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Life’s memories to The Music of the Orchestra of St John’s Conducted by John Lubbock

Friday 27 March 2015

1 Hour


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£12 - £25

Ticket price

One of America’s most decorated artists Jessye Norman tells how she travelled from childhood in the segregated south to performing great operatic roles on the world’s biggest stages, to the music of the Orchestra of St John.  Norman will talk about her life and will select pieces of music that have a special meaning for her. Her selections will be performed by the outstanding Orchestra of St John’s, conducted by John Lubbock.

Norman, who is flying in from the US to be at the festival, is one of the world’s most admired singers, but her own life story has also turned her into an American icon. Raised in a tight-knit community centred around the church, she recalls the important role played by her parents and the strong women in her life. Norman describes how she came face-to-face with racism not only in childhood but also as an adult out and about in the world. She is particularly known for the Wagnerian repertoire and for playing the roles of Ariadne, Alceste, and Leonore.

Norman has won five Grammy awards and has been asked to sing on many major occasions in both the US and Europe, including the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the opening of the Atlanta Olympic Games, the inaugurations of Presidents Reagan and Clinton, the 60th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, and the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.  In 2003, she founded the Jessye Norman School of the Arts for disadvantaged children in her home city of Augusta, Georgia. President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts in 2010.

The Orchestra of St John’s was founded by Lubbock. Its aim is to bring together outstanding musicians who share an ethos of bringing music to people of all ages and from all walks of life. It has performed with world-famous soloists such as Dame Felicity Lott, Sir James Galway, Yuri Bashmet, Tasmin Little and Stephen Isserlis. Alongside its public performances, the orchestra gives around 40 concerts a year to autistic children and others with learning difficulties through the charity, Music for Autism, founded by Lubbock following the birth of his own autistic son.

This event lasts one hour 40 minutes including a 20-minute break.

Sponsored by The Oxford Times.