Time to face the music

Time to face the music
The Aquinas Piano Trio

When did Tonbridge Music Club begin, and how has it evolved over the years?

The club was founded in 1962 and has been bringing great music to the town for almost 60 years. In that time it has built up a remarkable tradition.


Without the need to travel up to London, local people have the chance to see and hear some of the world’s greatest musicians, and to experience the thrill that only a live concert can create. They are also able to do this at a very competitive price. Tonbridge Music Club [TMC] is a registered charity and the trustees and helpers are all volunteers who are passionate about classical music and want it to benefit the community.

How many concerts do you host a year?

The current core season runs from October through to May and comprises five concerts. TMC also arranges occasional pre-concert talks, workshops, family concerts and special events for members.

It is committed to the enrichment that high quality live music can bring, and to the educational as well entertainment potential of fine performances.

 Tickets are always on sale for individual concerts, but the backbone of the club has always been its members, who buy an annual season ticket giving admission to all concerts. At present, concerts are held in either the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Tonbridge, or in the Big School at Tonbridge School, but other venues are under consideration.

You have the  Aquinas Piano Trio coming along to play on Saturday. Can you tell us about some other memorable musicians you have hosted?

Over its almost 60-year history, TMC has welcomed some very well known, if not famous, musicians. But they have always been closely linked by the quality of the music they have performed. Variety is important, too, and as well as traditional chamber music ensembles, the club tries to make its programme of concerts as interesting and diverse as possible. For example, our concert last month featured Ensemble Bash, a four-person group playing percussion, heavily influenced by West African music.

Many years ago, the famous cellist Jacqueline du Pré played for us. And the guitarist Julian Bream has been one of our performers. More recently, we welcomed the violinist Tasmin Little, whose sell-out concert closed our 2018/19 season.

In 2018, another well-known guitarist, Craig Ogden, performed during our season.

Your final concert on May 9 features up-and-coming Georgian pianist Mariam Batsashvili, a BBC Radio 3 New Generation artist. What are you looking forward to most about Mariam?

Having heard Mariam play at the Proms last August, I am just delighted that many others from Tonbridge will be able to share the pleasure of listening to such a young, talented artist. We are very lucky to be able to welcome her here.

Tickets to see the  Aquinas Piano Trio cost £20 pp. They are one of the UK’s most sought after chamber groups and at their concert on February 29 will play a variety of music by Haydn, Schumann and Beethoven. If you are interested in finding out more about Tonbridge Music Club, please visit tmc.org.uk  

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