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Durham First

Durham Concerto goes from strength to strength

Jon Lord

The Durham Concerto was specially commissioned from Jon Lord – international rock star, former member of Deep Purple and now acclaimed crossover artist. Its commissioning formed part of the University’s 175th Anniversary celebrations and serves as a legacy of this special year.

The piece was given a spectacular premiere to a sell out crowd in Durham Cathedral, and was performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Jon Lord himself at the Hammond organ, and a number of other distinguished soloists. These included commended Northumbrian Pipes player Kathryn Tickell, cellist and TV personality Matthew Barley, and Classical Brit winner Ruth Palmer on violin. Mischa Damev conducted the piece.

The piece paints a musical picture of a day in the life of Durham, and has seven movements whose musical influences span jazz, ragtime, rock and Northumbrian folk music - it even includes an old miners' lament. Jon Lord said that he was deeply impressed by the city which so inspired the piece. Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins agrees: "The Durham Concerto captures everything that is special about Durham and the University."

The Durham Concerto was released on CD in January to critical acclaim. Popular radio station Classic FM adopted it as its CD of the Week on its release and dedicated a special slot to the origins of the piece in February.