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Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature: Artist James Mayhew the conductor for school orchestras music


By Inez Parsell


James Mayhew paints Tower Bridge, accompanied by the Bishops Stortford College Orchestra Picture: Ian Taylor
James Mayhew paints Tower Bridge, accompanied by the Bishops Stortford College Orchestra Picture: Ian Taylor

What a wonderful way to begin the Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature 2018, with an evening of music incorporated with art.

Artist James Mayhew, left, and the Bishops Stortford College Orchestra at the opening night of the Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature Picture: Ian Taylor
Artist James Mayhew, left, and the Bishops Stortford College Orchestra at the opening night of the Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature Picture: Ian Taylor

Our guest, James Mayhew, explained how performing art accompanied by various music ensembles inspires him to create pieces which not only reflect the music but the story behind them and how the music makes him feel.

As a member of the orchestra, it was interesting to be performing alongside Mayhew as I could see how detailed and intricate the paintings were.

As he drew while the College Orchestra played pieces such as Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s opera Nabucco, he remarkably achieved a wonderful piece of art within the period of time the music took, conveying what the music was about and the mood of the piece using appropriate colours.

I and many others found his paintings, Mountains in Russia and London Bridge, especially impressive and were taken aback by the sheer simplicity of how he created a monumental place in a few gentle brush strokes.

My favourite piece of his art was a painting of a night sky in Venice, featuring punters and the moon’s reflection on the water. The use of colour beautifully complemented June, from Tchaikovsky’s Seasons, played by our very own music teacher, Señor Nunez.

This particular piece created a calm and peaceful atmosphere among the audience and allowed them to relax and enjoy the experience, knowing that whatever Mayhew created after the drawing was finished was going to be remarkable.

After the orchestra’s final performance, Mayhew auctioned his paintings, which went down very successfully, proving that they were truly appreciated by the audience.

Overall, it was a wonderful evening which demonstrated that both genres can work together so beautifully. I look forward to next year’s event and hope Mayhew returns for a fourth time to show how music and art can have such a mesmerising impact on viewers of all age.

Inez Parsell



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