'Yes, yes, we will have a Pianoforte as good a one as can be got for 30 Guineas - & I will practise country dances that we may have some amusement for our nephew & nieces, when we have the pleasure of their company.'
-Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 27 December 1808
The pieces for this concert, performed by Amanda Pitt (soprano) and David Owen Norris (piano) will be drawn from seventeen music albums that belonged to Jane Austen and her female relations. Eight of the albums are held by the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, and are well known. The remaining nine, in private ownership, have recently been deposited in Chawton House Library, where this concert will take place. Research of the entire collection led by Professor Jeanice Brooks of the University of Southampton has yielded new insights into the Austen family's musical life.
Amanda Pitt performs a wide range of repertoire from opera to contemporary music. She has sung at many of the major London venues and around the world, giving several world premieres. Her recordings include music by Elgar, Quilter and music from Jane Austen's family collection. Amanda has had many successful collaborations with the pianist David Owen Norris. A Sunday Times review of a recital using Clara Schumann’s piano said “…Pitt put [Frauenliebe und leben] across with simplicity and conviction, her husky vibrato a natural throb of passion.”
David Owen Norris is a pianist, broadcaster and composer. The first winner of the Gilmore Artist Award, he has played concertos across North America, Australia and Europe, including several appearances in the BBC Proms. His unusually varied career has seen him as a repetiteur at the Royal Opera House, harpist at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Artistic Director of the Petworth Festival & the Cardiff International Festival, Gresham Professor of Music, and Chairman of the Steans Institute for Singers at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. He’s a Professor at Southampton University and an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford.
During the daytime, prior to this concert, there will be a day of workshops and talks at both Chawton House Library and the Jane Austen House Museum. A Day + Concert Package is available for £75; Students / Friends £55.