The 2014/15 season saw Julia Jones in the orchestra pits of Oper Köln (Così fan tutte), Volksoper Vienna (Così fan tutte and Fidelio), Semperoper Dresden (Die Zauberflöte), and Theater Freiburg (Orlando). The English conductor is equally busy on the concert stage and while we await the new season, which she will open with a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Gelsenkirchen, we take this opportunity to look back on 2014/15 and to direct our attention to Julia’s orchestral concerts:
During October and November 2014, Julia toured the Netherlands and Belgium with the Nederlands Symfonieorkest, featuring a programme of Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Ter Veldhuis’ Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s Westside Story, and Zackery Wilson’s new work joySTICK.
Frits van der Waa, Volkskrant: “Briton Julia Jones presented not only polished performances, but also showed that she has great feeling for the (seemingly impossible to tackle) challenges with which Bernstein’s music bristles.”
In November, Julia performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations for Violoncello and Orchestra in A major (op. 33) with the Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg and soloist Denis Zhdanov. Also on the programme were Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, Mozart’s Symphony no. 4 in D major (KV 19), and Mendelssohn’s fourth Symphony, the “Italian”, in A major (op. 90).
Johannes Adam from the Badische Zeitung wrote: “Julia Jones’ [rendition of Mozart’s] Symphony in D major (KV19) ... was brimming over with liveliness and expressivity.”
Julia’s year 2015 began in Strasbourg with a programme entitled “A baguette étincelante”, made up of Mozart’s Alte Lambacher Sinfonie in G major, Strauss’ Burleske, Britten’s Young Apollo, and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. The orchestra was the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the piano soloist was Artur Pizarro.
The Mittelbadische Presse raved: “In Mozart’s “Alte Lambacher – Sinfonie” in G major KV45a ..., Jones’ extraordinary aptitude for interpreting musical works in their full depth became apparent. The fine-grained and extremely energetic conducting technique, with which she motivated the instrumentalists, ensured musical pleasures in a class of their own. Thus [she] brought out the first movement’s truly refreshing character. The Andante [was] gorgeous. The perfect balancing of the sections of the orchestra was convincing beyond any doubt. The final movement was perfection and rounded off this Mozartian experience of sound. ... [In Britten’s “Young Apollo”] piano and orchestra worked extremely well together tonally. This and the accentuated, crisp rhythms made the work really shine. The renowned conductor Julia Jones proved herself as masterful and elegant, and inspired all the instrumentalists to their best.”
Following the concerts in Strasbourg, Julia made her welcome return to Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal, with the Second Suite from Handel’s Water Music, Walton’s Violin Concerto (soloist: Konstantin Boyarsky), Haydn’s Symphony no. 96 in D major, and Bax’ Tintagel.
The great relationship between Julia and the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal showed once more in two stunning performances - and in the reviews:
“The smooth sobriety and zestful grip of Julia Jones work extremely well for [Handel’s Water Music]. She conducts the piece from memory and it makes a striking and festive opening. There is a gorgeous solo from the oboe, triumphant alternating entries from horns and trumpets, and regal splendour. The symphonic poem “Tintagel” by English composer Arnold Bax is also in good hands with Julia Jones; Bax wrote an overflowing, heaving piece with a lush soundworld, soulful sonority, and a great hymnic ending complete with concluding cymbal crash. She appears to be completely in her element and gets the most of the excellent orchestra she has been entrusted with.” (Dagmar Zschiesche, Der Westen)