Celebrating Tim Reynish’s 80th with The Philharmonic Winds

Maestro Tim Reynish is in Singapore once again to conduct The Philharmonic Winds in a concert that celebrates his 80th birthday.

“It’s great that Tim, our principal guest conductor, has accepted our invitation to hold a concert in Singapore for his birthday. Besides Singapore, he also held a concert in Spain and will be going to Tokyo for a concert next week. It just goes to show how much people respect his art that he is invited to conduct in countries whose main language is not even English,” said Adrian Cheong, president of The Philharmonic Winds (Philwinds).

Sharing a strong relationship with the orchestra, both social and musically, Maestro Tim has chosen a repertoire for the musicians, consisting of wind band music at its finest.

“The Philharmonic Winds holds a special place for me as an orchestra which always tries to program significant music, not music merely for entertainment or ceremonial. Several of the players have visited me in UK, and we have kept in close touch over the years. We share the same beliefs that the wind orchestra can be the vehicle for musical emotion on a par with orchestral, chamber or choral music.”

With a bold concert theme titled ‘The Maestro. The Men. The Music‘, the six composers are the men that Tim has chosen to feature in this special concert.

In Sunday’s concert, Tim has programmed ‘Symphony for William’ by the late Derek Bourgeois, ‘Illyrian Dances’ by the late Guy Woolfenden, ‘Bohemian Revelry’ by Adam Gorb, and ‘Masque’ by Kenneth Hesketh.

“Bourgeois and Woolfenden were two of my oldest friends from National Youth Orchestra and Cambridge days. Besides begin two of the earliest composers to respond to my commission for a wind orchestra work back in the eighties, they both continued writing fine works for the medium, and both sadly died in the past two years, leaving extensive catalogues of music. Gorb and Hesketh are two younger composers who have followed Bourgeois and Woolfenden in their enthusiasm for wind.”

Philwinds will also be performing “As Time Is Passing” by Japanese composer Yasuhide Ito, featuring a festive choir directed by Dr Goh Toh Chai, and Spanish composer Luis Serrano Alarcón‘s new work, ‘Tim – A British Pasodoble’, which were both written as gifts for Maestro Timothy himself.

“Finally Alarcon and Ito have emerged, along with Hesketh and Gorb, as being among the finest writers for wind of today. All four challenge the players and audience with music which is rooted in tradition but which has so many ingenuities of phrasing, melody, harmony and scoring, and all four treat the wind orchestra as a huge chamber ensemble, with interesting parts for everyone.

Their music is rarely commercial, usually avoids falling into cliches, and never imitates the film scoring so prevalent in wind music. Hesketh and Gorb wrote fine works for my 75th birthday, and I am delighted to have the works to add to the catalogue from Spain and Japan.”

What also makes the concert special is that each of the composers write music that speaks to Tim, and he has been a big proponent of their music.

“Tim has always been known to be a big supporter of good music by British composers. Bourgeois, Woolfenden, Gorb and Hesketh are some of the best there was, is and ever will be. Bourgeois and Woolfenden, in particular, were close friends with Tim and it’s through the concert that we pay tribute to these two great composers.

But besides flying the British flag, Tim has also supported talents regardless of where they come from. Alarcón (whom Philwinds would not have known of without Tim) and Ito are just two examples of composers from other countries that Tim has worked with closely over the years, and we are glad that Philwinds counts these two conductor-composers as our close friends too,” Adrian raised.

As Tim reflected on his careers as a musician and a conductor, he recalled some of his most memorable occasions that have been special.

“I have been very lucky to have a mix of careers.

As a player, I especially remember playing Le Sacre in Paris with the Bejart Ballet, Mozart, Wagner and Strauss at Sadlers Wells Opera under Colin Davies, and numerous performances as co-principal horn at the City of Birmingham, notably Mahler 5 with Dorati, Bruckner 7 with Horenstein.

As a wind conductor, conducting the Royal Northern College of Music in a BBC Prom back in 1991, and concerts at Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals, and a host of world premieres of works I had commissioned, by Richard Rodney Bennett, Thea Musgrave, Edward Roxburgh, Bourgeois, Woolfenden, Gorb and Hesketh, and many others.

Conducting Philwinds at the Certamen in Valencia was a huge thrill, and again at WASBE in Taiwan, and then in USA conducting the President’s Own and the US Coast Guard Band. More recently, conducting two groups in Spain and Japan, trained and conducted by my good friends Luis Serrano Alarcón and Yasuhide Ito. There are too many wonderful experiences conducting opera and orchestras to mention, Mahler 4, 5, 6 and 7, all of the Brahms Symphonies, Strauss, Stravinsky, and operas by Mozart, Puccini and Britten.”

As a name that has been a part of The Philharmonic Winds since 2004, Tim Reynish has been pivotal to the success of Philwinds today.

“After he guest conducted us in 2004, 2008 and our 10th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2010, he travelled with us to Taiwan when we represented Singapore at the 15th World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) conference in 2011, and led us in 2013 at the 127th Certamen Internacional de Bandas de Musica – Ciudad de Valencia (the International Wind Band Contest “City of Valencia”) in Spain.

We then met at the Hong Kong International Band Fair in 2014, and then again when Tim, together with our own Music Director Leonard Tan and Spanish conductor Luis Serrano Alarcón, conducted the world premiere of Marco Polo – The Trilogy as our 15th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2015, which was selected by The Straits Times as one of the best classical music concerts for the year.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have the chance to make music with Tim would know that he is a world class musicians who has an amazing ability to bring out the best in any music. With great musical knowledge at this fingertips, every rehearsal with him seems like a masterclass, because there is always something to learn,” Adrian recalled.

Tim hopes that this concert will not be the last as he hopes to return to Singapore again to conduct the Philharmonic Winds in the near future.

“I certainly hope to be back, because Singapore is unique, and Philwinds is a very special group, with many very good friends who are excellent musicians. I think you should ask the Philwinds management after this concert. They might give me my pension papers.”

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