Gateway Arts Concerts





Thursday 28th September at 2.00 p.m.

Arthur Bocaneanu - piano

Scarlatti - Sonata in D Minor, K.213

Schumann - Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17

Brahms - Four Pieces, Op. 119


Romanian pianist Arthur Bocăneanu made his solo debut at age eleven with the Ion Dumitrescu” Philharmonic in Râmnicu-Vâlcea, Romania, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major KV488. Earlier he was broadcast on Romanian national radio and television, being the youngest pianist to broadcast live on “Today’s musicians - tomorrow’s musicians” at age 7.


Since then, he has played with several orchestras, including “Oltenia” Philharmonic in Craiova, and “Concerto” Orchestra at the National University of Music in Bucharest. Arthur has also performed in numerous solo and chamber music engagements in venues such as the Romanian Athenaeum, the George Enescu Museum in Bucharest and several State Philharmonic halls across the Rumania, including in the cities of Sibiu, Pitești and Craiova. Internationally, Arthur has played in Italy, Israel, Ukraine and the United States.



Arthur completed his Master’s studies at Birmingham Conservatoire with John Thwaites, Pascal Nemirovski and Margaret Fingerhut. He was awarded a scholarship to study towards an Advanced Posgraduate Diploma (Professional Pefrormance) while establishing his performing career. During his time in Birmingham, Arthur was a finalist in the Birmingham Conservatoire Piano Prize and the Renna Kellaway Piano Recital Prize. He has participated in masterclasses with Peter Donohoe, Christian Blackshaw, Hamish Milne, Kathryn Stott and Mikhail Kazakevich. As part of various chamber ensembles, he has been coached by the Schubert Ensemble, the Rosamunde Trio. 



Thursday 26th October at 2.00 p.m.

Paula Downes -  soprano

Tony Bridgewater - piano


Schumann -  Frauenliebe und Leben

Andrew Downes -  Songs of Love

 Tony Bridgewater - The Other Side of a Mirror 


Paula Downes has been described as 'excellent' by the Boston Globe, and has been praised for her 'fine upper register' by Opera News; for 'the cool beauty of her voice' and 'affectingly plangent tone' by the Birmingham Post; and for her 'immaculate intonation' by the Nordsee-Zeitung, Germany. She was a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has since sung with The Sixteen and Philharmonia Voices, and as a soloist in halls such as St John's, Smith Square, London; Jordan Hall, Boston (USA); King’s Chapel and West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; La Madeleine, Paris; and St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. She has given recitals in the National Portrait Gallery, London, Harvard University, Peterborough Cathedral, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Holborn Museum, Bath.  She recently recorded a new work, 'Torrid Nature Scene' by Nicholas Vines for Navona Records, which was released in May 2013. In 2008 Paula embarked on a long-term project of combining film images and animations with songs by her father, Andrew Downes.  Songs from Spoon was showcased at the 2014 American Online Film Awards, and was voted for by the public as one of the top ten films of the foreign music video category before being chosen as one of three nominees. The films can be seen at An experienced teacher, Paula has taught singing at Bristol University, and music and singing at top private schools including St John's College School, Cambridge. She has created the Music Education resources website, Paula is the Founder and Director of The Cantabrigians, a group of professional female singers based in Cambridge. Visit for more information.

Tony Bridgewater was a student at the Birmingham School of Music and St John’s College, Cambridge, studying composition with Peter Tranchell and piano with Malcolm Wilson and Renee Reznek. He has also participated in piano workshops with Margaret Fingerhut, David Owen Norris and James Lisney, and conducting workshops with Rodney Winther, formerly of Cincinatti University.


He gives regular recitals as an accompanist to local musicians, especially the violinist  Anna Downes in the Himley Duo, and appears frequently in the  'Local and Live' concert series in Stourbridge. In September 2016 he was also appointed Principal Accompanist for the Kidderminster Male Choir.


He has composed music for Orchestra, Concertband and Choir, and sonatas for piano, violin, trumpet and cello. He gave the first performance of his Second Piano Concerto in February 2010, and conducted the premiere of his Double Concerto for Flute and Clarinet in February 2013. In November 2015, the pianist Margaret Fingerhut gave the first performance of his Concert Piece for piano and orchestra , and in July 2016 Anna Downes gave the first performances of his second violin sonata. In March 2017 he conducted the premiere of his latest composition, a fifteen minute tone poem for orchestra ‘The Legend of the Tamar’. 


His music for brass and wind instruments is published by Forton Music, including his Sonata for Flutes, first performed in 2015 by the National Flute Orchestra, his double Concerto for Flute and Clarinet and his Trumpet Sonata.


In 2014 he was elected a trustee of the Birmingham Conservatoire Association, and he also serves on the newly formed Conservatoire Development Council, supporting the building and development of the new Conservatoire now being built at Millenium Point.     


He has conducted student groups on many tours to Europe and America, and performed in  venues such as Barcelona Cathedral, Montserrat Abbey, Salzburg Cathedral and St Mark’s Cathedral, Venice. He has now left teaching to be a freelance musician.



Friday 3rd November at 7.30 p.m.

