"Written towards the end of the composer's life, this pair of viola sonatas, which share an opus number, display the solo capabilities of an instrument often over-shadowed by its cousins the violin and 'cello.

Violist Feargus Hetherington's thoughtful and intelligent interpretation of Brahms's evocative and atmospheric pieces displayed his exquisitely virtuosic technique and shrewd musical artistry.

The first of these works, the Sonata in F minor, exuded a passionate tenderness, with vibrant, cascading melodies in the viola part swooping and soaring above pianist Benjamin Powell's ebullient accompaniment. The duo carried the listener through a spectrum of soundscapes in Brahms' vivid score, from dark and sonorous to delicate, tender and elegant, at times lending an ethereal quality to the music.

Following on with the second in this set, Sonata in Eb major, Hetherington and Powells played with a fiery drive, never for a second losing momentum, especially in the exciting and gripping second movement, Allegro Apassionato.

With a heated intensity which was spirited and wild yet graceful and dignified, this hugely accomplished duo complemented each other marvellously as together they illustrated the light and shade and huge range of emotion in both these works."

Brahms Viola Sonatas 4*, Edinburgh Fringe 15th August 2014, Miranda Heggie, Herald (18/8/14)

"... In Saturday’s lunchtime concert in St Paul’s Cathedral, Feargus Hetherington rose to the heights required with a performance of the Partita in E that was bristling in perfection both in interpretation and delivery, as was mirrored in the spontaneous applause after the Gavotte...."

Dundee Courier

"... telepathic, dance-like interaction between the two musicians … this close attunement was particularly apparent in the duo’s exquisite arrangement of Ronald Stevenson’s A’e Gowden Lyric, after Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem, with a nod to Burns along the way …"

The Scotsman

Feargus Hetherington / violin/viola

Feargus Hetherington has developed a wide-ranging career as a chamber musician, orchestral leader, soloist and teacher. He also presents musical workshops and seminars, arranges music and is  an accomplished violist. Feargus studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Cleveland Institute of Music, USA, and has worked with some of today’s great performers such as Joseph Swensen, James Buswell, David Russell, violist Roger Chase and members of the Endellion and Cleveland Quartets.

Mendelssohn Violin Sonata in F Major (allegro vivace)

Feargus is an associate teacher of violin, viola and chamber music at the Music Centre of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. In the summer, he takes part in the Habitat4Music seminars in the USA, working with violinist and conductor Joseph Swensen. He currently performs with the newly formed Kentigern Quartet. Feargus is a former member of the Live Music Now scheme, founded by Yehudi Menuhin.

Feargus has worked with many orchestras and ensembles including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and performs frequently as guest leader of the Scottish Concert Orchestra. He enjoys successful collaborations with pianists including Olga Gorelik, Geoffrey Tanti, Edward Cohen, Jonathan Cohen, Mira Opalińska, Julia Lynch and Steven Beck, and has given recitals in Germany, Poland and New York City.

As a soloist, Feargus has performed concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruch, Brahms, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Elgar and in 2013 and 2014 he played the Elgar Violin Concerto with both the New Edinburgh Orchestra and Glasgow Sinfonia. His recent performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor (Heisenberg Ensemble/Gillian Craig), was described as ‘a performance of passion and wholehearted endeavour’ (Dundee Courier).

Lensky’s aria Tchaikovsky, with Geoffrey Tanti, piano

Feargus regularly gives unaccompanied recitals featuring works by J S Bach, Eugène Ysaÿe, Edward McGuire, Stuart MacRae and Iain Matheson.  He recorded ‘Ness by Gareth Williams for the Cotemporary Music Centre of Ireland, and has recorded and perfromed for BBC Radio 3, BBC Scotland, BBC Ulster and Polish Television.  He can be heard with classical accordionist Paul Chamberlain, on the artist’s CD release Accordion Sensations in the Piazzolla/Gubaidulina Le Grande Tango.  As a member of Wiltshire-based ensemble Auriga, he has recorded string sextets by Brahms and Richard Strauss, and his CD recording A Highland Ballad with pianist Mira Opalinska was released in 2012 to critical acclain.

His work as a solo violinist for Opera Bohemia in chamber scale productins of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin has proved meaningful and uplifting.  Feargus premiered a new duo work by composer Douglas Whates, entitled Non-lieux Ties, and has recently worked on the acclaimed new Shetlandic opera Hirda by fiddler/composer Chris Stout and composer Gareth Willliams.  He performed Rant by Edward McGuire for the composer’s 65th birthday concerts.

Dvorak/Kreisler – Slavonic Fantasy in B minor, with Geoffrey Tanti, piano

Other collaborations include Meall a’ Bhuiridh (Hill of the Bellowing) by Barry Reid, and Blair Douglas’ An Aifreann Ghàidhlig (Gaelic Mass). Feargus researches deeply the scores he performs, and has composed stylistically appropriate cadenzas to Mozart’s Violin Concerti. His interests extend to the art of transcription, improvisation, and the study of harmony and temperaments, working with the composer William Lovelady. Feargus also writes programme notes for concert repertoire. He has collaborated with poet Aidan McEoin combining violin playing and the spoken word, collaborated with outstanding Scottish fiddlers such as Adam Sutherland, Chris Stout and Patsy Reid and improvised on the albums of numerous popular and jazz artists. As a young musician, Feargus and friends Martin and Peter Little were finalists in the National Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Musican Competition 1994 with their swing trio Confiture, sharing the stage with renowned saxophonist, Don Rendell.

Very active as a curator/programmer, Feargus has developed recital programmes in both Mackintosh Queens Cross, Glasgow, and the city’s iota gallery, reaching new audiences. He has participated in the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at the Juilliard School, given by musicians including Itzhak Perlman and Monica Huggett.

Feargus performs on a violin by Neil Kristóf Értz, made in 2007, after Stradivari c 1715, and has been featured in the Strad magazine (July 2014) discussing the instrument. Feargus has in the past been generously supported by the Musicians Benevolent Fund and Creative Scotland and was a recipient of the John Ireland Prize.

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