John Marson: A Day in the Life of…, Chamber Music with Harp John Marson: A Day in the Life of…, Chamber Music with Harp


  • Artist(s): Alicia Steanson, Andrew Morley, Anna Astesano, Anna Cameli, Ben Mason, Cara Dawson, Chloe Kousmer-Kerr, Clara Gatti Comini, Clara Sophie Krüger, Daniel Pukach, Gabriella Dall’Olio, Gloria Rappo, Greta Papa, Helen Daniels, Imogen Emmett, Iona Duncan, Kelljia Moncaka, Laura Crobu, Laura Marquino, Laura Marquino Falguera, Lucia Foti, Maria McNamee, Olivia Bell, Olivia Fraser, Xinyi Wu
  • Composer(s): John Marson
  • EAN Code: 7.46160914848
  • Edition: Da Vinci Classics
  • Format: 2 Cds
  • Genre: Chamber
  • Instrumentation: Clarinet, Harp, Soprano, Violin
  • Period: Contemporary
  • Publication year: 2022
SKU: C00649 Category:

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This set of two CDs of John’s music coming out on the 15th anniversary of his death, celebrates the harp and British music, and the life of a person who has deeply loved and lived for music and for the harp!

John Marson was a dear friend to many. I myself have fond memories of shared concerts, playing together, and after he retired playing his music while he was in the audience; long talks with cups of tea (he drank it black) and cakes. John liked cakes! Quirky and totally obsessed by the harp, John’s fast-working brain brought him to write a book to codify all possible glissandi and pedal combinations well before the modern computer existed, and to undertake research in libraries and beyond about harps, composers, hidden publications, and manuscripts before the field even had a name.

A real musician of his time and in all senses, he learnt much about what he knew on the road and guided by his own curiosity. While he did have harp lessons from Marie Goossens at the Royal College of Music, he soon left to embark on tours around the world with opera companies and symphony orchestras, working in recording studios, and playing with the good and mighty of the time, including playing music by, and under the baton of, Igor Stravinsky, and recording the music of Charlie Chaplin with the actor and composer present. I learnt many life and music lessons from John since my arrival in London in 1995 as we were neighbours, and on Planet London vicinity certainly guarantees more friendly relations.

Since his death in 2007, and in honour of the legacy he left to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where I have been teaching since 1999, it felt natural to honour him with a harp prize in his name, and to encourage appreciation of his music among students, professionals, and audiences alike. His writing is not always idiomatic – sometimes the harmonies shift so suddenly and so far from home that it seems there are more pedal movements than notes – but always sensitive and beautiful. Though not contemporary in the classical sense – John liked tonality and playing with it – it has clear influences from the wealth of music he performed and listened to, and from the musicians and composers he worked with, from Bach to the Beatles (we can catch a glimpse of him in the music video of ‘A Day in the Life’ from Sergeant Pepper back in 1967), film music, and musical theatre alongside the more classical repertoire. John was principal harpist in the London Symphony Orchestra and later in the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

In autumn 2020, after the first COVID-19 lockdown, Trinity Laban resumed in-person lessons, classes, and chamber music coaching. I had the idea to prepare some of his works as for a proper CD recording in a conservatoire setting. Earlier this year then came the natural step to actually produce the CDs. All of John’s music is interesting and has merit; it deserves to be listened to and performed, and I hope that many will enjoy listening to this recording, or will want to perform some of the compositions themselves. I have coached all musicians and assisted with the recording process, as well as having also been a performer amongst all other performers. We all enjoyed the journey and I hope you will all enjoy listening!

Gabriella Dall’Olio © July 2022


Alicia Steanson is a professional flautist currently residing in London, having recently graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where she studied under the tuition of Susan Milan and Fiona Kelly. At the age of 12, Alicia was awarded a scholarship as a specialist musician at Wells Cathedral School, where she achieved her Performance Diploma and performed internationally as part of an outstanding Wind Quintet. Notable achievements include winning the Trinity Laban Flute Cup and the Two Moors Young Musicians' Platform. She was recently appointed as visiting flute teacher at Radlett Preparatory School in London and continues to perform across the UK.

