Presteigne Festival 2020
Hailed by Musical Opinion Quarterly as ‘an indispensable mainstay of the cultural calendar’, the 2020 Presteigne Festival programme brings together a typically wide variety of constituents.
Included is an exploration of lesser-known music from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, a feature of the work of Leoš Janáček – one of the most original musical voices of the twentieth-century – and a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday year.
The Festival’s advocacy of contemporary British music continues with Tarik O’Regan as composer-in-residence and a corpus of eight exciting and eclectic commissions from O’Regan (Mosaic Rooms, a concerto for saxophone and string orchestra), Martin Butler (Body Electric, for solo saxophone), Gary Carpenter (a string orchestra piece, as dreams are made on), Amelia Clarkson (a set of songs for tenor and harp), Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade (the Presteigne Festival’s first ever ‘Evolve’ composer), Joseph Phibbs (a Violin Sonata), Emma-Ruth Richards (a string quartet work, Tenebris Litterarum) and 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society Emerging Composer, Robin Haigh (a work for solo harp).
The Festival’s successful partnership with Nova Music Opera continues into its sixth year, with a triple-bill – Janáček’s atmospheric The Diary of One Who Disappeared in the translation by Nobel prize-winner Seamus Heaney is programmed with Judith Weir’s striking King Harald’s Saga – an opera in three acts for unaccompanied female voice and Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade’s fascinating new music theatre work Reginald: The Musings of an Edwardian Gentleman, which draws its material from the writings of Saki.
A balanced collection of supporting events includes a trio of Irish films, literary talks, an exhibition in association with the Sidney Nolan Trust and Presteigne Open Studios, organised in co-operation with locally-based artists.
The 2020 Festival boasts a wonderfully starry artist line-up – the Carducci Quartet, Nova Music Opera, violinist Chloë Hanslip, pianists Clare Hammond and Andrew Matthews-Owen, Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson, singers Bradley Smith and Jonathan Gunthorpe, trumpeter Angela Whelan and harpist Oliver Wass. The Bath Camerata are choir-in-residence conducted by director Benjamin Goodson, whilst the ever-popular resident Festival Orchestra undertakes three concerts under artistic director George Vass.
Community outreach continues to be a vital part of the Presteigne Festival’s offer, enabling better engagement with communities both at home and away. In 2020 we’ll be working with senior members of the community in association with the Bleddfa Centre and the East Radnorshire Day Centre, whilst our Autumn Tour to Bristol and Birmingham will be undertaken by exciting young harpist, Oliver Wass.
The full programme will be available in print and online in April.
Presteigne Festival, PO Box 30, Presteigne, Powys LD8 2WF