Friday 13 July 2018

New Hardy settings open Thomas Hardy Society conference.

The Wessex Consort at Hardy's Grave
The Wessex Consort at Hardy's Grave
Tomorrow (14 July 2018), the 23 biennial International Thomas Hardy Conference and Festival will open at Kingston Maurward College with a public concert by the Wessex Consort, conductor Andrew King, performing settings of Hardy's poems by the late Graham Stansfield (1940-2018). The festival, organised by the Thomas Hardy Society in its 50 year, will celebrate the life and work of the great author in a series of special events, talks and study sessions.

The Wessex Consort, a professional vocal ensemble, was founded by Graham Stansfield and Andrew King in 2015, and the consort gave the premiere of Stansfield's Hardy settings earlier this year in the composer's presence, a short time before his death. Composer Graham Stansfield had a fascinating career, classically trained first as a chorister in Westminster Abbey Choir and then as a student with composer Herbert Howells at London University, Stansfield would go on to found the prog-rock band Rare Bird (under the name Graham Field), but would eventually return to classical music.

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