Andrew Morley - Conductor
In a career spanning two decades, Andrew has worked with distinguished soloists and has given the premiere of a new work for ‘DJ’ and ensemble by Gabriel Prokofiev; prepared orchestras for renowned film composer Debbie Wiseman and conductors Barry Wordsworth and Ed Gardner. He assisted Sir Simon Rattle, Duncan Ward and Matthias Pintscher at the London Symphony Orchestra, performing alongside celebrities such as Jonathan Ross, Henry Kelly and the late Sir Terry Wogan, and broadcasting live on BBC Radio 3. In February 2004 Andrew was awarded first prize at the Allianz-Cornhill Musical Insurance Conducting Competition, with unanimous votes from both jury and orchestra. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Anna Astesano
After her Bachelor and Master studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse in Lyon, Anna Astesano joined the harp class at Trinity and Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in the Postgraduate Advanced Diploma course in London. Between 2014 and 2015 she has been harpist at “Teatro alla Scala” Academy in Milan. In June 2015 she won the audition as first harp at “Luigi Cherubini” Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti. In 2018 she was the harpist of the Future Foyle First Programme, promoted by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2017 she has been awarded scholarships offered by the Turin CRT Foundation, “De Sono” Association and Turin "Lions Club". In 2018 she was awarded the "John Marson Prize for best performer" and the “Featured Young Performer” Award by the London Ear Festival, playing as a soloist and in chamber music concerts with the Uroboros Ensemble. She has collaborated with: the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale (RAI) in Turin, the "Teatro alla Scala'' Orchestra, the "Maggio Musicale Fiorentino'' Orchestra, the Kobolov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow, the London Southbank Sinfonia, under the baton of conductors such as Muti, Mehta, Pappano, Jurovskij, Krivine, Gatti, Luisi, Russell-Davies, Coleman. She has performed as a soloist and alongside chamber music ensembles in prestigious London concert halls such as the Purcell Room, the Queen Elisabeth Hall, St. Martin's In-the-Fields, Wigmore Hall and the British Museum. She is a Concordia Foundation and Park Lane Group Artist. Anna Astesano is the harp teacher at the "A. Scontrino" Conservatoire in Trapani.

Ben Mason is a clarinettist and bass clarinettist specialising in contemporary music and improvisation. He writes and records his own music for clarinet and electronics and works frequently in multidisciplinary collaborations. He is also a member of the Hermstedt Trio and Artemis, an art improvisation ensemble.

Cara Dawson, harp, graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Distinction on 2021. She has performed in some of Europe’s major concert halls including Royal Festival Hall and the Berlin Philharmonie. As a passionate performer of new music, Cara regularly works with composers, and this year took a program of new commissions to the Dutch Harp Festival.

Chloe Chousmer-Kerr, harp, graduated at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and Dance in 2021. Her performance experience is wide and varied, ranging from performing at prestigious venues such as the Segrada Familia in Barcelona with a choir, to playing popular festivals both as a solo and with a band. She has also been lucky enough to perform as a soloist, on the Heaven stage, at Glastonbury festival.

Clara Sophie Krüger
The French and German harpist Clara Sophie Krüger graduated in 2021 with a Postgraduate Advanced Diploma degree (with Distinction) following a Master of Arts (Music Performance) in 2020 under the guidance of Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Besides teaching and playing solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire, Clara is interested in the collaboration of different art forms and works closely with living composers.

Daniel Pukach is an Israeli American violinist. He is a freelance orchestral violinist, chamber musician and a sought-after teacher. He played in top orchestras in the UK and Israel and performed in major venue in the UK, USA Israel, China, Spain, Canada and more. He is also founding member and violinist in the Waldstein Quartet and a teacher at Junior Guildhall. He gained his BMus from the Aaron Copland School of Music and MMus from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he received the Violet Wright scholarship and the Trinity College London scholarship.

Gabriella Dall'Olio, harp, artistic director
Gabriella’s solo recitals captivate audiences around the globe; her critically acclaimed recordings include two solo recitals, concertos, chamber music, and orchestral works. She has also made many live recordings for British, French, German, Italian, and Swiss Radio and television. She toured Europe with the Wiener Virtuosen and was a member of Kontraste (Germany) and then iconic Gruppo Musica Insieme Di Cremona (Italy) for many years, and is a member of Hebrides, Uroboros, and Red Note Ensembles in the UK. Gabriella freelances with some of the most outstanding UK and European orchestras and greatest conductors, but also pop singers such as Tina Turner, Sting, Phil Collins, and Elton John. Gabriella is Head of Harp Studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where she teaches and mentors vibrant and enthusiastic young harpists and musicians, as well as travelling the world to give masterclasses and harp courses (Singapore, Tasmania, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, etc).

Gloria Rappo, harp, is currently attending her 3rd year of Bachelor Harp Degree under the tuition of Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. A multi-instrumentalist that has been studying piano, harp, viola, organ and choir direction. Currently enjoying a varied and extensive experience - both in Italy and in the UK - of collaboration with multiple orchestras (Orch. Filarmonica E. Segattini, Orch. Filarmonica Italiana, London Rehearsal Orchestra, Fulham Opera), chamber and solo performances.

