London-Vienna-Manchester: United

The Lord Mayor’s Composition Prize is now a firmly established event in the Calendar of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

Johannes Meissl & Kathleen DuncanProf Dr Johannes Meissl and Kathleen Duncan OBE


Initiated by Company Steward Michael Hockney MBE and encouraged by the then Lord Mayor Sir David Wootton, the 2013 inaugural winning entry in 2013 was Paradise Regained, a string quintet written by Adam Kornas, then a student at the Royal College of Music. Having been a pupil of Max Rostal, and student at the Guildhall School of Music, I was lucky enough to attend a violin seminar in Salzkammergut in 1954 when Yfrah Neaman and Igor Ozim were among the students. Max Rostal was a pupil of Arnold Rose, the legendary concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1880-1938; the immersion in the Viennese string sound was a memorable, lasting experience for me, and when I heard Adam’s string quintet, which greatly impressed me with its feeling for string sound, it seemed a good idea to give Adam a similar chance to experience this unique sound.

Having worked in Vienna for 30 years with many fine string players, I was able to initiate a co-operation with Prof. Dr. Johannes Meissl, Head of Chamber Music at the University of Music Vienna. I obtained sponsorship from the Austro British Society, The Anglo Austrian Society and Welcome to Austria. Kathleen Duncan, then Master of the Musicians’ Company, came to the concert with the British Ambassador and many distinguished guests. Adam’s quintet was performed with a Haydn Quartet and Schubert Quintet with the Adamas Quartet of Vienna and cellist Richard Isaacs from the RNCM. Adam wrote in his report:

”The concert was a very special occasion with string playing of the highest level. To hear my composition interpreted in such a way was both fascinating and a joy. It was an inspiration to come into contact with the Adamas Quartet and Johannes Meissl, who was able to find expression in my music that I didn’t even know was there! He brought out details which really delved deeper than I have so far heard in my compositions performed, and I am very grateful to him.”

Richard Isaacs wrote:
”This project was a collaboration between two Conservatoires, the RNCM and the MDW of Vienna, as well as between two cities and two countries. The way the Viennese play Schubert is surprisingly different to how it might be performed in the UK; it was wonderful to experience this, and I learnt a lot by playing with the Quartet. I feel very lucky to have had coaching with Johannes Meissl, and receive the lessons before the concert, he really helped to elevate our performance and personally I took a lot away from these sessions, and I am very grateful to have been part of this cultural exchange.”

It was very rewarding to know that these two brilliant young musicians responded so positively to the opportunity to visit Vienna, and to work with Prof. Dr. Johannes Meissl and the Adamas Quartet, and we are immensely grateful to all those who supported the visit, and encouraged the continuing Anglo Austrian Cultural Co-operation which many of us feel is so important.

Liveryman Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies

Adam & Xenia Kornas

Adam & Xenia Kornas

Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies & Colleagues

Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies and colleagues