A series of six concerts in the historic Sussex church of St Thomas the Martyr, Winchelsea.
The Ancient Town of Winchelsea, part of the Cinque Port Confederation, is an historical, architectural and environmental gem; set on a hill overlooking Romney Marsh and the English Channel, protected by its status as a conservation area, yet easily accessible by the motor car and public transport. For some two centuries, the town has been a magnet for writers, artists and musicians, drawn by its charm, peace and inspiration. Central to these qualities and geographically central to the Town itself is the Church of St Thomas the Martyr.
This Church, of which only the choir nave remains of a much more extensive early 14th century structure, contains magnificent monuments, a unique collection of stained glass windows by Douglas Strachan and features excellent acoustics. These attributes make the Church a perfect venue for concerts.
Below are the concerts in this season as detailed
Winchelsea knows a thing or two about the power of tides to shape history, so what better place than St. Thomas’s Church for a programme inspired by the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers? Our musical journey encompasses Scotland’s lochs, Poland’s Vistula River, and America’s Shenandoah and mighty Missouri. We also contemplate the ways water has inspired music both profound and light-hearted, from spirituals to shanties. With composers from Stanford to Samuel Barber, John Rutter to James MacMillan, there will be plenty to delight and surprise you.
Award-winning Pegasus Choir returns to Winchelsea following their delightful concert of Shakespeare-inspired music in 2016, and fresh from performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea as part of the prestigious London Handel Festival.
Lyn Cook - soprano
Judith Douglas - mezzo
Malcolm Boulter - tenor and accompanist
Richard Mitchell - baritone
Wot Larks is a vocal quartet which specialise in Operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan and Songs from the Shows along with operatic favourites such as Nessun Dorma from Turandot and the Flower Duet from Lakmé.
The Quartet is comprised of four versatile and experienced singers who have performed with a wide range of companies throughout the world including D'Oyley Carte, World of Gilbert and Sullivan, English National Opera and Opera Australia.
Brahms: Variations op 21 no 1
Field: 2 Nocturnes
Chopin: Op60 and op53
Rachmaninoff: Sonata no 1
Recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, London and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin in Fiachra Garvey is a most accomplished pianist. 1st prizewinner at the 2012 Jaques Samuel Competition, London, Fiachra made his Fazioli Auditorium (Italy) and Wigmore Hall debuts in 2013.
Recent highlights include the first solo recital at Google Dublin; a series of solo and two piano recitals in Japan, a tour of China including giving masterclasses at the Beijing Conservatory of Music, as well as appearances at Spoleto Festival Italy, St. John’s Smith Square, St. Martin in the Fields, Brighton Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Wigmore Hall London and The Geneva Festival, Switzerland. Fiachra’s debut CD “For the Piano”, under the Lyric FM label, was released in 2012: “brings a deep and infectious enthusiasm, combined with insight and technical comfort.” (Sunday times). His second CD, a live performance from Wigmore Hall, was released in 2014.
Fiachra is the Founder and Artistic Director of the West Wicklow Festival, Ireland, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Dublin International Piano Competition.
Shelley Levy - clarinet
Fenella Humphries - violin
Mark Nixon - piano
Ann Rachlin - narrator and commère
Khachaturian: Trio for clarinet, violin and piano
Elgar: Violin Sonata
Debussy: Rhapsody for clarinet and piano
Bliss: Pastoral for clarinet and piano
Stravinsky: 3 pieces for solo clarinet
Stravinsky: Soldier’s Tale for clarinet, violin and piano
During the First World War, troops were a constant feature of Winchelsea life. Due to the town's location on the south coast, many were en route to the channel ports for travel to France. They were billeted with families in Winchelsea and trenches were also built to defend the town. Although the town itself was unharmed during the conflict, many of its residents gave their lives fighting at the front.
To mark the centenary of Armistice Day, a special programme of music related to the war will be performed, including an arrangement of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale written in 1918. Arthur Bliss fought in the war, he was wounded at the Battle of the Somme and, two years later in 1918, he survived a gas attack at Cambrai. His bravery was commended in despatches. The Pastoral for clarinet and piano dates from this period.
The repertoire will be performed by three outstanding musicians. internationally acclaimed, local resident, Ann Rachlin will narrate “The Soldier’s Tale” and guide the audience through the connections between the music and the conflict. The whole evening will be a most fitting tribute to all who died during this highly turbulent time.
Hannah Ely & Emma Kirkby - sopranos
Catherine Carter - alto
Daniel Thomson - tenor
Laurence Williams - bass
Sam Brown &Toby Carr - lutes
Peter McCarthy - viola da gamba
For this programme we present two English favourites, John Dowland and his less-known but very special colleague John Danyel, along with Angelo Notari and John Coprario, exponents of the Italian style. This new style swept through the musical scene around 1600, to Dowland’s consternation, bringing a more extrovert and emotional flavour to things. It will be clear, however, that Dowland was in fact well able to hold his ground in the face of this, and the evening will end with some of the most daring pieces from his last books of songs.
The magical “four part ayre” arrangements, about which Dowland said “ so made that all the parts together or either of them severally may be sung” will also feature. A further thread through all this is the sound of lute and viola da gamba; so all in all the programme promises to be extremely exciting, not least since the principal performer, Emma Kirkby, is a soprano of international renown.
Winchelsea Arts is delighted to welcome musicians from the RCMJD back to St Thomas's Church for a second season. For over 90 years the RCM Junior Department has offered advanced training at the highest level to young musicians aged 8-18, nurturing its students with individually-tailored programmes of one-to-one instrument/voice/composition lessons, supported by chamber music, orchestra, choral and musicianship classes. Exceptional tuition and high profile performance opportunities give our students a valuable insight into the life of a professional musician and provides a unique opportunity for audiences across the UK to gain first-hand experience of some of the finest young musicians the RCMJD has to offer.
As well as regular concerts at the College, RCMJD students regularly appear in some of London’s most prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St James’ Piccadilly, Sadlers Wells Theatre, Westminster Abbey, The House of Lords and The Globe Theatre, together with a number of London’s Livery Halls including Saddler’s Hall and Carpenter’s Hall. RCMJD musicians have performed for RCM President, HRH The Prince of Wales at his Sandringham residence and regularly feature in national and international competitions, including the winners of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 BBC Young Musician, indeed many former students are now leading and influential figures in the music industry.
The concert will include a performance of the winning entry in the second Wincheslea Arts chamber music composition competition run in conjunction with the RCMJD.