Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A great Director retires

Andrew Jowett in Symphony Hall Birmingham

Last night was a momentous occasion, as hundreds from the world of classical music gathered on the stage to celebrate the achievements of the retiring Director of Symphony Hall Birmingham. This was a milestone for me too, a celebration of my long friendship with Andrew Jowett, going back to his first commissions in 1990, for what was to become the largest collection of my work in the world: thirty-two paintings of great musicians he programmed to perform in this great hall - Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Bernard Haitink and more.

During the last twenty-eight years Andrew Jowett and Symphony Hall became inseparable. So I’ve portrayed Andrew standing with disarming modesty, proud yet relaxed, as he warmly welcomes us into his second home. His gaze betrays the understanding and wisdom of his long experience as Director. I see him as a pillar of strength amidst the music that swirls around him in the renowned acoustics and beautiful colours of ”his” concert hall. The free brush-strokes of this watercolour also reflect an imaginative and dynamic entrepreneur, still full of ideas, even as he retires. The background is a reference to my painting The Mahler Experience - perhaps the most popular of all the paintings he commissioned me to paint for the Symphony Hall Collection. See you around, Andrew - we know that you have much more to offer the world.

Andrew Jowett in Symphony Hall Birmingham
Watercolour 70 x 52 cm, Norman Perryman, 2016.