The dynamic Bezuidenhout has devised a programme that includes juvenilia and works from Mozart's fertile and successful time in Vienna in the 1780s. Symphony No. 1 was written in London in 1764, during the Mozart family's Grand Tour of Europe. The Piano Concertos Nos. 11 and 12, written in 1782, are from Mozart's early Vienna period, followed just a few years later by the brooding Fantasia in C minor for solo keyboard, K 475, and the evergreen Serenade in G, "Eine kleine Nachtmusik".
The South African keyboard player has earned critical plaudits for his performances and recordings of Mozart's music, most recently for a New Year's Day concert at King's Place in London, at which he was "the star of the concert", according to The Sunday Telegraph, who continued, "His freewheeling musical imagination ensured that everything sounded freshly minted". Praising Bezuidenhout's ongoing recorded survey of Mozart's music for solo keyboard for Harmonia Mundi - which led with the C minor Fantasia as the opening track of Volume 1 - The Sunday Times called him "a prince of the fortepiano, making it sing in melodic phrases as no other practitioner of this intractable instrument has done in my experience."
The English Concert returns to the Wigmore on 4 April with the astonishing Swiss recorder player Maurice Steger who will perform a selection of concertos from his recording Mr. Corelli in London, on Harmonia Mundi. On stage as on record, Steger is accompanied by The English Concert conducted by Laurence Cummings. The inventive programme places works by Corelli's 18th-century English devotees alongside Italian "cover versions" of the composer's works, including Geminiani's re-workings of Chaconne upon a Sarabande and the Concerto Grosso "La Folia". Reviewing the recording, The Independent on Sunday called Steger's performance "thrilling ... dazzlingly embellished yet pure and true of tone. The English Concert match Steger's élan, with glorious solos from the ensemble." The Wigmore concert takes place in the midst of a European tour with Cummings and The English Concert, which also takes them to Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
The English Concert began a new era in 2007 with the appointment of Harry Bicket, a conductor of exceptional range and broad musical sympathies. This season, in addition to conducting the orchestra at the Barbican, Wigmore, Cadogan Hall and the Spitalfields Festival, Bicket takes the orchestra on tour to eight countries. The English Concert's 2010-11 illustrious guest artist roster includes tenor Ian Bostridge, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, contralto Sara Mingardo, and violinist Rachel Podger, in addition to Bezuidenhout, Cummings and Steger.
The English Concert was founded in 1973 by Trevor Pinnock and is among the world's finest chamber orchestras, combining sheer joy in music-making with technical brilliance that makes their performances and recordings benchmarks of excellence.