Archive for April, 2008

An Evening with Gershwin and friends

A concert at Sunderland Minster, featuring a more contemporary programme, in association with the Bishopwearmouth Young Singers and the Virtuoso Jazz Trio.

The programme for this concert will include arrangements of Gershwin songs, a Jerome Kern medley and a sequence of Carpenter numbers. A special feature of the programme will be the contribution provided by the Virtuoso Jazz Trio – which will all make for a very memorable evening.

The Virtuoso Jazz Trio, comprised of George MacDonald – Clarinet, James Birkett – Guitar, and  Peter Stuart – Double Bass, was formed in 1994 when George MacDonald invited James Birkett to come around and ‘play some tunes’. Realising that they were on the same wavelength they then asked Peter Stuart to join them. Their first engagement was at the Northern Sinfonia centre in Newcastle, where they played to a packed house. An enthusiastic audience spread the word and a variety of concert and festival engagements have followed with requests for music from Bach to ‘Bird’ (alias Charlie Parker).

George MacDonald spent his youth playing saxophone and clarinet in clubs with dance bands in his native Nova Scotia. At the age of 18 he became interested in classical music and went on to study at the Royal College of Music. He joined the Northern Sinfonia as principal clarinet a few years later, relinquishing that post in 1992.

James Birkett in one of this country’s most acclaimed guitarists. He is director of jazz studies a Newcastle College, has a Doctorate in music and has had two books on jazz guitar published. James plays with a variety of jazz ensembles, regularly undertaking concert, festival and broadcast work.

Peter Stuart, being the North’s leading jazz bass player, is always in demand when a rhythm section is needed to back the best American musicians. He has lived and worked in South Africa, Switzerland and Holland and is on the staff at Newcastle College.

We look forward to seeing you there.