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Superb Sibelius

Friday, May 12
Kleinhans Music Hall, 10:30 am

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The Coffee Concert Series is presented by






Sibelius’ grand Symphony No. 2 forms the centerpiece of this program, as British pianist Mark Bebbington brings the work of often-overlooked English composer John Ireland to Kleinhans. Come at 9:30 for complimentary coffee and doughnuts.

Christopher Wilkins, conductor
Mark Bebbington, piano


WEBER Overture to Die Freischütz
IRELAND Piano Concerto
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2

About Mark Bebbington

The critical plaudits which have greeted Mark Bebbington’s performances and recordings have singled him out as a British pianist of the rarest refinement and maturity. Increasingly recognised as a champion of British music, Mark has recorded extensively for SOMM “New Horizons” label to unanimous critical acclaim.

His most recent CDs – three British Piano Concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, a premiere recording of Arnold Bax’s Piano Concertino coupled with John Ireland’s Piano Concerto and Legend and premieres of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia and William Mathias’ first two Piano Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra – were released in 2014 and have met with rapturous acclaim.

In addition to concerto recordings, Mark completed his John Ireland and Frank Bridge solo piano series and released a CD of William Alwyn’s piano works in 2015: seven CDs earning him consecutive sets of 5***** in BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Magazine ‘Editor’s Choice’, an International Record Review ‘Outstanding’ accolade prompting International Piano Magazine to write: “Bebbington’s revivals of British piano music are second to none; he could well be dubbed the concert pianists’ Richard Hickox. Bebbington has almost single-handedly demonstrated that 20th-century British piano scores have an exciting role to play in the concert hall and recording studio”.

Over recent seasons Mark has toured extensively throughout Central and Northern Europe (both as recitalist and as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras), as well as the Far East and North Africa. Within the UK, he has appeared in concertos with the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, the London Mozart Players, Orchestra of the Swan and BBC Concert Orchestra He has featured both as soloist and recitalist on BBC Television and Radio and also on major European Television and Radio networks.

Mark studied at the Royal College of Music where he was a recipient of numerous international awards and prizes, including a Leverhulme Scholarship, a Winston Churchill Fellowship and the Ivan Sutton Recording Prize – the latter awarded to the one outstanding graduate of the combined London Music Colleges. He later studied in Italy with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini.

Mark’s programming demonstrates a commitment to the music of our time and he regularly includes contemporary composers as diverse as Takemitsu, Julian Anderson, John McCabe, David Matthews, Pierre Boulez and Elliot Carter in his recital series.

Projects for 2015/16 include continuing releases for the Somm label of both twentieth-century British piano music and further concerto recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, appearances in major concert series and festivals both in the UK and throughout Europe (including a debut at the Husum “Piano Rarities” Festival in Germany and the Grand Theatre – Opera National de Bordeaux as part of the Bordeaux International Festival).

About Christopher Wilkins


CHRISTOPHER WILKINS serves as Music Director of the Akron Symphony and Boston’s Landmarks Orchestra, which performs in Boston’s neighborhoods and on the Esplanade during the summer season.

As a guest conductor, Mr. Wilkins has appeared with many of the leading orchestras of the United States, including those of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. He has also appeared overseas, with numerous concerts in the UK, New Zealand, Spain, and throughout Latin America.

He has served as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic, the San Antonio Symphony and the Colorado Springs Symphony, and was Artistic Advisor to the Opera Theatre of the Rockies in Colorado Springs. In San Antonio, he and the orchestra received six programming awards from ASCAP, including the first-ever Morton Gould Award for creative programming. He also served as resident conductor of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, helping in the formation of that orchestra in its inaugural season, and leading it on tours throughout the Americas.

Mr. Wilkins was winner of the Seaver/NEA Award in 1992. He has served as associate conductor of the Utah Symphony, assisting Joseph Silverstein; assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi; conducting assistant with the Oregon Symphony under James DePreist; and was a conducting fellow at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.

Born in Boston, Mr. Wilkins earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1978. He studied with Otto-Werner Mueller at Yale University, receiving his master of music degree in 1981, and in 1980 attended the Hochschule der Künste in West Berlin, as a recipient of the John Knowles Paine traveling fellowship, awarded by the Harvard music department. As an oboist, he performed with many ensembles in the Boston area, including the Berkshire Music Center Orchestra at Tanglewood, and the Boston Philharmonic under Benjamin Zander.