Welcome to the Royal Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival which, this year, takes place during October 2016 and commences on Sunday 2nd October with the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra concert that also marks the start of the RTWSO’s 2016-17 season. The town’s excellent symphony orchestra reflects the vibrant musical life of Tunbridge Wells and we are delighted to highlight the impressive breadth of classical music that this fine large ensemble delivers during its October to April season (see www.rtwso.org for full details).
We are now enjoying our second decade as a Festival of Music and the Arts, held annually in and around Tunbridge Wells, the cultural hub of the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Weald. Our regular followers, from the towns and villages of the South-East, can look forward to an attractive mix of orchestral music, chamber music, master classes, jazz, film and fun events for children.
The centre piece of the 2016 Festival will be a very special day featuring two wonderful concerts at the Assembly Hall Theatre on Sunday 9th October:
At 12 noon "Crash Bang Wallop!” - A Concert for Children (ages 3-8 years). This 50 minutes concert for 3-8 year olds is a fun introduction to classical music – this time with a hilarious "The Mad Professor” theme. It is followed in the foyer areas with opportunities to try instruments, meet musicians, conduct a small ensemble ("Minute Maestro!), visit Percusssion Zoo and enjoy creative craft activities.
At 7.00 pm A Festival Gala Concert with the Grammy Award winning City of London Sinfonia in "A Celebration of Mozart”. We are thrilled that one of the world’s greatest clarinetists Michael Collins will play Mozart’s much-loved Clarinet Concerto as well as conduct the CLS. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 1 will give us an opportunity to hear the brilliant playing of rising-star Irish pianist Michael McHale who now excites audiences in leading concert halls around the world. And delightful touches of Mozart opera, including an aria with Opera North soprano Jeni Bern, will round off what will be an enchanting celebration of Mozart’s heavenly music.
On Thursday 13th October at 8pm the Festival continues with world-class chamber music at Tunbridge Wells’ beautiful King Charles the Martyr Church when the internationally celebrated Schubert Ensemble returns to delight us with piano quintets by Bruch and Schumann as well as a short piano quartet by Piers Hellewell to celebrate the composer’s 60th Birthday. There will be a special Festival reception ahead of this concert in an adjacent location so look out for more details here.
We regularly cooperate with the south-east area branches of the English Speaking Union (ESU) in an annual Literary Lunch and this year the ESU has invited us to join them on Monday 10th October at their Mayfair HQ, historic Dartmouth House in Charles Street W1J 5ED. We shall hear an address by the Director General on the ESU’s work, especially in the development of confidence and communication skills in young people (including, incidentally, ESU support for talented young musicians). This will be followed by an ESU Literary Lunch and talk by author Luke Harding about developments in contemporary Russia and his book "A Very Expensive Poison” on the troubling Litvinenko episode. .
The 2016 Music Festival will also hold a Flute Master Class led by Professor Karen Jones of the Royal Academy of Music (Karen is one of Europe’s most admired flute soloists); and, in the centenary year of Yehudi Menuhin’s birth, celebrated Film Director Tony Palmer will show his award-winning and heart-rending film MENUHIN – A Family Portrait..
Enjoy the 2016 Festival!
Michael Waggett, Festival Chairman