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Unexpected Songs. Eclectic, Ethnic, and a new departure for Julian Lloyd Webber

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Unexpected Songs is the title of Julian Lloyd Webber's fortieth CD – and his fourth for EMI Classics. Branching out in new directions, the renowned cellist performs 20 tracks reflecting a wide range of music from classical to traditional folk and from film to show music by composers hailing from fourteen different countries. "There is an ethnic side to this disc," said Julian Lloyd Webber, "that represents a new departure for me." Performing alongside Lloyd Webber are the "Queen of Harpists", Catrin Finch and pianist John Lenehan, amongst other musical friends. The album's title track, Unexpected Song, from the musical Song and Dance by Lloyd Webber's brother Andrew, features a guest appearance by Britain's leading musical star and multi-platinum recording artist Michael Ball.    

The eclectic repertoire of Unexpected Songs includes transcriptions of Chopin's Prelude in E minor, Schubert's Serenade, In Haven (Capri) by Elgar, In Trutina from Orff's Carmina Burana, Faure's Sicilienne, Rimsky-Korsakov's Chant Hindou, Quilter's Music When Soft Voices Die, MacDowell's To a Wild Rose and Hahn's L'Heure Exquise and Chloris. These works are complemented by renditions of Piazzolla's Oblivion, traditional Scottish and Irish  songs together with a version of Lady D'Arbanville by Cat Stevens, A Gift of a Thistle from the film Braveheart and Hushabye Mountain from the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Another highlight is an arrangement of Songbird (Koyal) by Nitin Sawhney, the acclaimed producer/songwriter/DJ.

Julian Lloyd Webber's previous recording for EMI Classics was released last year. Phantasia, in which he performs with exclusive EMI artist Sarah Chang and the London Symphony Orchestra, is based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's enormously successful musical, The Phantom of the Opera. Julian has also made world premiere recordings for EMI of concertos by Arthur Sullivan and Michael Nyman.
Julian Lloyd Webber, considered one of today's most creative musicians, has collaborated with an extraordinary array of musicians from Yehudi Menuhin, Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner and Georg Solti to Stephane Grappelli, Elton John and Cleo Laine. He has given more than fifty works their premiere recordings and has inspired new compositions for the cello by many composers including Malcolm Arnold, Joaquin Rodrigo, James MacMillan, Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. Among his celebrated recordings is the Brit-Award winning Elgar Cello Concerto, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin and chosen by BBC Music Magazine as the finest version available. His recording coupling Britten's Cello Symphony with Walton's Cello Concerto, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, was described by Gramophone magazine as being "beyond any rival".

An extensive UK tour based on the repertoire of Unexpected Songs is planned for early autumn 2006. Julian Lloyd Webber will also tour Asia, Scandinavia and New Zealand this year. In addition to performing, he writes a regular column for The Daily Telegraph. His personal website is