In our third May lunchtime concert we welcome two performers new to St John’s, cellist Molly Parsons-Gurr, who will be accompanied by pianist Christopher Benham. They will be performing Chopin’s exuberant cello sonata and some elegant Beethoven variations. The sonata is one of only nine works published during Chopin’s lifetime written for instruments other than the piano, and is also the last work published before his death in 1849.
As ever St John’s will be open for an hour before the concert begins, with volunteers from the pop-up café team offering lots of home made sweet and savoury treats as well as hot and cold drinks.
The concert will begin promptly at 1pm. Admission is free, but those who are able to afford it are asked to make a donation. The suggested amount is £5.
About Molly Parsons-Gurr:
Molly Parsons-Gurr began her cello studies in Kent with Anne Smith at the age of thirteen, then completed her undergraduate course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with David Kenedy and Naomi Butterworth, then took a place at the Royal College of Music gaining a Master of Performance degree, studying with Alexander Boyarsky and Amanda Truelove.
Molly’s performances are varied and have incorporated concerto performances, of which the first was in Canterbury at the age of eighteen, performing the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto, which she performed again in 2018 with the Hitchin Chamber Orchestra. In the last three years Molly has been involved in the JAM On The Marsh Festival, in the first year performing Messiaen’s ‘Quartet For The End Of Time’, the second year a recital with pianist and fiancée Adrian Oldland including the Poulenc sonata, and the third year performing the London premier of ‘Voices of Vimy’ for choir and solo cello with The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge at St Brides Church. There have been many diverse recitals, including an event held by Boris Johnson, an event at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, performing in the First International Festival of Music at Chateau des Jalesnes in France, being an on stage cellist during a performance of Dracula, playing in the Women of the World festival orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and in orchestral tour of North China.
Alongside her performing career Molly teaches cello and piano privately, in St Albans school, St Christopher School in Letchworth and with the Hertfordshire Music Service as an instrumental teacher and orchestral coach.
About Christopher Benham:
Christopher Benham began his musical education as a chorister at Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk. He then went on to study piano and organ at the Colchester Institute School of Music, where he won prizes for solo and ensemble piano playing. After graduating, he joined the Institute’s staff as a piano accompanist. In 1996 he became organist and Director of Music at All Saints’ Church, Hertford, where he continued to develop the strong choral tradition and successfully managed the overhaul of its fine Willis organ.
Chris is a trained teacher. He has held a number of teaching posts and is currently both a teacher of music and the chapel organist at St Edmund’s College, Ware, England’s oldest Catholic school. He performs regularly with a number of instrumentalists, singers and ensembles and has established regular lunchtime concerts in Hertford and Harlow.