Emilie Mayer (1812-83)

On Friday 11 March 2022, award-winning conductor John Andrews will conduct a concert to mark International Women’s Day with British mezzo-soprano Heather Lowe and St Paul’s Sinfonia.

The concert features Louise Farrenc’s Overture in E flat, Gustav Mahler’s KindertotenliederEmilie Mayer’s Symphony in F minor, and the modern premiere of Amy Beach’s solo cantata Jephthah’s Daughter.

John Andrews said: ‘One of the greatest delights of my professional life is being able to present lost, forgotten, and unexpectedly-neglected composers to the public. And if that composer also happens to be a woman, or from a historically less-empowered group in European history that’s even better. The odds of their music’s survival were often even more steeply stacked against them, so the odds of striking gold amongst what has been preserved is correspondingly higher. Given some nineteenth-century attitudes, not least of contemporaries like Gustav Mahler, if a work has survived, it’s usually deserving of attention. The speed with which composers such as Farrenc and Beach have entered the repertoire is testament to the immediate accessibility of their music, and I’m proud to be adding to that with Jephthah’s Daughter. By programming this repertoire we can introduce audiences to a wealth of dazzling new musical acquaintances, whose energy, dynamism and sheer melodic beauty offer endless pleasure.’

The event takes place at 7.30pm at St Alfege Church, Greenwich.

John Andrews was born in Nairobi in 1976 and brought up in Manchester. He came to orchestral music by a roundabout route via the intensely competitive Brass Band tradition, having been introduced to the tuba through his Local Authority’s peripatetic music service. He went on to study at Cambridge, graduating with a PhD in 2008. Passionate about keeping music available to the widest possible audience, John teaches on the Cambridge Music Hubs programme, and has lectured at the Elgar School of Music and the  Blackheath Conservatoire . His gift for combining empathy and feel for both music and musicians with an ability to directly and powerfully communicate his ideas, together with his passion for locating music in its social and historical context, brings dynamism and warmth to his interpretations of both rare and classic repertoire. Andrews was recently awarded the BBC Music Magazine Opera Award for his recording of Malcolm Arnold’s The Dancing Master for the Resonus Classics label, and in March 2021, Andrews launched Red Squirrel – a new opera company that aims to co-produce one staged project and one recording each year, researching and uncovering mainly English-language theatre works from the 18th – 20th Centuries.

International Women’s Day on BBC Radio 3, March 8.