“I remember particularly vividly a beautiful evening at Highclere Castle with the Aronowitz Ensemble.”
The 2023 Festival is now finished
The King’s Coronation coincided with the opening of this year’s Festival, so it was an especially celebratory start, with a free live broadcast of the service at St Nicolas Church before we joined Jess Gillam and her band in party mood at the Corn Exchange. We decided to move our opening concert at St Nicolas Church to Sunday 7th May we heard our wonderful Festival Chorus in Rossini’s joyful Petite Messe Solennelle with a line-up of world-class soloists headed by Lucy Crowe.
Lucy returned a week later to St Mary’s Shaw in an all-Strauss recital; other vocal and choral highlights included The Tallis Scholars’ 50th Anniversary concert at Douai Abbey and Sansara’s performance at Highclere, curated to celebrate the Castle’s four garden follies. Englefield House, the festival’s other stately home venue, was the perfect setting for Tama Matheson’s musical play about Lord Byron and for Hugo Vickers’ talk After the Coronation.
We continued to present many young artists at the start of their careers and in addition to the Young Artists Recital Series, the annual Sheepdrove Piano Competition, and the return of Ballet Central to the Corn Exchange, I was delighted to welcome Tom Featherstonehaugh and his inspirational Fantasia Orchestra for some nocturnal magic at St Lawrence’s Hungerford, and young horn star Ben Goldscheider and his trio to Bughclere. We also brought the age range even younger in the showcase of local student musicians curated by Hogan Music for their evening at the Corn Exchange.
We celebrated Rachmaninov’s 150th anniversary with performances by Steven Osborne, Freddy Kempf and the Estonian Symphony Orchestra, Mikhail Kazakevich, Maciej Kulakowski, and as the featured composer of the 2023 Sheepdrove Piano Competition. It was the ideal opportunity to present David Lean’s classic film Brief Encounter, whose score brought his Second Piano Concerto to national attention and made it the most popular concerto of its time. We, however, on Saturday 13th May heard his First Concerto, less well known but in my opinion equally wonderful.
Despite the financial challenges and alarming rates of inflation affecting the country I am proud to say that most ticket prices were maintained at 2022 levels, and in some cases even reduced, to try and make attending the Festival possible for everyone.
We were also very pleased to welcome Viking as festival-wide supporters this year alongside our existing principal event sponsor Greenham Trust.
We are grateful to all our Sponsors, to the Festival Friends, to our loyal army of volunteers and to you, our audiences, for your continuing support of Newbury Spring Festival.
I look forward to welcoming you back to the Festival in 2024: 11-25 May.
Platinum Friends Priority booking TBC early 2024
Gold Friends booking TBC early 2024
Friends booking TBC early 2024
Public booking TBC early 2024
Find out more about becoming a Friend here
Sign up to our mailing list to be among the first to hear when our 2024 Festival goes on sale.
“It was one of my first professional concerts after the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2000. I’ve since returned a few times and know what a special atmosphere it is there.”
“Thank you so much for organising this wonderful event. It was a great pleasure for me to be a part of it. And thank you for such hospitality, it was amazing!”