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Culture, Music

Newbury Spring Festival 2024: Booking Open Now

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After a very successful pre-sale to sponsors and friends, tickets for Newbury Spring Festival are now on sale to the general public. The Festival’s diverse programme of classical, choral, chamber, cabaret, dance, jazz, folk and world music takes place in Newbury and its surrounding villages from 11 - 25 May 2024.

The London Mozart Players (Saturday 11 May) play host to a stellar lineup of soloists: young horn player Ben Goldscheider returns to Newbury to perform Benjamin Britten’s iconic Serenade for tenor, horn and strings with superstar tenor Allan Clayton, directed from the keyboard by Martin James Bartlett. The popular orchestral concerts at St Nicolas’ Church continue this year. The London Philharmonic Orchestra (Saturday 18 May) will perform under the baton of Jonathan Bloxham and their concert will include cellist Andrei Ioniță performing Dvořák’s ever-popular Cello Concerto. Closing the Festival is the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Saturday 25 May) with conductor Stephen Barlow, building on the Festival’s Sibelius symphony cycle (which started in 2022 with Symphony No. 5 and 2023 with Symphony No. 1) with Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2. Mezzo soprano Christine Rice joins the RPO for a performance of Wagner’s only song cycle, Wesendonk Leider.

Also at St Nicolas Church is the 25th Anniversary concert of Newbury Spring Festival Chorus (Friday 17 May), who are performing with members of Southbank Sinfonia. They will sing a popular programme of choral greats, including Handel’s Zadok the Priest, Vaughan Williams’ 5 Mystical Songs, with Alex Ashworth, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass under the baton of their chorus master Tom Primrose. Rising star soprano Hilary Cronin, one of the UK’s leading young singers, who recently received a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall as soprano soloist in the Monteverdi Choir’s USA tour, will also perform two of Handel’s greatest arias, Let the Bright Seraphim and Eternal Source of Light Divine.

Other choral highlights at this year’s Festival include Tenebrae performing Joby Talbot’s seminal work Path of Miracles (Wednesday 22 May), based on the most enduring route of Catholic pilgrimage, the great Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. Candlelight, singing from memory and an imaginative use of the concert space will guarantee Tenebrae at its dramatic best in the atmospheric setting of Douai Abbey. VOCES8 will return to the Festival (Thursday 23 May) for a varied programme of Wilbye, Holst, Arvo Pärt, Caroline Shaw, Paul Simon and more.

Chamber music also features prominently on the programme. There are performances from Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko (Sunday 12 May, Corn Exchange), who returns to the Festival after an outstanding performance with BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2022, Calefax Reed Quintet (Tuesday 14 May, Holy Cross Church, Ramsbury), Kinsky Trio Prague (Wednesday 15 May, Englefield House), Takács Quartet (Wednesday 15 May, St Mary’s Church, Shaw). Also heading to the Festival are several duos including Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Cordelia Williams (Sunday 19 May, St Mary’s Church, Kintbury), Manu Brazo and Bryan Evans (Monday 20 May, Church of the Ascension, Burghclere), and Catrin Finch and Aoife Ni Bhriain (Tuesday 21 May, Donnington Priory). Emma Johnson and the Orchestra for the Environment, will also be appearing (Friday 24 May, St Lawrence Church, Hungerford).

International young star musicians feature prominently throughout the Festival, and include pianist Martin James Bartlett, horn player Ben Goldscheider, Tchaikovsky Gold Medal winner cellist Andre Ioniță, soprano Hilary Cronin, jazz singer and pianist Sam Jewison, clarinettist Manu Brazo, and resident at London’s Ritz Hotel, soprano Miranda Heldt and pianist Jamie Safir. The popular lunchtime series of Young Artist Recitals continues at Newbury’s Corn Exchange, featuring some of the best up-and-coming young musicians of all genres including the winner of this year’s Sheepdrove Piano Competition following the public final at Sheepdrove Eco Centre the previous afternoon. We are also delighted to welcome this year’s graduating class of Central School of Ballet, Ballet Central (Tuesday 21 May), who will perform at Newbury’s Corn Exchange.

Further performances at Newbury’s Corn Exchange include National Youth Jazz Orchestra’s tribute to Dizzy Gillespie (Saturday 11 May), the big beats of the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers (Tuesday 14 May), folk-influenced outfit Kabantu (Wednesday 15 May) and a delightful evening of Indian Classical Music (Thursday 23 May) with masters of the genre Kousic Sen (tabla) and Jonathan Mayer (sitar). Jazz singers Joe Stilgoe (Friday 24 May) and Sam Jewison (Friday 17 May) will also take to the Corn Exchange stage with their bands during the Festival. Combining music and theatre in their show Into the Melting Pot are The Telling (Wednesday 22 May); plaintive songs and lively Spanish medieval music come together with the story of a Jewish woman in 15th-century Seville. It’s a story of migration, community and conflict that may be set in the past but has sad resonances today – with a broader message of hope. Closing the Festival at the Corn Exchange is Tim Kliphuis (Saturday 25 May) and his trio performing their show Django Meets Mussorgsky, which promises to be a genre-bending mix of musical styles.

There is also plenty on offer for families to get stuck in with; shows specially devised with children in mind will introduce the next generation to the joy of live music through audience participation, imagination and plenty of fun. Whether they’re setting sail with groovy pirates (Saturday 25 May) or exploring the world from Thumbelina’s perspective (Sunday 12 May), children will love this year’s family events. There’s also the opportunity to see Toscana Strings’ delightful family show Wind in the Willows (Saturday 18 May), and for budding young brass players, Ben Goldscheider will be giving a special masterclass at the Corn Exchange (Saturday 11 May). The Festival’s evolving education programme offers young people from the local area opportunities to experience workshops and performances by Festival musicians, as well as to perform themselves within the main Festival programme.

Mark Eynon, Festival Director, comments:

“This anniversary year proudly celebrates the 45th Newbury Spring Festival, the 25th Anniversary of our wonderful Festival Chorus, the 15th Anniversary of our own Sheepdrove Piano Competition, and a personal milestone - my 25th Anniversary as Festival Director. We will continue our long-standing tradition of bringing the best artists from around the world to Newbury and its immediate area as we welcome musicians from as far afield as India and Japan, USA, Argentina, Spain, Ukraine, Holland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and of course the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Our international programme, “two weeks of world-class music” also continues to feature some of the finest young artists emerging on the international scene in both our Young Artist Recital Series and within the evening concerts, as soloists and ensembles alongside some of the greatest and most established musicians whom we are honoured to welcome to Newbury.”

Public booking from 10am Tuesday 5 March 2024

In person: Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD

By phone: 01635 522733

Online: www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk/



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