Situated in a small, intimate town on the Herefordshire/Powys border where England meets Wales, the Presteigne Festival has become a mecca for those seeking artistic nourishment and musical discovery in idyllic surroundings. With a truly forward looking commissioning policy, the organisation works closely with composers and artists to create and curate inspiring programmes and events for an ever-widening festival community.
Having greatly extended the artistic reach of the festival over the last three years, to be seen clearly in the development of both our performance programme and outreach activity, the 2013 Presteigne Festival (21-27 August) continues to forge ahead with a wide range of exciting new ventures.
To celebrate the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, and thanks to a new partnership with Nova Music Opera, the 2013 festival programme includes opera for the first time. There are double-bill performances of Britten's church opera masterpiece Curlew River, and a new chamber opera Hagar in the Wilderness, based on the biblical tale of Hagar and Abraham, specially commissioned from Scottish-based composer and librettist team Sally Beamish and Clara Glynn.
Britten forms the centre-pin around which much of this year's programme is based - not just a celebration of his music, but exploring Britten's musical influences, the music of those British composers who were influenced by him and those whom he considered his musical friends.
Gabriel Jackson, a long-time favourite at the Presteigne Festival, is composer-in-residence; he is represented by a number of chamber and choral works, a new string orchestra piece and a repeat of his hugely successful Piano Concerto commissioned by the Festival in 2009. We also celebrate the seventieth birthday of David Matthews, with his Double Concerto for violin, viola and string orchestra, commissioned in association with the Cheltenham Music Festival and Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
Other premieres include a new work for soprano and ensemble from Thomas Hyde and a group of songs for tenor and piano from David Matthews. The Festival is particularly pleased to announce a new association with the Royal Philharmonic Society; the first result of this initiative is a solo piano piece from Robert Peate, one of the winners of the 2012 RPS Composition Prize.
The Festival has undertaken a large amount of outreach work over the past three years, with successful education projects in 2010, Creating Landscapes and 2011/12, Singing Histories and a small project for elders in 2011, Sounds New. A further project for old people, Unlocking Memories, will take place in the late summer of 2013 - specifically designed with sufferers of dementia in mind, the festival will organise visits to local homes and hospitals using music and song to aid reminiscence of the past.
Also under the auspices of the festival's outreach programme, pianist Clare Hammond will undertake a further Presteigne Festival City Tour when new works performed at the Festival will be repeated at concerts in Birmingham, Bristol, Cheltenham and Corsham.
Our artist list for 2013 includes several young performers and a number of popular artists who once again return to Presteigne by popular request:
The Badke Quartet, Nova Music Opera, Sara Trickey (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), Clare Hammond (piano), Helen-Jane Howells (soprano), Andrew Tortise (tenor), Tim Lowe (cello), Sophie Yates (harpsichord), Catriona Scott (clarinet), Presteigne Festival Soloists, Chris Hopkins (piano/conductor), Sine Nomine International Touring Choir under Susan Hollingworth (director) and the Presteigne Festival Orchestra under George Vass, who this year celebrates twenty-one years as artistic director of the festival.
Posted: 6 June 2013
by George Vass
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