IRDP profiles


A delightful and very musically talented family with whom we've had the great pleasure of working many times. We first met Robert Gibbs when we needed a violinist to perform pieces by Paganini and Bach for our production of 'Mutiny on the Bounty', and then discovered that his father, Alan, was also a musician and a composer. We asked if Alan would be interested in composing a piece for IRDP's production of 'Tartuffe'. He came up with a wonderfully lively modern 'Tartuffe Suite' which was recorded on a cold winter's day in a church in central London, with Alan playing the Organ and Robert on the Violin. We thought that the Organ and Violin combination worked so well, that we also asked them to record pieces by Grieg and Rameau and Alan for the production of Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities', this time in the church at Ardleigh in Essex. Robert and his wife, Michiko (also a violinist), have recorded duets for IRDP's 'Sherlock Holmes' productions, and Alan, Robert and Vivienne (together known as the St. Margaret's Trio) recorded for us music by Haydn for 'Pride and Prejudice'. Alan has also produced another marvellous composition for the dramatisation of Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' - a haunting piece with huge depth and atmosphere which was recorded with the help of Tony Maloney in his studio in Croydon. Alan performed Synthesiser, Percussion and Vocals, and Vivienne put in a fantastic performance on the Cello. It is a piece which shows the versatility and outstanding musical abilities of both Alan and Vivienne and contributed to the award for Best Sound for IRDP's production of 'Heart of Darkness' at the International Radio Festival of New York in 1991.


Robert and Alan Gibbs

The picture shows Robert and Alan Gibbs at the time of the recording of Alan's 'Tartuffe Suite'.

ALAN GIBBS was born in 1932 in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, where he attended the local grammar school. Here his teacher, Edwin Rose, provided musical inspiration, and at 18 Alan became an ARCO and won a music scholarship to Durham University. After National Service, Alan went into schoolteaching, but continued to study composition under Matyas Seiber. Alan's 'Sonata 1' for Organ was composed for John Webster who played it at the Internationale Orgelwoche in Nuremberg, and 'Sonata 2' was for Conrad Eden, who recorded it for RCA on the Durham Cathedral organ. Alan has composed many more pieces for the Organ, as well as for most other media, his performers including Kevin Bowyer, Martin Weyer, the McVicker-Barham Duo, Michael Rippon, Ramzi Yassa, Clifford Benson, BBC Singers, BBC Northern Singers, Chichester and Llandaff Cathedral choirs, to name but a few! Alan works extremely hard, and somehow has also found the time to edit and write books about Gustav Holst for Thames Publishing. Alan's music is published by Bardic Edition.

VIVIENNE WHYSALL is Alan's wife and Robert's mother, and a very talented cellist and pianist. She and her sister, Thirza, were born in Roorkee in northern India, attending Woodstock School in the Himalayas where the teaching of music was outstanding. Vivienne then came to England to study at the Royal College of Music, and subsequently studied Cello privately with Pierre Fournier and gave many recitals with her sister. She was a member of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

ROBERT WHYSALL GIBBS was born in London in 1965. He studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music, and also at Yale Summer School. His principal teachers have been Margaret Norris, Jaroslav Vanacek and Trevor Williams. He has taken part in master classes with Menuhin, Andrievsky, Delay, Harth, Osim and others. He has studied chamber music with the Tokyo and Fine Arts Quartets and Hans Keller. He has won many awards, including the English-Speaking Union, Royal Overseas League and Countess of Munster awards, the Gold Medal at the Royal College of Music in 1987, as well as ten other violin and chamber music prizes. He was offered scholarships to the RCM and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and accepted the former, having gained his ARCM with Honours before entering.

Since leaving the Royal College, Robert has performed the major concerto repertoire with various orchestras, and has appeared as a soloist on many occasions with the London Festival Orchestra at the Barbican Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Albert Hall, as well as abroad in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, throughout the Far East and in South and Central America. He has also given many recitals in the UK, two recital tours in Japan, broadcast recitals for Radio France and Hong Kong Radio, plus several solo broadcasts for the BBC and Classic FM Radio in Britain.

Recent recordings include Arnold Bax violin sonatas (with Mary Mei-Loc Wu) and Rawsthorne and Korngold chamber music (with the Carl Flesch Quartet) for ASV; Stravinsky's 'Soldier's Tale' and 'Pulchinella' and Corelli's Concerti Grossi for Arte Nova; and Elgar sketches for the companion CD to the BBC Symphony Orchestra's première recording of his Third Symphony in Anthony Payne's elaboration. Robert is now Leader of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, as well as Guest leader of the New Queen's Hall, BBC Philharmonic, London Festival and other orchestras at home and abroad.

Michiko Ueno

MICHIKO UENO, Robert's wife and mother to their three young children, Marina, Thomas and Isa, was born in Tokyo in 1969 and was a pupil at the famous Toho Music High School. She came to England to study at the Royal College of Music, her violin teacher being Jaroslav Vanacek, and took her Violin Recital and Teachers' Diplomas in 1990. She has since performed regularly in the Glyndebourne Touring Opera and other orchestras, including frequent deputizing in the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Michiko and Robert have given two-violin recitals in Tokyo and London. Their children are already showing signs of having inherited the family's musical genes. Michiko's picture was taken during the recording session at LBC's studios for the music for 'Sherlock Holmes'.

Many thanks to Alan for kindly providing all the biographical details.




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