New music in Hastings

Polo Piatti, festival founder and artistic director, with Stephen Warbeck, composer

The third International Composers Festival, the only event of its kind anywhere in the world, will take place at the end of this month (September 24-26) with four concerts over three days in Hastings and Bexhill.

The purpose of the festival is to promote the creation and performance of high quality, melodic classical music by living composers. It also aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas and promote future working relationships between well-known composers, musicians and artists from around the world.

Composers are invited to submit music on a given theme, which this year is “Pictures”. The chosen works will be performed by the International Festival Orchestra, the Composer Festival Chorus, several prestigious ensemble groups, the Battle Abbey School Choir and by a number of outstanding international soloists.

The first concert on Thursday September 24 in All Saints’ Church in Hastings Old Town will feature the music of the distinguished Japanese composer Nobuya Monta. It will include the world premiere of his one act opera Otohime in its full orchestral version, performed in stunning national costumes by a cast who are flying in specially from Japan. Other works will be performed by the young Scottish violinist Daniel Rainey, flutist Hiroshi Oe and the renowned Danzi Osaka Quintet.

On Friday September 25 there will be a Gala Concert at St Mary’s-in-the-Castle in Hastings featuring world-premieres and performances of chosen works by talented composers from all over the world, including Mexico, Austria, Brazil, the US, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The concert will include a performance of excerpts from the highly anticipated multi-faith oratorio Libera Nos by the Hastings-based Argentinian-born composer Polo Piatti, who is the founder and Artistic Director of the Festival. It will involve the special participation of the Battle Abbey School Choir.

On the morning of Saturday September 26, the Festival moves to Bexhill where there will be a morning concert at the De La Warr Pavilion with European and world premieres of specially commissioned works by award-winning and up-and-coming composers including Jonathan Bruce, Anna Wilson and Kevin Riley, played by distinguished musicians such as Miho Sanou, Sue Bishop and the KIPHRA players.

The grand finale of the Festival will be a concert called A Feast of Film Music featuring music by some of today’s best-known composers for the cinema. They include Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), Patrick Hawes (The Incredible Mr Ritchie), Nigel Hess (Ladies in Lavender), Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean) and John Williams (Schindler’s List).

Other renowned composers featured will include Debbie Wiseman (Wolf Hall, Wilde and A Poet in New York) and Ian Livingstone (My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and numerous video games such as Napoleon: Total War). Many of these composers will be attending the festival in person.

A special feature of the Festival will be two open rehearsals, where members of the public can attend for free and see composers and musicians meeting for the first time to rehearse new works. The first will be at St Mary’s-in-the-Castle on the afternoon of Friday September 25 for that evening’s concert. The second will be at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill for the final concert of the Festival. Both will start at 3pm.

This year’s Festival will also feature two talks. On Thursday September 24 the well-known historical novelist and BBC broadcaster Richard Sumner will discuss the meaning and implications of this year’s theme ‘Pictures”, in a talk called Hegel and the Images of Evolution at All Saints Church at 6pm (free).

Then on Saturday September 26 at 1pm at the De La Warr Pavilion, award-winning writer and filmmaker Phil Grabsky will talk about his series of films called  In Search of… looking at major composers including Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Chopin. Tickets are £6.

For further information and details of how and where to buy tickets, visit the Festival website.




Photo Peter Mould