2020! How will we all remember that year? The year when everything stopped. The year we were in and out of Lockdowns. The year when everyone decided that baking their own bread was the only way to get through. The highs and lows of home-schooling. When conversations with friends were carried out on doorsteps, at a minimum distance of 2m…..

For the Callia Quartet, it was a year of development, and although a time of unpredictability, they used this period to prepare for the plans which they had set out for 2021.

In February 2020, they performed the premiere of Thomas Hewitt Jones’ Divertimento. A 5-movement piece, written to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chamber Players summer school, which 2nd violinist Lucy Melvin runs in Sydenham. They were able to give two performances of this piece before Lockdown. All subsequent performances were either postponed or cancelled, but their focus remained on the next part of the project.

They had always hoped that Divertimento would be the first of three commissions, and so the time during the Lockdown periods was used to fundraise for the next 2 pieces. This fundraising was successful and current restrictions allowing, on February 27th 2021 they will perform the premiere of Introduction and Allegro at All Saints, West Dulwich.

When the concert was first planned, London had just entered Tier 2. Audiences were still permitted to attend concerts, and able to book seats within their own bubble. All Saints is a very well ventilated venue, and the seats are very well spaced out. They felt confident that within this Tier, audiences could be welcomed back safely to what would be the first live concert in this venue since mid-March 2020. However, London moved through the Tiers, and is currently now in Tier 4. Whilst in this tier, audiences won’t be permitted to hear the concert in person, but the concert will be recorded, and streamed 5 days later on Thursday 4th March. This means that they will be able to bring the premiere performance of Introduction and Allegro by Thomas Hewitt Jones to you, wherever you may be.

The piece is written for string quartet and oboe. The Callia Quartet is collaborating with oboist James Turnbull for this piece. James is a long-standing friend of members of the quartet, and one of the foremost performers of contemporary music for the oboe. This piece is very reflective of the period which we have all been through. It starts with a brooding and intense introduction, followed by an uplifting Allegro, as we emerge back into a world where live music and performances can take place again.

Included in the programme are two much more classical works. Mozart’s oboe quartet, and Sibelius’ string quartet no. 1. Both are very youthful and joyful works, and again, express the quartet’s own joy at being able to perform together again.

All details about this concert can be found at www.calliaquartet.co.uk/shows/ and www.calliaquartet.co.uk/news tickets can be purchased at www.ticketsource.co.uk/callia-quartet/

All information is correct at the time of going to print.

This article first appeared in the February issue of SE21 Magazine.