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It's virtual concert season!

Violinist John Garner sitting on a park bench with his violin in his hands

Drumroll please...!!! We have launched a season of virtual concerts by local musicians to support the North East’s music community while live gigs are not possible.

As many are already aware, The Lit & Phil is not just one of Newcastle’s busiest cultural venues, it is also a cornerstone in the city’s jazz and classical music scene – normally presenting at least two concerts a month and hosting the biggest collection of music (recordings, scores and books) in the North. 

This autumn the Society presented five specially produced concerts by some of the regions’ most talented professional musicians who have all been Lit & Phil favourites over the years. They reflect the eclectic range of musical styles for which the Lit & Phil is famed. Audiences can delight in offerings from baroque cello and violin duo Miriam Nohl & Marguerite Wassermann, jazz piano/sax duo Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson, classical violinist John Garner and a player of historic keyboards John Treherne MBE.  The series culminates with a suitably special finale concert by two extraordinary local pianists, Alison Gill & Yoshie Kawamura playing Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals and Faurè’s Dolly Suite.

Each concert lasts about thirty minutes and all are freely available to watch on the Lit & Phil’s YouTube channel. Watch here

The virtual concert initiative has kindly been financed by one of the Society’s loyal members.  Like so many in the cultural sector, The Lit & Phil is suffering financially due to the pandemic as its daily revenue streams have dried up.

Lit & Phil Music Librarian, James Smith, said:  “Music has been an important part of the Lit & Phil for much of its two hundred year history and we know how much our concerts are enjoyed. Although we can’t currently present them live in our beautiful building, we can offer the next best thing by bringing the music virtually into people’s homes.  In fact, once upon time, music making was something that largely took place in the home - going to a venue didn’t happen until the 18th century.  So in a way, this situation has taken us back to our roots!”  

Lit & Phil Trustee and professional musician, Andrew Harvey, said: “Above all, we think it’s important to reconnect musicians with their audiences. The artists are missing the performances just as much as the audiences are missing them.  We feel we are in a unique position to be able to help remedy this as best we can until the world situation goes back to normal.  There is no doubt that this is domestic music making at its very best with some wonderful music and musicians playing just for you in your home.”

Although the concerts are free, viewers are encouraged to make a donation to the musicians, or to the Society if they prefer, to enable them to continue the programme beyond October.

There are lots of ways to support the Lit & Phil and help ensure the beautiful old Library continues to inspire minds, stimulate imaginations and confer a wealth of knowledge to young and old alike for years to come – whether by becoming a Member, sponsoring a book or simply making a donation. Visit for details.

All the concerts are now available by clicking on the links

Concert #1 Baroque:
Miriam Nohl & Marguerite Wassermann 

The oldest music of the series with 17th and 18th century composers Bach and Corelli played on baroque cello and violin by two expert and experienced players of the baroque repertoire.
Watch here

Concert #2 Contemporary Jazz:
Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson                               

All original 21st century contemporary jazz written and played by local legends of the genre Paul Edis and Graeme Wilson on keyboard and sax.
Watch here

Concert #3 Early keyboards:
John Treherne MBE                        

An intimate invitation into the music room of performer, composer and educator John Treherne for some insights into his Clementi square piano, followed by pieces that would have been written for that instrument by Mozart, Haydn and Clementi himself.
Watch here  

Concert #4 Violin:
John Garner

Violinist John Garner, the presenter of the fourth concert is one of those musicians who is hard to pigeonhole. He plays the violin, but one time it could be Bach, another jazz, another South Indian music. For this concert he adds a new violin part to some of his own tracks.
Watch here

Concert #5 Piano Duet:
Alison Gill & Yoshie Kawamura

Finally, a real treat. The piano duet is domestic making par excellence, and Alison Gill and Yoshie Kawamura play two much loved favourites, The Carnival of the Animals and Faurés Dolly Suite with warmth and enjoyment.
Watch here

Top image: John Garner     


About the author

Marianne Abbott

Marianne is Marketing Officer at the Lit & Phil.

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