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Child star launches Phil deal with radio.

Byline: Lew Baxter

WHAT promises to be another spell-binding virtuoso performance by the astonishing 14-year-old German violinist Maria-Elisabeth Lott, making a welcome return visit to the Philharmonic Hall this week, also launches the ground-breaking partnership between the famous Liverpool orchestra and Classic FM.

The recent news that the UK's leading classical music station has chosen the Liverpool Phil to be its orchestra in the North West as part of a three-year deal coincides with the arrival last September of the acclaimed American conductor Gerard Schwarz as musical director.

The concert, which had its first performance last night, is repeated tonight and its star, young Maria-Elisabeth - rated in the same league, maybe even higher than Vanessa Mae - left audiences stunned.

Her startling arrival on the international classical circuit has already seen her chalk up solo performances with the likes of the Swiss Winterthur Musikkollegium, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra.

She comes under Gerard Schwarz's baton with Mendelssohn's famous Violin Concerto in E Minor and seats are like gold dust according to Liverpool Phil staff. The full concert programme includes Eugene Goossens' Jubilee Variations; the Preludes to Acts I and III of Wagner's Lohengrin, and Bruch's Symphony No 3 in E.

The exciting new partnership with Classic FM will also see Carl Davis conducting the soprano Inessa Galante in a programme of popular music from film and television in May. Then the versatile percussionist Evelyn Glennie returns to the Phil's platform to join the orchestra for the premiere of David Horne's Percussion Concerto.

Roger Lewis, Classic FM's managing director and programme controller said: "We consider the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to be the jewel in the crown of the North West of England and we are delighted to join forces to build new audiences for live classical music." As part of the deal the orchestra will stage concerts in the Hall in association with the radio station and a regular Sunday afternoon event - Musically Speaking - will be conducted and presented by Schwarz.

"We want this to be an informal introduction to classical music for people of all ages with a flat admission of a mere pounds 5, " commented Schwarz, who kicks off this new season on Sunday with music by Wagner, Bruch and Goossens.

Over the coming years concert recordings on the Liverpool Phil's own label RLPO Live, will be featured on the Classic FM play list with a season of concerts featured in its Evening Concert programme, which has more than one and a half million listeners.

Another initiative will see the launch of the Liverpool Music Student Network. This joint project will allow music students from Liverpool University, John Moores University and Liverpool Hope and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts free entrance to concerts and access to the extensive resources of the 'Phil' and Classic FM.

And in an important demonstration of its faith in the musical talent of the region, Classic FM has promised to provide support for the work of the Merseyside Youth Orchestra, which has a distinguished 50year tradition.

Gerard Schwarz commented: "I am thrilled to be involved in this dynamic partnership at one of the most exciting times in the orchestra's long and illustrious history.

This will certainly bring the enjoyment of classical music to a broader audience." The station has also offered to use its thriving web site - Classic FM. com - to encourage concert and CD sales for the Liverpool Phil. And during National Orchestra Week - March 9 to 17 - the Phil will headline Classic FM's coverage when orchestras from all over the UK present music and music-related activities.

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ASTONISHING: Maria-Elisabeth rehearsing with the Philharmonic in 2000 Picture: EDDIE BARFORD
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2002
Words:611
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