2017 Presteigne Festival overview

Presteigne Festival


Presteigne Festival 2017

The 2017 Presteigne Festival offers an exciting programme to suit the widest of tastes, whilst celebrating a number of important landmarks. We mark our 35th anniversary and also George Vass’ 60th birthday, who in turn celebrates twenty-five years in post as artistic director.

The concert programme features a rare insight into Danish music, special birthday celebrations for John Joubert and Hugh Wood and the chance to enjoy a number of successful commissions from previous Festivals.

One of the UK’s major supporters of new music for many years, the Festival has commissioned several new works for its 2017 season: a string quartet from composer-in-residence Edward Gregson, an ‘a cappella’ choral work from Cecilia McDowall and a piece for cello and piano from Herefordshire-based composer Robert Peate.

Taking Beethoven’s late Bagatelles, Op 126 as a starting point, the Festival has also asked six composers to write a new set of Bagatelles for solo piano – Martin Butler, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Michael Zev Gordon, Gabriel Jackson, David Knotts and the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society/Presteigne Festival Alan Horne Memorial commission winner, Jack Sheen.

Finally, the beautiful English folk-song ‘Lovely Joan’ provides the theme for a celebratory set of eight string orchestra variations from composers Sally Beamish, Michael Berkeley, Christopher Gunning, Thomas Hyde, David Matthews, Matthew Taylor, Huw Watkins and Adrian Williams.

Celebrated for its fresh, stylish mix of contemporary music, balanced with 20th century classics and great works from the past, the Festival’s 2017 music programme embraces a particularly wide range of important pieces by J S Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Lennox Berkeley, Brahms, Frank Bridge, Duruflé, De Falla, Haydn, Nielsen, Poulenc, Vaughan Williams and Walton.

A varied collection of supporting events include a centenary celebration of the work of founder Festival President Sidney Nolan, anthropologist Stephen Hugh-Jones talking about the music of the Amazonian Indians and Meurig Bowen’s delightfully witty salute to the music and writings of Erik Satie, ‘Memoirs of a Pear-Shaped Life’.

Ian Marchant talks about his new book A Hero for High Times which traces British counterculture from 1956 to 1994 and, complementing this, the Festival will screen three movies – Jean-Luc Godard’s hugely influential Breathless (1960), British crime drama Performance (1970) and Arthur Penn’s unforgettable action-crime caper Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

An extraordinary talented artist line-up includes many Festival favourites alongside a number of gifted Presteigne débuts: Nightingale Quartet, Leonore Trio, Berkeley Ensemble, pianists Tim Horton, Anne Lovett and Timothy End, Benjamin Nabarro violin, Rachel Roberts viola, Gemma Rosefield cello, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones mezzo-soprano, Katherine Baker flute, actor Christopher Good, Greg Tassell tenor, Suzy Willison-Kawalec harp, Laura Snowden guitar, the Sine Nomine International Touring Choir under director Susan Hollingworth and the critically-acclaimed Presteigne Festival Orchestra.

Outreach continues to be a vital part of the Festival’s work, enabling better engagement with communities both at home and away. In 2017, we embark on a creative writing and visual art project with local primary schools (in association with the Bleddfa Centre for the Creative Spirit), and will visit Birmingham, Swansea and Oxford with our seventh Autumn Tour, to be undertaken by outstanding British pianist Tim Horton.

Brochures will be available at the end of April 2017 from:

Presteigne Festival, PO Box 30, Presteigne, Powys LD8 2WF
01544 267800