Upcoming Concerts

May

11th, Thursday, 12:30pm, St.John's Church, Harrow, London

20th, Saturday, 7:30pm, St.John the Evangelist Church, Burgess Hill, West Sussex

June

13th, Tuesday, 12:30pm, King's Lynn Minster, Norfolk



Charlotte's Concert Journal - Click Here

     




New CD Release

Charlotte Rowan is excited to announce the release of her new album 'Violinista'. A collection of stylish works revealing the beauty and virtuosic spirit of the violin it includes pieces by Wieniawski, Sarasate, Debussy, Granados and Bazzini.

Click here to buy and for more details.


YouTube Videos


Lotus Land - Cyril Scott arr. Kreisler

Carmen Fantasy - Sarasate

Chaconne in G minor - Vitali

Click to view


Reviews


Violinist Captivates Bluecoat Audience

Concert Series: Charlotte Rowan, violin and Charlotte Stevenson, piano at the Old Bluecoat school, Thatcham, Sunday October 2nd

Newbury Weekly News, October 13th, Derek Ansell

" Beginning with Wieniawski's 'Polonaise de Concert', Charlotte produced crisp, bold strokes from the start and vivid tone colours. The purity of sound from her instrument was remarkable indeed, but allied to that was a technique that was breathtaking. Glazunov's Meditation is a romantic melody, here played with warmth and considerable precision. Polish Caprice and Oberek by Grazyna Bacwicz required Charlotte to engage in some rapid bowing and fingering which, no surprise by now, rattled off all passages here with brio.

Her great skill and sensitivity were further demonstrated with Six Roumanian Folk Dances by Bartok, a sensuous 'Lotus Land' by Cyrill Scott, 'Chaconne' by Vitali, Boulanger's 'Nocturne' and a rousing 'Carmen Fantasy' by Sarasate.

It was arguably one of the finest virtuoso performances ever given at the Bluecoat building, as Chairman Clive Williams pointed out at the end of the recital.

Charlotte Rowan is a considerable talent and her playing was enhanced on this occasion by the sympathetic, unobtrusive accompaniment supplied by Charlotte Stevenson at the piano. "


Sidney Sussex Music Society, October 2015

" Charlotte Rowan is a violinist who combines a thrilling virtuoso ability with a profound and emotive approach to the music. The audience were treated to a spellbinding programme of challenging works from Liszt, Kreisler and Wieniawski, the fingers of both soloist and accompanist dancing rapidly around the entire range of their instruments. Charlotte's technical proficiency has not compromised her emotional integrity, as works such as Elgar’s Salut d’Amour brimmed with passion, making for a hugely enjoyable concert for all present."

William Searle, President, Sidney Sussex Music Society, Cambridge

 

Concert Journal

March 2017

Lovely concert today performing for Bristol University at the Victoria Rooms Auditorium. What a stunning venue with its glorious 8-columned portico and fountains with Art Niveau sculptures. My programme traced a lineage of violin repertoire from the virtuosic grandeur of Wieniawski to South American vibes of Milhaud, Soviet melancholy of Shostakovich, a bit of Baroque and a snappy display of Bacewicz. Wonderful to see such a variety in the audience too from music students to discerning concert go-ers and their warm and enthusiastic response was really appreciated by both Charlotte and myself.

Having never visited Bristol before, it was great to have a little time to spare after the concert to wander round and admire the wonderful architecture such as the towering steeple of St. Mary Redcliffe and take time to enjoy the sunshine on College Green in front of the regal City Hall and have a cappuccino watching barges sail past on the River Avon.

Last month, I enjoyed travelling up to Manchester where I had a couple of concerts in Bury and at Manchester Cathedral. One of the things I love about performing is the chance (and privilege) to bring the violin repertoire to new audiences. Great recital pieces that were championed by the likes of Heifetz, Oistrakh, Szeryng etc. need not be confined to the great concert halls of the past or to DG recording archives but should remain to have relevance on today's musical stage. To me, these pieces are the voice of the violin - they speak to the heart and can bring meaning to anyone.

