September Festival Launch

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September Festival Launch

We’re delighted to announce our return in the Autumn with two weeks of world class music.

After the most challenging time in the Festival’s history, with three cancelled programmes, Newbury Spring Festival returns in the Autumn with a programme of 40 concerts and performances featuring many of the artists who should have taken part over the last couple of years. While the Festival hopes that social distancing regulations will no longer be in place, to be on the safe side they have taken the decision to focus on their three largest venues, St Nicolas Church, Newbury Corn Exchange and Douai Abbey.
The Festival will open with Bach’s St Matthew Passion, with tenor Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist. The two following Saturdays will feature two leading British orchestras, Royal Philharmonic with Paul Daniel and Jennifer Pike for a concert of Mozart and Vaughan Williams, and London Philharmonic performing Beethoven and Brahms with Richard Farnes and Paul Lewis, who the following day will join the jury for the final of the postponed 2020 Sheepdrove Piano Competition. With its focus on Beethoven, the Festival is honoured that one of the world’s leading Beethoven interpreters not to mention the former director of Leeds International Piano Competition will join the panel of judges.

The Festival is equally delighted to welcome back another of Britain’s greatest pianists, Benjamin Grosvenor for his fourth appearance since his Festival debut aged eighteen a decade ago, in an afternoon recital including both Chopin and Liszt’s B minor sonatas. Seven lunchtime recitals will see performances by young artists at the start of their careers including BBC New Generation Artists Consone Quartet, Elysium Brass, star horn soloist Ben Goldscheider and Charles Maxtone-Smith, the current organ scholar at Westminster Abbey.
The evening programme features a showcase of more established young talent including a quintet from Vienna Kammersymphonie, members of National Youth Jazz Orchestra, celebrity guitar buskers Duo, folk fusion ensemble Kabantu, young Spanish saxophonist Manu Brazo, the brilliant Castalian String Quartet, the all-female Behn Quartet, and from London’s Royal College of Music, under the direction of rising conductor Nicolo Foron, an ensemble of their finest wind players for a concert culminating in Mozart’s Serenade for 13 Winds, his “Gran Partita”.
The Corn Exchange programme opens with the award winning acapella group Sons of Pitches, followed by IDMC Gospel Choir, Solid Steel Ambassadors, Dominic Alldis Trio, Derek Paravicini, Bounder & Cad and Clare Teal, all postponed from last year. Sir Nicholas Kenyon will talk about is new book and Andrew Roberts will give his postponed talk about Churchill while Colin Harrison from the Ashmolean Museum will give a lecture on their collection of historic instruments including the most famous violin in the world, Antonio Stradivari’s “Messiah”.
Rachmaninov’s life story is brought to the Festival in words and music by Russian soprano IIona Domnich, writer Michael White and piano accompanist Sholto Kynoch while British soprano Ruby Hughes returns to St Nicolas Church in two contrasting events, firstly with her own trio in “Heroines of Love and Loss” and later joins three other outstanding singers, Ema Nikolovska, Ben Johnson and Jonathan McGovern in a Gala evening of operatic arias, ensembles and songs under the direction of Festival Chorus Master Tom Primrose.

While the Festival Chorus has understandably had to wait until 2022 for their return, the Festival continues to present some of Britain’s great director led choral companies: Christopher Monks and his Armonico Consort in Bach’s St Matthew Passion, George Parris’s Carice Singers with a programme of mainly English 20th and 21st century gems, Nigel Short and Tenebrae bringing their Russian Treasures to Douai Abbey, and Solomon’s Knot who return for an evening of Bach Cantatas, under the direction of founder music director Jonathan Sells.

Do look at the calendar to see further details of each event. 

Donate to the Festival

The financial implications of having to cancel the 2020 Festival in order to safeguard the health of our audiences, artists and staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, were huge. We can’t wait to get back to what we do best, bringing the best world-class music to Newbury as soon as we are able. But to do this we need your support.

So, we are asking you, and everyone we know, to make a donation to help us survive this extraordinary situation so that we can return next year with two weeks of world-class music.

If you are able, we would be delighted if you might make a one-off donation to support the future of the Newbury Spring Festival.