Friday, 14 August 2009

Get ready for the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts

FINAL preparations are beginning made for the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts to take place in Radnorshire's cultural capital over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Concerts, talks, composers in conversation, exhibitions, poetry readings, film, children's shows and guided walks, some for free, are among the 30 events this year. St Andrew's Church,
Presteigne, is the hub and the jewel in the festival's crown, other performances take the festival out to the beautiful countryside of the surrounding Welsh Marches.

Outstanding Welsh musical polymath, Huw Watkins, is composer-in-residence and will take part in three events as concerto soloist, chamber music player and recital partner. His work is represented in a variety of orchestral, chamber and instrumental pieces.

Presteigne loves to celebrate important musical anniversaries and this year is the 70th birthday of John McCabe; Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe's 80th and it's also Haydn year. There's an amazing series of chamber and orchestral masterworks by composers like J S Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Françaix, Janácek, Martinu, Mathias, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Ravel, Schumann, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

The Presteigne Festival is well-known for its continuing commitment to the performance and promotion of contemporary music and has been regularly nominated, and in 2003 was short-listed for the annual Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.

For the 2009 Festival, five of the UK's brightest composers have been commissioned to write new works: a saxophone concerto from Martin Butler, a piano concerto from Gabriel Jackson, a string quartet from Adrian Williams, a solo cello piece from David Matthews and a work for saxophone quartet from Steve Martland.

The Festival also premieres a new
solo cello piece by David Knotts. Seven British composers have written piano miniatures to celebrate the 70th birthday of John McCabe and his connection with Haydn. They are James Francis Brown, Peter Fribbins, John Hawkins, David Matthews, Alan Mills, Matthew Taylor and Hugh Wood.

Other living composers whose work features at the 2009 Festival include Sally Beamish, Richard Rodney Bennett, Philip Cashian, Jonathan Dove, Robin Holloway, Nicola LeFanu, Colin Matthews, John McCabe, Cecilia McDowall, Steve Reich, Michael Torke and Ian Wilson.

The artist roster is very impressive indeed, and includes well-established musicians with an international reputation together with some wonderfully talented younger performers, including: the Carducci Quartet; James Gilchrist (tenor); Zephirus Saxophone Quartet; Gemma Rosefield (cello); Huw Watkins (piano); Richard Watkins (horn); Alexandra Wood (violin); Amy Dickson (saxophone); Gretel Dowdeswell (piano); Tom Hankey (violin); Catherine King (mezzo-soprano); Pippa Goss (soprano); Michael Bundy (baritone); The City of Canterbury Chamber Choir and the Presteigne Festival Orchestra - hand-picked from some of the UK's finest young professionals, conducted by Artistic Director, George Vass.

The Festival is taking place from August 27 to September 1 and is supported by Arts Council of Wales.

For a free brochure call the Box Office on 01544 267800 or find the full programme at:

1 comment:

  1. Running a saxophone quartet myself I think it's fantastic to see saxophone music in concert! Should be amazing.


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