I continue to be delightfully busy with my teaching work and am very thankful that at all of my schools, I also have the opportunity to coach various ensembles. When I was a pupil at Dollar Academy, the highlight of every week were the various chamber ensembles that I became involved in - piano trios, quartets and duos. To me there was never any contest between sacrificing a relaxing lunch hour in order to have rehearsals, not forgetting the occasional thrill of getting to miss an entire day of school to take part in a concert or competition. I will always remember the fury of my PE teacher when, at my music teacher's insistence, I managed to extricate myself from running in a rather gruesome Cross Country Championship in order to attend an extra, definitely unmissable rehearsal.

I always felt that playing to my teachers in lessons was only half the story. The real fun began when you took the music out of the practice room and shared it with people. Certainly in concerts but also, playing together with peers in ensembles. I was never much of a team player in sports (in fact, not much of any sort of player in any sport) but by working together in ensembles I was able to learn team work of a different kind - the skills of organisation, co-operation and dedication but also the satisfaction of bringing separate musical cogs together and synchronising them to make a communicative and cohesive performance.

As a teacher, it is immensely satisfying to bring students together and help them discover how much fun it is to play music together. With my less confident pupils, it is often feels a great achievement to even encourage them to play in front of anyone besides myself, never mind their classmates! Due to the busy nature of the school day, most of my rehearsals take place before academic classes, at 8am. At first, even I was weary of scheduling such an early start but I have to admit how amazed I have been at my student's dedication, reliability and enthusiasm to the success of their groups with many taking initiative to arrange extra rehearsals themselves (one group on a Saturday afternoon)! It is perhaps unusual to rehearse Mendelssohn's Piano Trio in D Minor at 8am with a group of teenagers on a drizzly January morning but as a musician and teacher, it is reward indeed to be able to share this with a new generation of students, see their pleasure and joy performing with their peers and gain deeper musical maturity.

And, in our current age of technology, with classical music no longer confined to the secluded corner of the Record Store, students can stream composers at a touch of a button. Last week one of my pupil's showed me her Spotify Playlist and, as I saw composers' names jumble with names of popular culture and appear alongside the music that is currently being rehearsed in lessons and ensembles I often remember that famous comment from Berg to Gershwin - 'Music is Music'. The merits of online music streaming is indeed a topic much debated and contested, yet if anything, it has surely blurred the definition of 'cool music.'

With the onset of school holidays I am off to Yorkshire at the start of April for a 3-day mini concert tour with performances at Ripon Cathedral, Boston Spa and Bridlington Priory. Can't wait!

December 2016

What a thrilling experience performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with Stirling Orchestra on Sunday night. It was certainly exhilarating to perform to a sold-out Albert Hall in Stirling. The orchestra has had much recent success as they were finalists in the BBC Great Orchestra Challenge so it was a real treat to perform with them. I grew up in Clackmannanshire and started learning the violin with a local teacher in Stirling so it was a wonderful opportunity to come back and perform near my hometown. In fact, the current orchestra's members include some pupils from my former school, Dollar Academy and even my old chemistry teacher who plays the trumpet. Small world indeed. I first played with the orchestra when I was 16 years old and performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with them. Nine years later it is wonderful to return and reflect on how much I have grown as a musician since then and marvel at all the adventures my violin and I have had.

Tchaikovsky's Concerto is one of my all time favourite works to play. It is a journey of emotion from such a simple, almost unassuming beginning to a blisteringly triumphant finale that is surely every violinist's dream to play. The Canzonetta which forms the second movement seems to convey in one single line a deep plea of yearning - tragic, desperate and full of pathos. The last movement - hundreds of notes, but what fun!

Many thanks to the orchestra and Stephen Broad, the conductor, for their energy, spirit and enthusiasm - it was a great team effort and I hope the audience and orchestra enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed playing it.

