Bradfield teams up rising stars

Saxophonist Amy Dickson.
Saxophonist Amy Dickson.
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The Bradfield Festival of Music next week brings together for the first time two exciting international talents who are now based in Britain.

Romanian-Nigerian pianist Rebeca Omordia will share the stage on Wednesday with Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson.

Pianist Rebeca Ormordia, appearing at the Bradfield Festival

Pianist Rebeca Ormordia, appearing at the Bradfield Festival

Omordia has worked as a duo partner with Bradfield Festival president Julian Lloyd Webber who became her mentor and mentioned the festival might be an opportunity to further her solo career.

“It all sounded very glamorous and exciting – a music festival set in the beautiful surroundings of Yorkshire where great musicians were performing,” she says. “So I sent a recording of me performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 to the festival’s director who liked it very much and offered me a date for 2015.”

Reflecting her dual heritage Omordia has included an African piece in her programme next week. “I have been working closely with the High Commission in London to promote Nigerian classical music to the UK audience.

“The composers used traditional Nigerian folk themes (healing songs, chants) as the basis while using European classical techniques of composition, blending miraculously the two styles and their music kept an authentic African identity,” she explains.

“The pieces I will perform at Bradfield Festival are four of the 24 Studies in African Rhythms by Fred Onovwerosuoke, a very successful composer now living in America. These are some of the most-demanding African-rhythm influenced piano studies known.”

Amy Dickson made history by becoming the first Australian to win the 2013 MasterCard Breakthrough Artist of the Year Classic Brit Award – and the first saxophonist.

Her instrument is something we associate with jazz and pop rather than classical music.

“I did play in big bands when I started but I also played classical piano and always felt more at home in the classical genre,” says Dickson. “It felt like my first language and jazz was my second language.

“The saxophone was invented as a classical instrument and jazz didn’t include it for quite a while,” she says.

“There’s quite a substantial early 20th century repertoire and a lot of contemporary composers use the instrument in new music which I am very interested in.”

Dickson performs all round the world and the day after Bradfield will jet off to Japan.

“About half the time I play as a soloist and the other half with various combinations such as chamber ensembles. It will be nice to play with someone new.”

Her opposite number is equally enthusiastic. “We have been rehearsing at her studio in Chiswick and it all sounds amazing – I’m really looking forward to this concert.”

The festival concerts are in St Nicholas Church, High Bradfield, and tickets are now on sale via http://bradfieldfestivalofmusic.co.uk/