The Lewes Chamber Music Festival (6-8 June 2019) has become an extremely important feature in the diary of any music-lover in the South East! This year is the eighth festival, which was founded and created by young Lewesian violinist Beatrice Philips upon graduating from her musical studies in 2012. From International Opera Stars sidling over from Glyndebourne (Iestyn Davies 2016, Christopher Purves 2018) to fresh new talent and the ‘stars of tomorrow’, the Festival always boasts an extraordinary group of talented instrumentalists and singers coming together for one week of rehearsing and culminating in seven fantastic concerts based mainly in the beautifully re-furbished Trinity St John sub castro church. Some highlights of this year’s festival are:
World-class Harpist and Flautist heading to LCMF for the first time
This year for the first time, a harpist and a flautist will be joining the instrumentalists for a colourful and sumptuous programme of concerts based around the celebration of French turn-of-the-century composition. Joined by violist and LCMF regular James Boyd they will perform Debussy’s Sonata for harp, flute and viola at the Coffee Concert, held on Saturday morning at the All Saints Centre. This concert is sponsored by local cafe ‘Ground Coffee’ who will be providing their locally roasted coffee before the concert. The Festival Finale includes Ravel’s beautiful ‘Introduction and Allegro‘ for septet which also heavily features the harp and flute.
Hugh Webb is one of the country’s most celebrated harpists having held the Principal position with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for many years and recorded and premiered many major contemporary works for solo harp.
Adam Walker is undoubtedly one of today’s most talented young flautists having won the Principal Flute job with the LSO at the age of only 21. He now plays regularly in recital at London’s Wigmore Hall and all over the world.
Don’t miss these spectacular artists performing live, on your doorstep!
First ever children’s concert at the Lewes Chamber Music Festival
Cleverly named after Debussy’s set of piano works, this gem of a concert is specially designed for introducing children to the world of chamber music. Every instrument present at LCMF will feature in this concert, playing bite-sized but brilliant works by Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Messiaen, and Ravel. For the first time Lewes Chamber Music Festival has officially invited more than five local primary school classes to attend this concert, having sent a group of musicians to perform at their schools last month.
Artistic Director, Beatrice Philips says “Having been surrounded by music from a young age and had the chance to start learning the violin aged 5, I am extremely keen to give access to brilliant music to as many young children as possible through this Festival. I was lucky to attended numerous music classes both at school and also in Lewes through the County Music Service. The diminishing of music from everyday school curricula and the financial cuts to county services is extremely worrying to me and although I know the Festival cannot change those things, I hope giving local children this chance to hear performances presented by friendly professional musicians up close, both at their school and then again at a real concert in the Festival, is an inspiration and something they will remember and cherish.”
A highlight of this year’s festival will undoubtedly be Alasdair Beatson’s performance of Harrison Birtwistle’s Harrison’s Clocks at Concert 6 entitled ‘After Noon’. Beatson first performed this piece at King’s Place last November receiving five-star reviews, as part of a concert he himself programmed around a central theme of ‘time’. The work is divided into five sections or ‘Clock mechanisms’ that take their inspiration from the work of his 17th-century nautical clockmaker namesake John Harrison. It’s a piece that describes a fascination with repetition, patterns, both rhythmic and melodic, spiralling in and out of each other’s orbits.
This piece is preceded by a work written almost exactly two centuries earlier by Joseph Haydn: his Symphony No.101 (nick-named ‘the clock’) heard in a rarely performed arrangement for piano, flute and string quartet. This arrangement was created by Peter Salomon who arranged many of Haydn’s symphonies at the time of their premier in order that musicians could hear the works in their own houses – true chamber music!
The Lewes Chamber Music Festival runs from 6-8 June 2019. Full details can be found at www.leweschambermusicfestival.com