My last recital of the year was a couple of weeks ago in the Lake District at Yewfield Guest House near Hawkshead. I have spent many holidays in this area with my family - much of my childhood was also spent devouring Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, drawing treasure maps and reinventing myself as an Amazon pirate... Although I have yet to cast myself off to a deserted island in a sailing boat or walk the plank alla Captain Flint, it was lovely to revisit all these idyllic spots that formed the backdrop to Ransome's Books - Coniston Water, Scafell Pike, Ambleside and Windermere.

It was a really magical journey to the Lake District as it was snowing. Less magical perhaps was the perilous descent from Kirkstone Pass down the Struggle in freezing fog! But to see the valley hushed in a snowy aura with children sledging and numerous snowmen dotted about in various stages of construction, the water shimmering white reflecting the snowy tips of the hills, the dripping berries and the glistening icicles - that was breathtaking indeed! We had a couple of hours to spare so managed to squeeze in a visit to Hawkshead. By this time the temperature had plummeted to minus 5 so we had to take refuge in the Red Lion Pub. The marvellous steak pie we had for dinner here will certainly not be forgotten - Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry would have been proud indeed.

Now looking forward to spending Christmas with my family in Scotland - indulging in a bit of Nordic 'hygge', baking mince pies with my niece and nephew and ceilidh dancing to my Dad's Scottish Country Dance band. And of course, busy preparing for next season's concerts - Manchester, Bristol and a 3-day tour of Yorkshire. I can't wait!

October 2016

It was a great start to my Autumn series of concerts with a trip to Cheltenham to perform for Park House Concert Series. We were fortunate to have a morning free to stroll round Cheltenham - what wonderfully wide boulevards and building façades. Very regal and grand. The Fountain of Neptune designed by Joseph Hall is quite a spectacle and was modelled on the Trevi Fountain. Had coffee and croissants at an Italian café opposite. La Dolce Vita as they say in Rome!

There was also plenty to admire on our journey through the Cotswolds: peaceful rolling hills, twisting country lanes and honey-coloured cottages, all synonymous with this area. A rural idyll indeed. We had a lovely visit to Bourton-in-the Water, with its mini-Venice charm of bridges, canals and waterside cafés and also Moreton-in-the-Marsh. Every time I visit this area, I am reminded of a poem I once read by Edward Thomas (1878-1917 ) called 'Adelstrop'. The poet had been travelling on an express train from Oxford to Worcester when, all of a sudden, the train made an unexpected stop at Adelstrop, a deserted station. A brief excerpt of the poem is below...

"...No one left and No one came
On the bare platform.What I saw
Was Adelstrop

And willows, willow-herbs and grass
And meadwosweet and haycocks dry
No whit less still..."

The station has long since disappeared (as we later discovered after many zigzagging attempts down single-track roads to find it!) but the poem's appeal is enduring. Its success seems to lie in its uneventfulness and perhaps even more so in its typical British understated-ness, capturing a still image of the English countryside in a single, uninterrupted moment.

It always fascinates me to consider the parallels between poets, writers, artists and musicians who were working in a similar time period and with the poet Edward Thomas, I am often reminded of another Edward - composer Sir Edward Elgar. Both have associations with the Cotswold area and their lives deeply marked by the harrowing traumas of World War 1.

As Edward Elgar was born very near Cheltenham, (Broadheath near Worcester) I thought it perhaps apt to perform a work by him at my concert that weekend, namely his Violin Sonata written in 1918. Where Thomas' 'Adelstrop' captures the sunny innocence of pre-war Britain, Elgar's Violin Sonata unleashes the loss. For many, Elgar's music is associated with the imperial optimism of the late Victorian age. Yet beneath a grandiose exterior of his more public works, we can always hear the spiritual and intimate outpourings of a deeply sensitive musician.

We are aware of this in his Violin Sonata where he combines, almost paradoxically, feverish torment with a sublime delicacy and serenity. It begins with a violent sweep of fury yet these raging and passionate outpourings soon yield to an introverted mood of resignation. The second movement too, is mercurial, darting between capricious and poignant interludes. And in the finale, we alternate again between these moments of grief and hope. For me, the most enchanting part of the whole piece occurs just before the final coda - the fits of passion abruptly halt and we are greeted with a moment of hushed awe. Elgar had written the sonata for a family friend, Marie Joseph. Tragically, she died only days before he completed the sonata. In a tribute to her memory, he chooses to expand the moment of awe, revisiting an earlier theme and unleashes it to shine gloriously and draw the work to a triumphant conclusion.