Greta Papa is a London-based violinist of Greek- Albanian descent. She worked full time at the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra as its youngest member ever. Greta has also given acclaimed performances of the Brahms Violin Concerto, Chausson Poème, Brahms Double Concerto, Vivaldi Summer and Sarasate Zigeunerweisen, all of which she played in both the Thessaloniki and Athens Megaron Concert Halls upon personal invitations from the directors of the Thessaloniki and Athens State Orchestras. In 2018, she relocated to the UK she freelances and performs as a soloist.

Helen Daniels is a mezzo-soprano based in Bern, Switzerland. She is a member of the Swiss Opera Studio programme for the 2021-23 seasons where she is studying with Christian Hilz. Helen is generously supported by the Alec Turner Music Scholarship, awarded by the General Charity of the City of Coventry.) In summer 2021 Helen graduated with a distinction her master’s in vocal studies from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Imogen Emmett completed her postgraduate harp studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, having previously studied at Oxford University. Highlights of her ensemble experience include performances at the Royal Albert Hall and Barbican Centre, along with US venues such as Princeton and Brown University.

Iona Duncan, harp, graduated from Trinity Laban Conservertoire with a First-Class Honours in the Summer of 2021 with teacher Gabriella Dall’Olio. Iona enjoys a versatile career with music from Mozart to Metallica! Since going professional, her career highlight was playing the Debussy Danses with the National Youth Orchestra during the Spring of 2022. Iona runs her own teaching practise whilst representing the Bromley Youth Music Service, YAMAHA Music and The Benedetti Foundation.

Kellija Moncaka, violin, recently gained her Postgraduate Advance Diploma at Trinity Laban with Stephanie Gonley at Trinity College London Scholarship playing on a Albani violin. She is a graduate of the Yehudi Menuhin School where she studied with Natasha Boyarsky. She gained her undergraduate degree in Jazepa Vitola Latvian Music Academy. Simultaneously to her studies she also gained a seat in a professional Orchestra in Latvia (Liepaja Symphony orchestra) for 3 years before pursuing her Masters degree at Royal College of Music with Mark Messenger and Gabriella Lester. She has participated in competitions in Latvia, Lithuania and the U.K. as well as formed a chamber group KORDA.

Laura Crobu completed her BMus and MMus studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly. She won the international competition ‘Città di Cagliari’ winning the award for best Sardinian harpist and started her professional career in different genres, from classical to pop. In 2017 she performed for the MTV awards with the artist Eminem. She is currently releasing a new album and videoclip with the artist Liana Cornell.

Laura Marquino, harp, obtained her Master’s degree in harp performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance studying with Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly. Alongside maintaining a full private teaching studio she can be heard performing in a multitude of ensembles throughout Europe alongside a busy schedule of weddings and other events.

Laura Marquino, harp, obtained her Master’s degree in harp performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance studying with Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly. Alongside maintaining a full private teaching studio she can be heard performing in a multitude of ensembles throughout Europe alongside a busy schedule of weddings and other events.

Lucia Foti, harp, graduated from Conservatorio di Como with first class honours. Lucia is a masters scholar at Trinity Laban, studying harp with Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly. She won several competitions (notably, she obtained a first prize in the 2015 Soroptimist Italia Contest) and is a reserve of the Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra. She has a successful duo with guitarist Francesco Rocco.

Maria McNamee, harp, recently graduated from Trinity Laban conservatoire with a first class honours degree and the TL strings Silver Medal. She is continuing to study for a Masters degree at Trinity Laban with Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly, generously supported by the Ann Driver Scholarship and the Helen Roll Charity/The Joyce Tudge Bursary Scholarship, Help Musicians UK, the Countess of Munster trust, the Craxton memorial trust and the Boise Scholarship.

Olivia Bell, soprano, graduated with a distinction MMus at Trinity Laban, winning the Gold Medal, having read English at Queens’ College, Cambridge. An opera singer with a focus on contemporary repertoire, ensemble performances include at Conway Hall, King’s Place and St John’s Smith Square. She will join the Guildhall School as a librettist in September.

Olivia Fraser is a London-based oboist enjoying a varied career of orchestral, chamber and solo performance. While studying at Trinity Laban she won many awards including the Evelyn Barbirolli Oboe Prize and Director’s Prize for Excellence. Olivia now freelances with many orchestras including the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the Philharmonia.

Xinyi Wu is a London based Chinese harpist. She recently graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire with first class honours despite of only 3 years of virtual lessons prior her professional study in London. She is currently working as a freelance orchestral and solo harpist and also has a passion for teaching. An experienced orchestral and chamber musician, her solo performances include regular appearances at the Old Royal Naval Chapel, St Alfege Church, The Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum, covering repertoire from Bach, Handel, Grandjany to Hindemith.