Orchestra electrifies audiences


We often hear that classical music concerts in and around Rye are “elitist” I would certainly agree this is true about the exceptional talents we are lucky to have performing here in this remote corner of East Sussex. The 16 piece chamber orchestra performing on stage at the Creative Centre last Saturday in their opening concert of the Bridgepoint Music season proves the point. An enthusiastic audience sat amid impressive art works by local artists. They gave soloist Mathilda Wilwidsky spontaneous and repeated applause for her performance of Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D Minor. The collective atmosphere was electrified by these passionate musicians.

Without the expense and inconvenience of having to travel up to London for a world class display of infectious energy like this, we classical music lovers are incredibly lucky to have it all happening right here in Rye. Tickets at the Creative Centre are very reasonably priced, the space is an easy walk across the bridge from the centre of Rye, by car there is ample parking and there is a bar for drinks. This, with plenty of time after performances to enjoy a good dinner back at home or in one of Rye’s many restaurants. What’s not to like?

Fine art and music at Rye’s Creative Centre

London’s leading conservatories continue to attract exceptional students from around the world to study with renowned faculties, but since London concerts became impossible because of the pandemic, many young and mid-career musicians have lost opportunities to earn their living through their music. Many musicians are moving to this part of the world as house prices are cheaper and we are looking forward to hearing more about them through the work of this enterprising new music charity, Bridgepoint Music, founded by Sarah Kowitz and managed by violinist Tom Elliot.

There are three strands to the work of Bridgepoint Music. Every Saturday, their string orchestra gives local school-aged children the opportunity to experience ensemble playing. The Bridgepoint Ensemble have given six artistically diverse public concerts in Rye since we emerged from lockdown and an exciting new series is planned or this next season. Residents in local care homes will also benefit from “A list” musicians playing just for them in the Bridgepoint in Mind, an important strand being develop by Tom and his musicians. A new residency and festival in July 2023 called Consonance at Bridgepoint will be inviting young string quartets from London’s music colleges to apply for residencies at Fairlight. Coaching, mentoring and performance opportunities and a symposium will bring together young singers and composers of new music creation led by the eminent conductor and composer Stephen Barlow.

The vision of the founders and trustees of Bridgepoint Music is to improve people’s lives through the power of music. This is not a socially elitist objective. The fact that classical music from all parts of the world survives over centuries and continues to appeal to all cultures, ages and levels of society, especially in challenging times, is reassuring.

To learn more about programmes and support go to the Bridgepoint music website or contact Tom Elliot on 07813 108471.

Image Credits: Zo Biba Leonard .

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  1. It seems a shame that excellent events like these are not sold out every time. We are lucky to have a wide range of venues and events in Rye and the surrounding area and should make sure that high attendance levels at all of them both maintain and extend the choice available to us – and visitors to our town.
    Personally, I find that learning about these events sufficiently in advance is unnecessarily complicated. It seems that you need to subscribe to a multiplicity of different websites and services … and even then you are likely to miss things. Bad enough for residents but visitors must really struggle.
    Maybe something simple is required … a printed “What’s on in Rye” one page poster that could be displayed on notice boards, in venues and shops and at accommodation locations?
    I know printing on paper is generally undesirable but maybe a well controlled and curated product get help our entertainment venues and maintain a vibrant and diverse cultural, sport and entertainment mix in Rye?


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