It is always such a pleasure performing at Park House and really looking forward to returning to Cheltenham in August next year.

October 2015

What an exciting and music-filled summer! I have travelled across the UK from Edinburgh and Crail in Scotland to Brighton, London, Winchester and Yorkshire performing in beautiful settings to appreciative and attentive audiences. An exhilarating and inspiring musical journey.

The summer tour began with a return to Crail Festival in Fife, Scotland. I gave a concert here last summer and was delighted when the organisers invited me back. The venue is framed by the rolling waves of the Atlantic and a rugged East Fife coastline - both provide an inspiring backdrop. Many thanks to the everyone’s kind hospitality and enthusiasm. The post-concert highlight was of course visiting the famous fish and chip shop in Anstruther!
Edinburgh is buzzing during the Festival and it is always really exciting to be performing in the city at this time. St Mary's Cathedral with its austere expansiveness is a place that can provide escape from the city bustle. It was lovely to see my very first violin teacher, Jennifer Willmer as I started the violin with her at three and a half and she has always been very supportive. She showed me how exciting the violin can be and we have been good friends ever since my first lesson.  I shall not forget when I played the Shostakovich Preludes as this was accompanied by the sound of gunfire eerily echoing around the church. I was slightly alarmed before realising it was the canons being fired at Edinburgh Castle. Possibly, strangely reminiscent of the sounds Shostakovich heard in 1941 when he wrote the defiant Seventh Symphony during the Nazi invasion of Leningrad.

It is such a delight performing lunchtime concerts in London. When I performed at St Pancras Church in Euston the diverse audience included lost tourists, music-lovers, weary office-workers, commuters, builders etc. Lives not likely to meet again yet hopefully momentarily connected through a single experience of music. Such is the power of music to speak the language of all.

One of the great things about concerts is the chance and privilege to perform in some stunning architectural spaces of which, amongst England’s finest, surely must be Winchester Cathedral. It was exhilarating to play in front of 700 hundred people during the August season. Daunting also as within Vitali's 'Chaconne' my string broke, every violinist's nightmare!  Thankfully the audience treated the unexpected entertainment with great humour as I demonstrated my ability to change a string in under a minute.
Receiving a standing ovation is every violinist's dream and this happened at the end of my next concert in Brighton for St Luke's Music and Wine Society. There was a really wonderful rapport with the audience.

Another wonderful cathedral that I performed in a couple of weeks ago was at Ripon. Set in the intimate Quire, it was lovely to see a fabulous turn-out for performance. Afterwards, I got to spend some time in Yorkshire and visited the stunning RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Spectacular colours and textures being soaked up by the changing season and of course, just enough time to drop into the famous Yorkshire establishment - Betty's Tearoom and sample some 'Fat Rascals!' Delicious!

And finally, for the most exciting news of all… after a recording session at Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead in April and a long but rewarding journey of mastering, editing and manufacturing, my second album 'Violinista' has been released and is now available to buy. It is a collection of stylish works that reveal the beauty and virtuosic spirit of the violin and includes pieces by Wieniawski, Sarasate, Debussy, Granados and Bazzini.

For more details please click here.

Also available is a remastered version of my first album, ‘String Theory’ featuring works by JS Bach, Schubert, Brahms, Paganini and Bloch.
Audio samples are available on this website and I hope you enjoy listening to them.

Looking forward to my next season of concerts.

March 2015

The year got off to a busy start with a recital at King's Ely School for Ely Concert Society. I work as violin tutor and ensembles coach at the school so it was wonderful (if not slightly daunting!) to see so many colleagues, friends and most importantly my pupils who came along to support me. The children often hear snippets of my practice as they walk to and from their classes so I am sure they would appreciate finally hearing the snippets of practice evolve into entire works of music.