Alison Loram - violin

Christopher  Symons - piano

 Johannes Brahms - Sonatensatz - Scherzo in C minor

Clara Schumann - Three Romances

Robert Schumann - Sonata No.1 in A minor, Op. 105

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Romance & Pastorale

Claude Debussy - Sonata in G minor

 Tickets £10 (£8 concession)

Alison Loram

Alison began playing the violin through Shropshire’s County Music Service, going on to lead its Symphony Orchestra from 1980-81 under the direction of Richard White.  Four years of study at the Royal College of Music with Hugh Bean, John Ludlow and Rodney Friend were followed by a post-graduate year leading the orchestras of Imperial College and the National Centre for Orchestral Studies at London University, with which Alison was also soloist in a performance of Barber’s Violin Concerto. Playing-related musculoskeletal problems led her to the Alexander Technique which she has taught at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire since 1993. After gaining a BSc, MSc and PhD, Alison also developed a career as an independent research scientist and is a practitioner with the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine.

Since she began playing the violin again in 2011, Alison has given solo and chamber music recitals in Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, and has performed as soloist with the St John’s Festival Orchestra of Chester, which, along with the Stockport Symphony Orchestra, she guest-led in 2016. Alison plays with professionally with orchestras in the Midlands and North West including the English Symphony and Northern Concordia orchestras and Orchestra Pro Anima.  Future engagements include lunchtime recitals with Christopher Symons, the Forum Trio and in April 2018, Alison will play the Bruch violin concerto with the St John’s Orchestra.


Christopher Symons


Chris was born in Penzance, and it was there that his early love of music was fostered in the parish church choir. His first teaching job was at Canterbury Cathedral Choir School, where he was helped through his ARCO by Allan Wicks, Philip Moore and Alan Ridout. He then moved to Oswestry as Head of Classics at Oswestry School, where he taught very happily for nearly 40 years. He is a well-known musician in the Shropshire area, in different guises – as conductor (including, at various times, Oswestry School Choir, Oswestry Choral Society and Cantiones), organist, pianist and as the Director of the prestigious Oswestry School Recital Series (brochures available here today). These six major annual recitals now attract very large and loyal audiences and feature nationally and internationally renowned musicians (with some of whom Chris himself has been fortunate enough to perform), including Tasmin Little, Lawrence Jackson, John Lill, Martin Roscoe, Guy Johnston, James Gilchrist, Stephen Varcoe, Carlo Curley, the Skampa and Allegri String Quartets, the European Union Chamber Orchestra. In Shrewsbury, he also had many happy collaborations with the Phoenix Singers, under Richard White.  More recently he performed concertos by Mozart with the Manchester Camerata, and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. 


Thursday 30th November at 2.00 p.m.

Eric McElroy - piano


Eric McElroy - The Perilous Realm
John Ireland - London Pieces
Johannes Brahms -

Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119
Arnold Bax - Sonata No. 1


There is something for everyone in this concert, ranging from traditional to contemporary repertoire. The highlight of the concert will be Arnold Bax's Sonata No. 1. Extremely virtuosic and full of Romantic colour, this is one of the great piano pieces of the British repertoire, and this is a very rare opportunity to hear it in live-performance


 American pianist-composer Eric McElroy is a passionate advocate for lesser-known repertoire and has given numerous regional premieres of both American and English piano works. He has performed in some of Europe’s most distinguished venues – notably the Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus Birmingham Town Hall, and the BOZAR – and he has also participated in concerts with some of the leading composers of our time including Frederic Rzewski, Lowell Liebermann, and HK Gruber. Eric’s own compositions have been performed in Germany, Austria, the U.K., and the U.S.A. In 2015, Eric won the prestigious MTNA Young Artist Composition Competition, and he remains the only person ever to have won the Washington State Music Association Competition, the highest award for collegiate pianists in Washington, in both piano and composition. Eric earned his Bachelor’s degree (Honours) at Washington State University and Master’s degree at Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien where he was the only pianist of his graduating class to pass with full honours (mit ausgezeichnetem Erfolg). Most recently, he was the winner of the Peter Donohoe Prize (2016) and the John Ireland Prize (2017). Eric is currently a candidate for Birmingham Conservatoire’s Advanced Postgraduate Diploma (Professional Performance) and studies with Mark Bebbington and Margaret Fingerhut. (


Thursday 14th December at 2.00 p.m.


with Maki Sekiya

- Laurence Peverall and Lucas Yuchen Zhang


 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 -1791)

Sonata K381 (for 4 hands )

Lucas Yuchen Zhang  / Maki Sekiya


Trumpet tunes

Solo - Laurence Peverall


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 -1827)

Spring Sonata (1movement)

            Lucas Yuchen Zhang 


Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)

Aufschwung from Fantasiestuck

Laurence Peverall



Aaron Copland  (1900 – 1990)

Hoe down

Lucas Yuchen Zhang 


Jean Hubeau (1917 - 1992)


Laurence Peverall


Frédéric Chopin (1810 –1849))

Ballade N.2

Lucas Yuchen Zhang



 Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 -1921)

Danse Macabre - Cameos

Laurence Peverall


Mily Balakirev (1837 - 1910)

Oriental Fantasy Islamei

Maki Sekiya


Felix Bernard  and Richard B. Smith

Winter Wonderland

Lucas/ Laurence


Sammy Cahn  / Jule Styne

Let it snow 

Lucas /Laurence 

followed  by sherry and mince pies

Sherry donated by Tanners Wines, 26 Wyle Cop

Admission £7.00 on the door

Friends £6.00, Students £3.00


Carers with disabled and Children Free

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