©Stephen Upshaw/Sam Armstrong

This is an archived event

Stephen Upshaw & Sam Armstrong

The Eloquence of the Viola

Viola Sonata op147

Stephen Upshaw viola Sam Armstrong piano

Errollyn Wallen: Lavinia
Rebecca Clarke: Viola Sonata
Dimitri Shostakovich: Sonata for viola and piano, op147

The Viola Sonata was Shostakovich’s last work. Although written in the space of a few weeks, some would say it’s his greatest. It’s dark in tone and unsettled in mood – but there’s also acceptance and resignation, most strongly felt in the slow finale. It’s Shostakovich summarising his own life’s work – and a major masterpiece.

Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) was one of the first female musicians in Henry Wood’s Queen’s Hall orchestra before becoming a significant composer and proselytiser for the viola. Striking for its passion and power, her music spans a range of 20th-century styles from Impressionism to neo-Classical. She spent most of her life – and wrote most of her music – in America.

As respected a singer-songwriter of pop-influenced songs as she is a composer of contemporary new music, Errollyn Wallen recently received the 2020 ISM Distinguished Musician Award (one of the highest honours within the music industry) for services to music. She composed her short piece Lavinia this year especially for Stephen.

Programme notes can be downloaded here.


American violist Stephen Upshaw regularly appears in major festivals around the world including the BBC Proms, Lucerne and Aix-en-Provence. Much in demand as a chamber musician, he serves as violist of the prize-winning Riot Ensemble and Solem Quartet and has worked closely with many of today's leading composers.

“Supercharged viola players used to be an oxymoron, but they aren’t now” Michael White

Click here to see Stephen Upshaw play Lavinia by Errollyn Wallen


Sam Armstrong
 has made solo recital debuts at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Carnegie Hall in New York as well as at our own Wigmore Hall.

“a major new talent” International Piano…”a pianist of splendid individuality” Arts Desk

Click here to see Sam Armstrong play Schubert Sonata in B flat D 960 - Adagio sostenuto


The concert is expected to last approximately 75 min.


Thu 14 Oct 2021 8.00pm

Little Missenden Church

£25, £18, £10

Stephen Upshaw plays Lavinia by Errollyn Wallen