Festival returns with noteworthy concerts for classical music lovers

7 November 2011

A superb lyric tenor, internationally renowned pianists, and one of the world’s greatest clarinettists. Eileen Leahy discovers more about the forthcoming annual Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival which starts on Friday October 7

We’re pretty spoilt when it comes to having the chance to enjoy live classical music in our borough. From the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra to the Tonbridge Music Club and many more independent ensembles, there is something for every fan of this genre to enjoy.

And now we have the return of the popular Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival (TWIMF) which kicks off this coming Friday October 7 with the first of three chamber music events – the other two take place on October 9 and 21. The special TWIMF concerts follow the festival’s annual collaboration with the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra, which took place last weekend at the Assembly Hall.

“The TWIMF has a long-standing reputation for bringing superb international performers to our town,” explains a spokesperson for the group.

“These have previously included such illustrious names as Dame Felicity Lott and Gerald Finley. This year the focus is on classical chamber music, with some of the most highly acclaimed artists in their field.”

The first of the concerts takes place this coming Friday October 7 at King Charles Church. “This will be an unmissable opportunity to hear a definitive interpretation of Schubert’s enduringly profound song cycle, with James Gilchrist – who The Independent describes as ‘unsurpassed among lyric tenors’. He will be performing alongside pianist Anna Tilbrook,” the spokesperson contnues.

Two days later, on Sunday October 9, Nigel Clayton and Imma Setiadi will be performing a piano duet at 3pm at Rose Hill School in its theatre.

“In this special CODA music society concert to honour CODA founder, the late Arthur Boyd, Nigel Clayton and Imma Setiadi play duets by Chabrier, Faure, Rachmaninov, Debussy and Mendelssohn that were favourites of Arthur’s,” the spokesperson says.

The final TWIMF chamber concert will be on Friday October 21 at 7pm at King Charles Church. On this occasion Michael Collins and Michael McHale will perform on the clarinet and piano respectively.

Following their regular Wigmore Hall and worldwide appearances, the renowned duo will bring their magical playing to a programme of Stanford (Sonata), Poulenc (Sonata), Finzi (Bagatelles) and a tribute to the late Joseph Horowitz (Two Majorcan Pieces/ Sonatina).

The Festival’s President, Michael Waggett comments: “We’re very excited by this season which I think will be very memorable, especially now we are back without the audience restrictions of the last two years. Hearing these songs, some of the last Schubert wrote, is a profound experience. And there’s great entertainment in the lovely piano and clarinet programmes.”

Rupert Preston Bell, the Festival’s Chairman, adds: “The church of King Charles the Martyr, by The Pantiles, is the town’s oldest building and is the perfect space for high quality music like this. Performers love playing there and audiences come from far and wide because the atmosphere is always very special.”

For more information, follow the TWIMF on Twitter: @TW_MusicFest





October 7 King Charles Church – Winterreise: Gilchrist and Tilbrook


October 9 Rose Hill Theatre – Nigel Clayton and Imma Setiadi: Piano Duet codatw.co.uk

October 21 King Charles Church – Michael Collins and Michael McHale

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