photo: Ben Ealovega

“refined and elegantly poised.”

BBC Music Magazine on SEI SOLO

Thomas Bowes is one of the UK’s finest violinists. In addition to his concert performances and classical recordings, he is very active in the realm of cinema, and millions have heard him on the soundtracks of over 200 film credits.

Between 1988 and 1993, Bowes was the founding leader of the Maggini String Quartet and together with his wife, the composer and pianist Eleanor Alberga, formed the duo Double Exposure in 1995. They toured extensively with concerts and broadcasts in the United States and Europe and together they made a major tour of China in 1997, winning the hearts of their audiences wherever they played. They returned to China in November 2019. 

Between 2003 and 2015, he was the Artistic Director of the Langvad Chamber Music Jamboree in Denmark.  More recently, with Alberga, he founded the music festival Arcadia in North Herefordshire, England.

Bowes’s Bach Pilgrimage performance series is a feature of every season and future events will take him all over the world. In 2019 he was given a Sebastian Award by the Ars Ante Portas Civic Association of Bratislava, Slovakia for his “Extraordinary contribution in maintaining public appreciation of the work of J.S. Bach.”

His concerto appearances in the UK, Germany, and the United States have included highly praised performances of concertos by Elgar, Britten, Szymanowski and Walton. He has also been a constant advocate of Alberga’s music, and has given first performances of many of her works including her two violin concertos. With the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conducted by Joseph Swensen, a world premiere recording of both concertos is due for release on the Lyrita label in late 2021.

Bowes’s recording of the complete Bach sonatas and partitas, SEI SOLO, was released in 2018 on the Navona Records label to great critical acclaim. Laurence Vittes in Gramophone Magazine noted it was “deeply human…unusually communicative…a succession of miracles.” Navona also released Bowes’s EUGÈNE YSAŸE: SIX SONATAS FOR SOLO VIOLIN in 2020. Critics noted a depth of interpretation and characterisation. The recording was nominated for the solo instrumental category of the International Classical Music Awards.

Bowes is privileged to own and play a violin by one of the great Cremonese makers: a splendid 1659 Nicolo Amati.

Albums

Wild Blue Yonder

Release Date: April 23, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6346
20th Century
21st Century
Chamber
Cello
Oboe
Violin
Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in  WILD BLUE YONDER, an equally diverse and coherent set of four contemporary chamber music pieces. While written over the course of twenty-two years, these pieces burst the limits of both space and time. No-Man’s-Land Lullaby reaches back over a century to World War I; Shining Gate of Morpheus enters the realm of the mystical; Succubus Moon explores the dark sides of the  human psyche; and The Wild Blue Yonder offers a glimpse into a world that is at once alien and  wonderful. Undauntedly, positively unsettling album; perfect listening for these unsettling times and a worthy addition to the much hailed album of Alberga's three string quartets from 2019.
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Six Sonatas for Solo Violin

Release Date: April 10, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6281
Romantic
Solo Instrumental
Violin
Acclaimed English violinist Thomas Bowes seems to have a penchant for thoroughness and completion. Known and praised for his complete recording of all J. S. Bach’s sonatas and partitas, the European virtuoso has now taken it upon himself to embark on another quest for totality. This time, it is the six sonatas by Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), presented on Bowes' new album, EUGÈNE YSAŸE: SIX SONATAS FOR SOLO VIOLIN. As one would expect from Bowes, they are played to passionate perfection.
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String Quartets 1, 2, & 3

Release Date: June 14, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6234
20th Century
21st Century
Chamber
String Quartet
With her richly diverse background and commissions from the BBC Proms and The Royal Opera, one would expect that composer Eleanor Alberga’s Navona Records release would be nothing short of a showstopper. It is just that and more. The three pieces on her STRING QUARTETS 1, 2 & 3 offer a penetrating view into Alberga’s creative genius. The album pulls the absolute best from the gifted Ensemble Arcadiana.
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Sei Solo

Release Date: June 8, 2018
Catalog Number: NV6159
Baroque
Solo Instrumental
Violin
Thomas Bowes' SEI SOLO shines the spotlight on the sonatas and partitas for solo violin composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1720. Bowes believes that these six stand-alone compositions, while each individually offering insight into Bach's genius reveal more when taken as one epic work - and especially when set against the tragedy in Bach’s life in the year of composition.
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