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03-Aug-2018

Ian Watson performs in the Weimar Cabaret in London

Barry Humphries and Ian Watson
London based Ian Watson was the featured accordionist in the Aurora Orchestra during the popular show 'Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret' which just concluded a month long engagement at the Barbican Center in London. Ian opened the show with Cabaret diva Meow Meow as the orchestra assembled on stage while renowned actor Barry Humphries served as the Emcee of the show which was a tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic.

In the late 1940s, Barry Humphries, then a teenager, bought a collection of sheet music, once owned by a refugee from Nazi Germany, from a secondhand bookshop in Melbourne, Australia. It consisted of works by composers banned in the Third Reich as “degenerate”, among them Korngold, Ernst Krenek and Kurt Weill. His desire to unlock the secrets of the printed music resulted in a lifelong fascination with music of the Weimar Republic, with its experimentalism, defiance and unique mix of classical and jazz.

Best known as Dame Edna Everage, Barry Humphries inserts his witty anecdotes and irreverent asides providing interludes to a treasure trove of songs and instrumentals. Fellow Australian Meow Meow, sings Kurt Weill standards alongside rarities from Friedrich Hollaender, Ernst Krenek and Erwin Schulhoff, all accompanied by London’s trailblazing Aurora Orchestra. As the evening progresses it repeatedly highlights how the composers had to leave their homes and reinvent themselves when their work was denounced as degenerate by the Nazis regime.

During the course of his research, Humphries went on to meet and make friends with many of the composers. Kurt Weill later used the accordion in his works such as Mahagonny, The Threepenny Opera, Happy End, Marie Galante, and Lost in the Stars, while Ernst Krenek went on to write works for accordion including Acco-music for accordion, Op. 225 and Toccata (1964) by Ernst Krenek, a commission by the American Accordionists' Association.

Ian Watson is a concert artist and composer based in London and maintains a busy schedule working with orchestras, chamber ensembles and the Theatre in addition to directing the London Accordion Orchestra. An advocate for new music in addition to his own compositions, he is also active in commissioning new works by other renowned composers. For more information please visit: http://www.londonao.co.uk/
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