The morning after the Ely concert and, braving blizzard conditions, my accompanist Charlotte and I played to a delightful audience at St. Peter's Church, Belsize Park in London. It was lovely to have the chance to speak with everyone afterwards – I often find people have such amazing musical stories or backgrounds and it is always very interesting to hear them.

One of the many things I love about London is the fact that tucked away and almost buried beneath towering office blocks and sleek high-rises are churches of stunning architectural heritage. St. Bride's in Fleet Street is one such gem and it was a pleasure performing to such a diverse audience. Whether it be for the wearied office- worker, the lost tourist or the workman taking a break, I am always amazed at the diversity of the audience in these city churches where people from all walks of life can convene and, for 30 minutes or so, escape the regularity of their lives and just enjoy the music.

Manchester Cathedral in February - it was a grizzly grey morning for a concert but wow, what a super turn-out. Always great to play to a full-house. What was spectacular at the concert however, was the breathtaking display of cakes (I have an extremely sweet tooth and love baking so I was very excited about this!) which in my opinion, would have been worthy of the Great British Bake-Off. Many thanks to the organisers for their very kind hospitality. I think this has been the only concert where I had a roaring log fire in the green room - on a bitterly cold and drizzly morning, this was just lovely.

I have just returned from a concert last night in the Pump Room, Bath - what a stunning venue. With such elegance, charm and gemütlichkeit I could almost hear the echoes of Fritz Kreisler.
Dripping with opulent chandeliers and sumptuous decor this is reputedly a great place for afternoon tea and was equally wonderful as a concert venue.

I aim to always provide variety and scope in my programmes and last night, attempted to guide my audience on a journey from the sobriety of unaccompanied Bach, devilish Tartini to the fun, the fiery and sometimes furious fireworks of Sarasate, de Falla, Wieniawski and Bazzini. I also find it so exciting to incorporate more contemporary writers alongside the classic violin-composers and one of my current favourites is a female composer called Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969). She is one of a few European female composers to have achieved international recognition and for many years was the concertmistress of the Polish Radio Orchestra. Last evening I performed a really fun piece called Polish Caprice by her. It is full of party tricks - a violinist's delight!

The next project coming up is recording my new album which will feature some Romantic concert favourites. Really looking forward to it!

Finally, a quick update from my teaching. Big congratulations to the string quartet I coach at Perse School, Cambridge who were the winners of the ProCorda National Chamber Music Festival. They performed Ravel's String Quartet at Holywell Music Room in Oxford last night and will be participating in the Champions Concert later in the year. Well done to them!

August 2014

Hi everyone,
I have just returned from a very exciting, rewarding and successful Scottish tour. The tour started with a performance for Crail Festival which took place in the beautifully quaint harbour town of Crail on the East coast of Fife. With the backdrop of a beautiful sunset and breathtaking coastal views it was a magical setting for a concert. The team organising the concert were fabulous and wonderful to have a full-house. Many thanks for such a welcoming and enthusiastic audience.

My next concert took place in my home county of Clackmannanshire at Alloa Tower. This ancient fortress was built around 1400 and is cloaked in historical intrigue. I grew up in one of the neighbouring villages so the audience was full of old faces who have have followed and supported my musical career through the years. I even think that my first ever concert took place at Alloa Tower some 17 years ago. No matter how many times I perform at this venue, I am always struck by the very intimate environment that is created between audience and performer.

When I studied at the Peabody Conservatory, one of my American professors frequently told me the story of him singing in a choir at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, how stunning the acoustics and architecture were and how temperamental the Scottish weather could be. I would remember this story last Tuesday as my accompanist and I battled against the treacherous weather conditions to perform at the illustrious St Mary's. Yet despite the gale  raging outdoors, inside was serenely calm and a tranquil setting. The sound was indeed stunning and I was amazed that so many people braved the storm to attend. It is very exciting that I have been invited back to perform on their Evening Recital Series next year. More details to follow...

 

For more information please contact info@charlotterowan.com