Chamber music festival returns

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Peasmarsh at night

The Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival is thrilled to announce its programme and artists for this year’s festival. Taking place at the end of June, we are bringing world-class musicians to this small but beautiful corner of the East Sussex countryside. With ten concerts over four days, June 23- 26, the festival allows audiences to enjoy international chamber music on their doorstep and has become a significant event in the regional cultural calendar.

As the days grow longer, we look ahead to magical midsummer days of music-making in this idyllic setting. Artistic directors Anthony Marwood and Richard Lester have created an inspiring and diverse programme of classical music spanning many centuries of creativity and are joined by a superlative roster of world class artists.

Making a welcome return for the 24th edition of the festival is classical accordion player James Crabb; the wonderful violinist Magnus Johnston and the celebrated Heath Quartet. Outstanding violist of the Jerusalem Quartet Ori Kam joins us for the first time, as does award-winning Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar who performs his critically acclaimed interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on Sunday morning in Peasmarsh.

On Friday evening, our guests will be the brilliant young 12 Ensemble who will take to the stage in St Mary’s Rye, joining Anthony, Richard and James Crabb for our annual orchestral concerto concert. We are also delighted to be holding concerts in the Norman church in Peasmarsh, and stunning St Thomas’ Winchelsea, with its famous stained glass windows and scintillating acoustics.

Sally Beamish, one of Britain’s best known contemporary composers, is a particular focus of this year’s event and will be present for the duration of the festival in the guises of player and speaker as well as composer. The festival opens with her Carnival Samba ‘Floreant’ (originally written for Peasmarsh Festival founding ensemble, the Florestan Trio in 2003) performed by Marwood, Lester and Minnaar, while Celtic flavoured Seavaigers for violin, classical accordion and strings is performed by Marwood and Crabb with 12 Ensemble as part of the larger concert in St Mary’s Church in Rye. Beamish also picks up her viola to perform as part of a Sunday afternoon talk alongside Crabb to discuss their lives in music.

With such an array of top flight musicians in residence, the choice of chamber music is boundless. This year the programme includes such gems as Mozart’s first String Quintet, String Quartets by Britten and Haydn and Britten’s Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge performed by the 12 Ensemble. Less frequently performed works include Beethoven’s string quintet, and Korngold’s epic and exotic Suite for 2 violins, cello and piano left hand, Op.23 written just before he left Vienna for Hollywood.

Every Peasmarsh Festival programme has an unexpected element – and in 2022 it’s the classical accordion in the hands of Scottish virtuoso James Crabb, recognised as a leading authority on the works of Astor Piazzolla and acclaimed worldwide for his versatile musicianship. He celebrates the world of Argentine tango with Marwood and Lester in the festival’s ambient late night spot as well as weaving his distinctive sound into the fabric of the festival programme in other recitals.

Peasmarsh Festival is also committed to working with local schoolchildren. Young people from Peasmarsh, Beckley, Rye, Icklesham and Winchelsea primary schools, many of whom will be hearing a string quartet live for the first time, are given the opportunity to perform their own compositions – under the directorship of inspired animateur, composer and cellist Sam Glazer in two free concerts with the Heath Quartet in Peasmarsh and Winchelsea. Interactive workshops will be offered in all five schools ahead of the festival.

The full festival programme and booking brochure are available to download at www.peasmarshfestival.co.uk.

Image Credits: Walter van Dyck .

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