A season for the senses

SPOTLIGHT Trumpeter Alison Balsom is performing ‘Images’ to open Tonbridge Music Club’s 60th season

LIGHT, darkness and music will mark the start of the Tonbridge Music Club’s (TMC) 60th anniversary year, with an unusual concert programme designed for the space, the season and the artists.

The collaboration between trumpeter Alison Balsom and organist Anna Lapwood is not itself an unusual starting point for a concert, but over two years of planning it has evolved into something unique.

Making full use of the acoustics of the Chapel of St Augustine at Tonbridge School, ‘Images’ weaves the performance around and through an audience which has become unused to being in the presence of live music.

“We had been waiting for the right opportunity for a really amazing space,” said Alison, who knew the chapel from recording an album here.


“It grew from a recital into something very much more.”


With the concert starting over an hour after sunset, the programme uses spotlights – and even Alison herself – in different places, varying the acoustic angles.

“For the first piece, I will be walking the length of the nave, playing, with the lights on me all the time,” she said.

“There will be three different trumpets dotted around the chapel so I can pick them up and play.”

Yet the immersive lighting has a further benefit, that of performing TMC’s ethos of inclusion. With the music in the spotlight, rather than the audience, concertgoers will not feel they are on show.

“This is not like a normal recital, when you play a piece and everyone claps. With this, one piece will flow into the next.

“Anna and I will speak at the beginning and tell them when to clap. It will be very easy for the audience to sit in the darkness, or the light, and just listen,” Alison promised.

This is the opening concert of TMC’s 2022/23 season, where Alison Balsom and Anna Lapwood will play Bach, Debussy, Alain and other works, including the world première of ‘Modal Reeds’ by Kristina Arakelyan. It starts at 7:30pm on Saturday October 15 at the Chapel of St Augustine, Tonbridge School.

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