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About Lawrence Power
British violist Lawrence Power has been one of the few players of his instrument to achieve international renown since the days of William Primrose. He has been prominent both as a concerto soloist and as a chamber music player.
Power was born in 1977. He began playing the viola at age eight, choosing the instrument over the violin because he was tall for his age. Unlike most other viola players, he has never studied the violin. He enrolled in music classes at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at 11, finding a capable teacher in Alexander Technique exponent Mark Knight. When he was 18 he went to New York for a year at the Juilliard School, and back in England the following year he began entering competitions. His efforts were capped by a first-place showing at the William Primrose International Viola Competition in 1999. Another breakthrough was designation as a BBC New Generation Artist for a two-year term beginning in 2001.
He turned down a position as first violist in the Berlin Philharmonic in favor of a solo career, which began with a performance with the Philarmonia Orchestra and has grown to encompass appearances as soloist with the London Symphony, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, among others. He performed the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra in E flat major, K. 364, with Maxim Vengerov (at the latter's invitation) in 2006 at the BBC Proms and has returned for many further performances there.
Power has had an unusually vigorous recording career, both solo and with the Nash Ensemble and the Leopold String Trio. His solo career began on the Harmonia Mundi label with a recording of music by Ligeti, Takemitsu, and Prokofiev, the result of winning a prize at the Maurice Vieux International Viola Competition in Paris. In 2005 Power moved to Britain's Hyperion label for the recorded premiere of a concerto by York Bowen, and he has continued to record for that label. The year 2016 saw the release of Power's Fin-de-siècle Viola Music for Hyperion, featuring Simon Crawford-Phillips on piano. In 2018 Power joined Australian recorder player Genevieve Lacey for an album of music by Estonian composer Erki-Sven Tüür. ~ James Manheim