[Taveena Atsu | Features Sub Editor]
On the 9th of November, we had the extremely talented de Havilland Philharmonics perform a classical concert with illustrator David Mayhew, and conductor Robin Browning.
On the day, Mayhew, Browning and the orchestra intertwined art and classical music to perform a magical complication of children’s stories.
Particularly passionate about art, Mayhew explains to us that he has ‘always loved art’.
Typically, David illustrates children’s books and has worked in collaboration with a number of people. “Usually I write and illustrate my own stories, but it’s quite nice to work with another writer, then you haven’t got to worry about the words, you can just concentrate on the illustrations.”
He certainly had the chance to concentrate solely on illustrations at the concert, as he painted in time with the music to produce prizes for a raffle draw after the show. “A lot of the music is very short; some music is only two minutes long so I have to paint very fast.”
We also joined the rather animated Robin Browning in his dressing room before the show who, with the aid of his “very charismatic head of music at school”, has been a composer since the age of fifteen. Robin has played a variety of instruments from pianos, to violins and clarinets -which hurt his mouth. However, he prefers to conduct and uses instruments “as a tool to compose.”
They put on a wonderful show; David gave a summary of each story with the music playing after each story was told. David then painted in harmony with the music, leaving the audience guessing about what they were watching being created.
There was even an encore at the end, giving another crowd member the chance to win another illustration. Little faces lit up as they saw it come to life as they listened to the melodies floated through the air. The concert was closed with a William Tell overture, which the children bobbed up and down to whilst they watched the last piece of art come to life.