Thursday 6 August 2015

Somewhere for the weekend - Presteigne Festival

Poppies - Presteigne
The Presteigne Festival is now in its 33rd year. Based in Presteigne / Gwyl Llanandras in Radnorshire in the Welsh Marches, the festival manages to cram an enormous amount of vital music making into its six days, running from 27 August to 1 September 2015. As well as celebrating the 150th anniversaries of Sibelius and Nielsen, the festival also has its usual emphasis on new music. Composer Matthew Taylor will be in residence, and there are pieces by Charlotte Bray, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, David Knotts, David Matthews, Cecilia McDowall, Joseph Phibbs and Michael Small. Matthew Taylor will have six pieces performed during the festival and will be participating in pre-concert talks and as well as talking to Thomas Hyde about his life, passions and favourite music.

The final concert of the festival will honour John McCabe (1939-2015), with George Vass conducting the Presteigne Festival Orchestra in premieres by Matthew Taylor, and David Knotts, plus music by John McCabe, Carl Nielsen and Joseph Haydn.

Artist director George Vass will be conducting his own Nova Music Opera in a double bill of contemporary operas dealing with notorious events in recent British history, with Charlotte Bray's Entanglement looking at Ruth Ellis and Thomas Hyde's That Man Stephen Ward looking at the Profumo scandal. Entanglement features Kirsty Hopkins, Howard Quilla Croft and Greg Tassell, whilst That Man Stephen Ward features Damian Thantrey. Both operas are directed by Richard Williams.

Visitors include the choir of Royal Holloway, conductor Rupert Gough, the Navarra Quartet and pianist Tom Poster, and soprano Gillian Keith. Events also include festival exhibitions, including one devoted to the work of Sir Sidney Nolan, and a variety of talks and poetry events.

Further information from the Presteigne Festival website.

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