-depth insight ..Keith Ames (Musicians Union)

...played with great confidence and panache. Very fine playing... totally at ease Peter Lloyd-Williams (Bath Music Critic)

The playing by Andrew Anson is quite exquisite his playing displays a sound and artistiy of the utmost sincerity and sensitivity.... Andrew Downes ( Composer and Director of the Birmingham Conservatoire)

Anson’s performance is committed and very fine...marvellous contrast of emotions, all of which this splendid duo capture....I recommend this disc. David Wright (MusicWeb)

Andy was born in Brighton and has three sisters. His mother is the novelist Vanessa Hannam. She was a leading London journalist specialising in social and medical issues. In addition she studied singing with Walter Gruner and was a singer with the Tudor and Capricorn Singers. His father is retired and is dedicated to his painting and writing poetry. Andy’s godfather was the painter Paul Maze who taught Sir Winston Churchill to paint and who, as a boy, met Renoir. Andy’s godmother was the distinguished soprano the late Elisabeth Harwood. He grew up in Sussex in a house where music was both a vital and enjoyable activity ( all his sisters are musical) and where musicians , painters and poets were regular visitors. Here he was inspired to the arts in this cultural environment. His maternal grandfather was a Texan ranch owner and among Andy’s lists of his hobbies and interests is ranching which he expresses in a wonderful take off of Texan speech. His other interests are horse riding, swimming, visits to the gym, fishing, movies. The list is endless.

He schooled at Exeter but, apparently it was on one of his childhood visits to his cousin’s ranch in Texas that he was told that he ought to learn the flute so that he could play the Rain Dance to encourage the heavens to open. Later, when he had learned the flute, he played it in Texas and a terrific storm and downpour followed!

His musical idols are Susan Milan, Anne Sophie Mutter, Vladmir Ashkenazy and Jacqueline Du Pré. He is a diverse musician excelling in anything from Mozart to the present day and among his likes are Sting and the indefatigable Tina Turner.

He has recorded for the BBC and on American stations such as King FM in Seattle. He has performed in the Royal Albert Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall and at many other venues and in prestigious festivals. From 1997 to 1999 he was principal flute with the Concilium Chamber Orchestra touring to many places in Europe including the United Nations Building in Paris.

Through my contacts and suggestions Andy has met some influential musicians which has given him some wonderful opportunities introducing him to Andrew Downes and William Blezard.

Andrew Downes wrote:

On Wednesday 13 February 2002 the flautist Andrew Anson gave a recital preceded by a masterclass at the Birmingham Conservatoire where I am Head of Composition and Creative Studies.

The recital which included contemporary flute sonatas by Jindrich Feld and myself was absolutely brilliant showing Andrew to be one of the finest flautists of his generation both in terms of technique and sheer musical expression.

The masterclass aimed at both student flautists and composers involved a detailed analysis of my Sonata for flute and piano to be performed later in the recital.

Andrew proved himself to be a natural and inspiring communicator whose ideas and methods certainly clarified the contents and structure of a fairly complex work without compromising either his own or the work’s artistic integrity.

One of his expected future projects is the premiere recording of Professor Downes’ sonatas for flute and piccolo.

As well as playing in a flute and piano duo he has played with a guitarist and has also formed the Anson Quartet. He has recently performed Malcolm Arnold’s Flute Concerto no. 1 (with those ‘cruel’ top notes) with the English Mozart Players under Anthony le Fleming. This tour included a sell out concert at Dartington Hall. He often writes for the British Flute Society Magazine Pan. He is also guest principal flute with the English Mozart Players.

Andrew opened Tower Records fifteenth anniversary concert in London. He has given masterclasses in colleges such as the Birmingham Conservatoire. He currently teaches in London.

2004 has been an important year for him. He has given the London premiere of Andrew Downes's Flute Sonata at St John's, Smith Square which also included the premiere of Anthony le Fleming's jazz piece, Just a Moment.

He has recently become associated with the Grieg Society and, also in 2004, gave the premiere of Grieg's Violin Sonata in F as transcribed for flute and piano in a concert at the Norwegian Embassy in London in the presence of Princess Natayla Eromina Youssoupoff and embassy diplomats and staff of the Norwegian, Russian and Serbian embassies. The concert also included music from Serbia and Russia and a work for solo flute by the Norwegian composer, Oistein Sommerfeld entitled Spring Tunes, Op 44.

Andy also opened the Classical Music Festival in Clapham with a concert for flute and eight cellos including music by Gershwin, Bach, James Rae, the world premiere of Encounters for flute, piano and double bass by Anthony le Fleming and a premiere by Bryan Kelly. Andy also opened the Reigate Summer Festival with a concert of poetry and flute music.

There are plans to record all the Grieg violin sonatas on the flute, as well as the flute and piccolo sonatas of Andrew Downes. He is also learning Downes's Concerto for Native American flute. There is some talk of his touring Serbia where he has made friends in the music world, and Norway have taken him to their hearts.

He is booked for a concert in the Midlands ( date to be confirmed) to play Vivaldi's Flute Concerto : La Notte and John Veale's exquisite Elegy for flute, harp and string orchestra.

This young man will go far and deserves to... .a complete musician

 

© David C. F. Wright 2002/2004

This article must not be copied, downloaded or used in any way, in part or the whole without first obtaining the written consent of the author

 

For anyone who is interested in engaging Andy for a concert or recital his e-mail address is andrew@nson.com

 

Photographer Joe Goodall


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