Press Release

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SIXTEEN NOCTURNES AND A LANTERN

William Howard, piano

Catalogue Number: ORC100300

Release Date: May 17th

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Building on the successes of previous recordings on Orchid Classics, amassing streams of over seven million plays across three previous albums, “Sixteen Nocturnes and a Lantern” promises audiences a compelling blend of timeless classics and contemporary gems, further solidifying William Howard’s standing as a luminary in the world of piano performance.

SIXTEEN NOCTURNES AND A LANTERN

Clara Schumann (1819 – 1896)
1. Soirées musicales, Op. 6: II. Notturno

Maria Szymanowska (1789 – 1831)
2. Nocturne in B-Flat Major

Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849)
3. Nocturne in E-Flat Major, Op. 9 No. 2, B. 54

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805 – 1847)
4. Notturno in G Minor, H-U 337

Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)
5. Nocturne No. 4 in E-Flat Major, Op. 36

Cécile Chaminade (1857 – 1944)
6. Nocturne in B Major, Op. 165

Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
7. 8 Nocturnes, FP 56: No. 4 in C Minor, “Bal fantôme”

Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907)
8. Lyric Pieces, Op. 54: No. 4, Notturno

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)
9. 6 Morceaux, Op. 19, TH 133: No. 4, Nocturne

Amy Beach (1867 – 1944)
10. Nocturne, Op. 107

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943)
11. 7 Morceaux de salon, Op. 10: No. 1, Nocturne

Alexander Borodin (1833 – 1887)
12. Petite Suite: VII. Nocturne

Giuseppe Martucci (1856 – 1909)
13. 2 Nocturnes, Op. 70: No. 1 in G-Flat Major

Ottorino Respighi (1879 – 1936)
14. 6 Pieces for Piano, P. 044: No. 3, Notturno

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860 – 1941)
15. Miscellanea, Op. 16: No. 4, Nocturne

John Field (1782 – 1837)
16. Nocturne in B-Flat Major, H 37

Howard Skempton (1947 – )
17. Lantern

William Howard’s upcoming album, “Sixteen Nocturnes and a Lantern,” brings listeners a rich tapestry of piano masterpieces. The carefully curated selection traverses genres and eras, from Clara Schumann’s timeless elegance to the contemporary allure of Howard Skempton’s “Lantern” (2023). As one of Britain’s preeminent pianists, Howard’s solo career, marked by performances at prestigious festivals and renowned venues such as Wigmore Hall, has been augmented by his central role with the Schubert Ensemble, one of the country’s most successful chamber groups. A recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Best Chamber Ensemble, Howard’s collaborative and educational contributions have left an enduring impact.

His dedication to the repertoire of the mid-to-late 19th-century, demonstrated in his passion for Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Fauré, resonates throughout this album. Notably, his exploration of Czech piano music, celebrated with a medal from the Czech Minister of Culture in 1986, adds a distinctive flavour. Beyond interpreting established works, Howard actively engages with contemporary compositions, evident in his collaboration with Skempton and the initiation of an international composing competition. With a track record of over 100 premieres, Howard continues to champion new voices.

Building on the successes of previous recordings on Orchid Classics, amassing streams of over seven million plays across three previous albums, “Sixteen Nocturnes and a Lantern” promises audiences a compelling blend of timeless classics and contemporary gems, further solidifying William Howard’s standing as a luminary in the world of piano performance.

William Howard is one of Britain’s leading pianists, enjoying a career that has taken him to over 40 different countries. His performing life consists of solo recitals, concerto performances, guest appearances with chamber ensembles and instrumentalists. In 1983 he founded the Schubert Ensemble, with which he performed for the full 35 years of the Ensemble’s existence (it gave its final concert in June 2018). Winner of the 1998 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Best Chamber Ensemble, the Schubert Ensemble earned a worldwide reputation as one of the finest piano and string ensembles, as well as setting up several ground-breaking educational projects and commissioning 50 concert works.

​His solo career has taken him to many of Britain’s most important festivals, including Bath, Brighton and Cheltenham, and he has been artist in residence at several others. He has performed many times in the Wigmore Hall and the South Bank in London and has broadcast regularly for BBC Radio 3. For many years he coached chamber music at Birmingham Conservatoire and performed and taught at the Dartington International Summer School.

​As soloist and chamber musician he can be heard on over 40 CDs, released by Chandos, Hyperion, ASV, NMC, Collins Classics, Black Box, Champs Hill, Nimbus, Delphian and Orchid Classics. His recording of Fibich’s Moods, Impressions and Souvenirs won a Diapason D’Or award in France and his 2011 recording of Pavel Zemek Novák’s extraordinary 75-minute cycle of 24 Preludes and Fugues, described by David Matthews as “one of the finest piano works of our time”, received a double five-star review in the BBC Music Magazine. Three recent recordings for Orchid Classics (Sixteen Romantic Love Songs, Sixteen Contemporary Love Songs and an album of piano works by Howard Skempton), have been hugely successful on streaming platforms and have enjoyed much critical acclaim.

​He is passionate about 19th century piano repertoire, especially Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Fauré. He also has a strong interest in Czech piano music and has been particularly acclaimed for his performance of Janáček, for which he received a medal from the Czech Minister of Culture in 1986. Throughout his professional life he has been active in commissioning new works and has taken part in over 100 premieres. He has enjoyed collaborations over several decades with many composers, including David Matthews, Pavel Zemek Novák, Howard Skempton and Judith Weir, who composed his first solo commission, The Art of Touching the Keyboard, in 1983. In 2016 he launched a project to commission love songs for solo piano from leading composers in the UK and abroad. He also set up an international composing competition for writing piano love songs that attracted over 500 entries from 61 countries.

​Recent engagements have included recitals in Italy, Luxembourg and the UK and performances with the Carducci and Sacconi String Quartets and Quatuor Mona.

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