Flute and Piano Recitals
In 1996 Karen joined forces with accompanist Martyn Williams, a freelance organist, composer, pianist and the then conductor of the Old Barn Orchestra of which Karen was and still is principal flute, to form a recital duo, giving their very first performance in the music room at Spilsill Court, Staplehurst to a small group of friends of the Old Barn Orchestra. This successful partnership continued until 2005, raising thousands of pounds for Demelza House Childrens’ Hospice, Friedreich’s Ataxia Society and several local churches in Kent and Surrey.
Karen’s accompanist from 2006 has been Bryan Gipps, a musician well known across Kent as conductor of the Sutton Valence Choral Society and as a freelance organist, violinist, viola player and pianist. He also sings in the choir at Rochester Cathedral, is a teacher of violin and piano and is the current conductor of the Old Barn Orchestra.
Probably the most popular regular recital given by Karen is the annual one in July at the beautiful Nettlestead Place. Other venues have included over ten appearances at the St George’s Centre in Chatham Maritime, the Gilt Room at Cobham Hall, Hall Place in Bexley, Owletts (NT) at Cobham, the Archbishop’s Palace at Maidstone, East Malling Research Station and numerous churches across Kent and into Surrey.
Karen and Bryan continue to raise money for the two main charities - Demelza Hospice and Friedreich’s Ataxia Society alongside concerts given in aid of individual churches or local charities.
Over the years Karen has continued to introduce her loyal followers and newcomers to new pieces in the flute repertoire and has invited several guest performers to join her at recitals. These have included former pupil and fellow flautist Elizabeth Mooney, as well as a cellist, a pianist and a clarinettist who performed a bass clarinet solo as well as a duet with Karen.
Karen particularly enjoys performing music of the French Flute School written around the end of the 19th century but always gives her audiences a varied diet of baroque, classical, romantic and modern pieces some of which have been challenging not just for the duo but for their listeners!
Karen has recently acquired an alto flute and has incorporated pieces written for this lower and hauntingly beautiful instrument in her recitals over the last two years, recently performing a piece written for it by Bryan’s aunt Ruth Gipps, an eminent composer in her day. Karen also plays piccolo which always goes down well as an encore.
The duo has a tremendously loyal following for which Karen is always immensely grateful and without whom the partnerships with Martyn Williams and Bryan Gipps respectively would not have been so successful.
The repertoire performed since 1996 includes: Poulenc’s Flute Sonata, sonatas by Handel, J.S.Bach, C.P.E.Bach, Loeillet, Telemann and Blavet; all three sonatas by Gaubert along with many of his other shorter works, The Tarentella for flute, clarinet and piano by Saint Saëns, Fauré’s Fantaisie and other works, Syrinx for solo flute by Debussy, Danse de la chevre by Honegger for solo flute, piccolo works by Vivaldi and Paul Koepke, the Sonata by York Bowen, Sonatinas by Lennox Berkeley, William Mathias and Martyn Williams, Sonatines by Dutilleux and Sancan, the Suite Antique by John Rutter, Le Merle Noir by Messiaen, Theme and variations by Chopin, Genin and Borne and many, many other works by Sichler,William Lloyd Webber, Binge, Bantock, Scott, Foster, Finzi, Gossec,Gluck, Godard, Elgar, Richard Rodney Bennett, Barber, Busser, Ganne, Boulanger, Saint Saens, and Taffanel.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and new pieces are being added to it every year.
Karen and Bryan would like to thank all those people who help to make their recitals happen and run smoothly. These include Keith and Marguerite Hart, Christine Pearson, Floral Times of Rainham, Frank Page Photographers, Staplehurst, Demelza Children’s’ Hospice, Mr and Mrs Roy Tucker of Nettlestead Place and Karen’s husband Colin who acts as behind the scenes concert manager! Without the help and support of these people and our loyal audiencenone of these recitals over the past 13 years would have been possible.
For regular updates on forthcoming recitals please email us via this website.
Educated at Chatham Grammar School for Girls, Karen gained a BA dual Honours Degree in Latin and Music from the University of Sheffield. In her final year she was awarded a Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music in Flute Teaching, and two years later she gained a postgraduate Certificate of Education from the University of Nottingham.
Since graduating Karen has taught the flute privately and in many local schools as a licensed Flute teacher within the London Borough of Bromley, Kent and Medway. She has performed as principal flautist and soloist with various local orchestras and, as a chamber music performer, she was a founder member of the successful wind quintet Queendown Ensemble and festival winning Flute Trio Quicksilver. She continues to run a thriving teaching practice as well as working at several schools. She has won the Solo Open Instrumental Class at the Medway Festival of Music, Speech and Drama on a number of occasions, playing piccolo on two of them. At the year 2000 festival she and her fellow flautist and former pupil Elizabeth Mooney were nominated to represent the festival at the Millennium Festival in Leeds.
Her recitals with former accompanist Martyn Williams have raised thousands of pounds for charities, principally for Demelza Children’s Hospice.
Bryan played for his first complete service on the organ at Holy Cross Church, Oxford, in 1962 at the age of ten, when he was a Chorister at New College, Oxford, at five minutes notice when the regular organist was taken ill. He went on to hold a Sir Edmund Davis Scholarship at King’s School, Canterbury, where he was a pupil of Dr Allan Wicks, the Cathedral Organist.
The Royal College of Organists awarded him the Sir John Goss Exhibition, which enabled him to study under Dr Douglas Hopkins for four years at the Royal Academy of Music. He gained his Fellowship from Trinity College of Music, London in 1975, and was appointed organist at FelstedSchool in 1976. He has presented many recitals here and abroad and gave the first London performance of Dr Arthur Wills’ Organ Concerto. He now sings as a Lay Clerk in Rochester Cathedral Choir and occasionally plays for services there when the regular organists are unavailable.
As a pianist and harpsichordist Bryan has accompanied such musicians as Ian Wallace and Jane Manning. He is also an accomplished player of the viola and violin, both as a soloist and orchestral player. Now, in addition to conducting the Old Barn Orchestra, he conducts Sutton Valence Choral Society and is co-director of the Beresford Sinfonia. He is the Musical Director of the Egerton Music Festival, and recently stepped down from conducting Maidstone Youth Orchestra.