“I remember particularly vividly a beautiful evening at Highclere Castle with the Aronowitz Ensemble.”
Welcome to the new website, where we will continue to upload details of the 2020 programme until the publication of the Festival Guide on 15 January, when you will be able to see details of the entire Festival. Meanwhile I am delighted to outline a summary of what promises to be a vintage year.
To celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, the Festival will open with an all Beethoven programme from BBC Symphony Orchestra under their chief conductor Sakari Oramo with Paul Lewis , one of Britain’s finest pianists. The next day we have more world class Beethoven with John Lill’s afternoon performance of some of the most popular piano sonatas, and a week later, this year’s Sheepdrove Piano Competition has Beethoven as its featured composer. Sir Nicholas Kenyon will be our guide to changing Beethoven performance styles in his talk at Shaw House on 19th May and two days later we will welcome members of Wiener Kammersymphonie to perform arrangements of Beethoven’s orchestral music for string quintet. Beethoven string quartets are included in Consone Quartet’s Young Artists Recital and Behn Quartet’s performance, A Taste of Germany at The Vineyard.
Nearer to our own times we mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in Churchill biographer Andrew Roberts’ talk at Englefield House.
This year we visit two new venues, St John’s Newbury where renowned oboist Nicholas Daniel is joined by members of the Britten Oboe Quartet, and Church of The Ascension Burghclere for the Vienna Chamber Symphony string quintet concert. We will return to Englefield for a 20th anniversary concert by 4 Girls 4 Harps, to St Mary’s Shaw with Northern Chords Ensemble, to Kintbury with festival favourites the Kinsky Trio, and to Sheepdrove for Mikhail Kasakevich’s piano recital. For the first time we welcome Scottish Fiddlers RANT to Donnington Priory, and musical theatre star Liz Robertson to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s private theatre at Sydmonton.
Highlights of the Corn Exchange programme include popular vocal group The Sons of Pitches, Clare Teal and her trio, The Dominic Alldis Trio with their tribute to Jacques Loussier, IDMC Gospel Choir, leading steel band Solid Steel Ambassadors, Bollywood Brass Band with their tribute to R D Burman, Derek Paravacini with his new quartet, and satirical duo Bounder & Cad. Lux Musicae reveal The Hidden Origins of Flamenco, while in their lunchtime recital Ensemble Hesperi show the influence of Scottish folk music on native baroque composers. Graduating students from Ballet Central and Chichester University Musical Theatre Company return with new shows, and for our younger audiences we present The Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Waterperry Opera. Other young artists appearing in our lunchtime recital series include brilliant horn virtuoso Ben Goldscheider, prize-winning cellist Jonathan Swenson, and guitarists extraordinaire duo. On 13th May we are privileged to welcome for his festival debut Ukranian baritone Andrei Kymach, winner of the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World for an evening of Tchaikovsky Rachmaninov and Ukranian songs.
Other vocal and choral highlights include British star soprano Lucy Crowe, returning to Hungerford for an all Strauss recital, contralto Hilary Summers in her hilarious cabaret What’s So Great About Opera? at Combe Manor, The Carice Singers at East Woodhay with a musical celebration of Spring, the welcome return of amazing Solomon’s Knot to Ramsbury for an evening of Bach cantatas, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen returning to Douai Abbey in their 20th anniversary Choral Pilgrimage, and our own Festival Chorus teaming up with London Mozart Players for a performance of Mozart’s Vespers and Coronation Mass conducted by Stephen Barlow.
Our last night at St Nicolas Church promises to be a very special occasion: the debut visit of St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra under Nikolai Alexeev, and one of the final performance by much loved violinist Tasmin Little before her early retirement from the concert platform, in a performance of a work which she and I have longed to bring to Newbury, the ravishing Korngold Violin Concerto.
Mark Eynon, Festival Director
“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!”