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  • Date and time: Wednesday 12 June 2024, 7pm to 9pm
  • Location: Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, Campus West, University of York (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Rêverie chronicles the life of one of the most prolific and innovative composers of the early 20th century, Claude Debussy. 

Created in 2012 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Debussy, the biographical programme of composers’ words and music was compiled and scripted by pianist Lucy Parham. A crucial element of Debussy’s complex intellectual and emotional world was an entangled love life that brought illicit trysts in Jersey, a brush with a revolver and even a suicide attempt.

One of the most prolific and innovative composers of the early 20th century, Debussy absorbed and transformed cultural influences from countries as far apart as Scotland (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) and Japan (Poissons d’Or).

The narrative of Rêverie, which takes the form of a personal journal, follows him from his initial success with the Prix de Rome in 1885 to his untimely death in 1918. It is punctuated with solo piano works ranging from the ever-popular lyricism of Clair de Lune, Reverie and The Girl with the Flaxen Hair to such virtuosic showpieces as Jardins sous la Pluie, the Etudes and L’Isle Joyeuse.

Join us for powerful performances by the creator of Rêverie – pianist Lucy Parham – and actor Sir Simon Russell Beale.

‘One of the must-see events on the musical calendar’ - BBC Music Magazine 

Find out more about Rêverie and Lucy Parham’s ‘Composer Portraits’ series.

This event is supported by Lorna and David Foster, and Elaine Gallagher.

Image credit: Lucy Parham portrait © Sven Arnstein; Sir Simon Russell Beale portrait © Charlie Carter

About the performers

Lucy Parham is acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest pianists. She applies her sensitivity and imagination not only to concertos and recitals, but also to portraits in words and music of composers such as Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. Lucy has made numerous recordings including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (RPO/EMI Gold), concertos by Ravel, Fauré and Franck (RPO Records) and two solo Schumann CDs (ASV). Her CD of Clara and Robert Schumann Concertos (BBC CO/Sanctuary) won the BBC Music Magazine ‘Critics’ Choice of the Year’.

Lucy first came to public attention as the Piano Winner of the 1984 BBC Young Musician of the Year. Since her Royal Festival Hall concerto debut at the age of 16, she has played throughout the UK as concerto soloist with most of the major British orchestras and is a frequent recitalist at the Wigmore Hall. She has also toured the USA with the BBC Concert Orchestra on their 50th anniversary, as well as Mexico and Turkey with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she has now given over 60 performances. Abroad, she has toured with the Russian State Symphony, Sofia Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Polish National Radio SO and L’Orchestre National de Lille. 

Sir Simon Russell Beale was educated at St Pauls Cathedral Choir School and Clifton College in Bristol. After graduating with a first in English at Cambridge University he began training as an opera singer before he turned to acting. He started his theatrical career at The Royal Court, and went on to the Royal Shakespeare Company for eight years. Since then, he has spent 20 years at The National Theatre. Not only has he performed all over the world, he has also appeared in award winning TV and film. He has presented many BBC programmes about classical music. In 2019 he was appointed a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to the Arts.

Theatre credits include: John Gabriel Borkman (Bridge Theatre), The Lehman Trilogy (Piccadilly Theatre and The Armory, New York); The Tempest, King Lear, Ghosts, Richard III, The Seagull, Edward II, Troilus & Cressida, The Man of Mode, Restoration (RSC), and Timon of Athens, Collaborators, London Assurance, A Slight Ache, Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre). Television includes: Vanity Fair, Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, Penny Dreadful, Under The Covers, Monteverdi, Legacy, Perkinson, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2. Film includes: Firebrand, The Outfit, Radioactive, Operation Finale, The Death of Stalin (Winner of 2017 British Independent Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor), Museo, My Cousin Rachel. Radio includes: War & Peace, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Sisterhood, Waiting For Godot, Art, Radio 4 book of the Week: The Other Paris, Dead Girls Tell No Tales. Concerts include: BBC Proms, Dancers on a Tightrope, Façade, Music & Poetry: Auden & Britten, The Firebrand Of Florence. He also frequently performs Rêverie – The life and loves of Claude Debussy and ElegieRachmaninoff; A Heart in Exile with concert pianist, Lucy Parham.


Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible