Soloist takes life lessons from competition success

Russian-born pianist Sofya Gulyak

Russian-born pianist Sofya Gulyak

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FOLLOWING Sofya Gulyak’s Rachmaninov this Friday, the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus bring the curtain down both on their 75th anniversary season and the present Sheffield International Concert Season at the City Hall.

FOLLOWING Sofya Gulyak’s Rachmaninov this Friday, the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus bring the curtain down both on their 75th anniversary season and the present Sheffield International Concert Season at the City Hall.

Helping them in the joint process will be the Hallé and their patron since 2008, actor and former Sheffield Theatres’ artistic director Samuel West who, although best known for his numerous TV, film, stage and radio work, is also a keen choral singer when time allows – not the mention, kazoo player!

Chorally, for instance, as a member of the Choir of London he toured to Jerusalem and the West Bank in May 2006 and, in April 2007, again joined them on their tour of Palestine and directed Mozart’s Magic Flute, while as late as last December, he was singing in Handel’s Messiah in Downshire Hill.

He will not, however, be singing with the Phil this Friday when he falls back on his day job to declaim speeches by various characters in Shakespeare’s Henry V in Christopher Palmer’s arrangement of William Walton’s music for Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film of the Bard’s play.

It doesn’t include a kazoo part so Sam won’t have listen to a Hallé musician playing the instrument he revealed his expertise on at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year in the Big Red Nose Celebrity Kazoo Band!

The concert begins with the overture to one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s 15 operas, the second one, May Night, completed in 1879. Rimsky’s operas are rarely heard, let alone known in the West, except maybe the last one, The Golden Cockerel, which is a pity because just about all them are worthwhile pieces with a great deal of fine music in them – Sadko is a prime example.

The problem, perhaps, is their nationalistic, folk plotlines.