The History of the Butterfly Concerts
On 23rd April 1991 Stephanie’s daughter Kate Cooper (1981-1991) gave a concert of recorder sonatas at Bishop Hannington Memorial Church in Hove. She designed a butterfly motif for her programmes on the computer, which has remained the emblem of the concerts ever since.Following her death from cancer in the July of that year, a memorial concert was held to which over 300 people came. It thus seemed natural in subsequent years, to hold further concert’s in Kate’s memory to bring together once more the people who had known her.
Initially, Between 1992 and 1995 these concerts were solo piano recitals in a variety of places, including my own home. In 1996, a return was made to Bishop Hannington, with a larger scale concert which involved many performers and including two concertos accompanied by Brighton Chamber Orchestra; a recorder concerto by John Baston, performed by the (then) 15 year old Joanna Tomlinson and the bassoon concerto in A minor performed by Sarah Martin. This concert also featured the cellist Esther Ward-Caddle.
Subsequently, in 1998, a Butterfly Concert Society was established, leading to three chamber music concerts that year, in March, April and June. The performers were Elaine Patience (violin), Anne Rycroft (viola) Esther Ward-Caddle (cello) Shaun Marten and Joanna Tomlinson (recorders)Sarah Martin (bassoon) with me on the piano. Unfortunately my unexpected removal to Durham that October, brought the Society to an end. However, a few subsequent Butterfly Concerts did ensue, all at Bishop Hannington Memorial Church. In May 1999, I gave a piano recital, in 2000 a recital with Esther Ward-Caddle (cello) and in 2002, these concerts concluded with a larger scale concert given by the Gala Strings from the Royal College of Music led by Professor Dona-Lee Croft.This included a performance of Variations on Kate’s Theme with Jill Kemp (recorder solo) and Jennifer Bullock (cello solo). This concert raised £500 for The Fight for Life Fund at the Middlesex Hospital. This was a fitting end to that phase of Butterfly Concerts, which had lasted for over ten years after Kate’s death.
Revival of the Butterfly Concerts
Following my return to Sussex, I have decided to re-start the Butterfly Concerts, the the place of their origin: Bishop Hannington Memorial Church in Hove. During the past twenty five years since Kate died in 1991, her memory has lived on with those who knew her. In addition, the small piece for Violin and Cello, which she wrote in for herself and her friend Katie Vincent to play together, has garnered her followers who did not ever meet her.In addition to her music itself, which has been played by a number of young performers for fun, just as Kate originally intended, the piece has also gained attention as the result of the compositions which I wrote myself which were based on her music. These are Variations on Kate’s Theme 1992,Wedding Songs 1993 Piece for Three Recorders 1993, subsequently revised and arrange for the Cobweb Orchestra as Suite for Orchestra 1999, and Suite in Ancient Style for cello and piano 1995. To this, more recently, I have added a further composition, a setting of Angelic Imagination which are poems written by the poet Peter Abbs in memory of Kate in 1992. This last piece will receive its premiere at the first of concert of the new series of Butterfly Concerts. This revival has been instigated not only because Kate’s presence has lived on in the memories of people who knew her, but because the circle of people who know of her life and music has broadened. Thus, these concerts are thus now ‘inspired by Kate’.
21st April 2018 at 7.00 pm
Bishop Hannington Church, Hove.
Michala Petri (recorders) and Lars Hannibal (lute and guitar)
Programme to be confirmed