“We are really pleased with being able to bring a really diverse mix of musicians to the city with the kinds of groups and programmes you probably would not otherwise get. It’s a real thrill for us to see the reaction from the audiences. They really like what we bring to them. I think people get to trust you as a programmer, and when they get to know you, they are happy to try things that they might not otherwise go to listen to.”
The key to the series is the word Amici. The performers started out as friends of Meg and Amanda, but as the series has developed, so it has become friends of friends: “And the performers really love coming here. They know they will get a such a warm and welcoming audience. And they really like the acoustic of St Pancras. The proportions of the space are really good. Churches generally are safe, but at the same time they can be too resonant, but this is a good size. It is not too big. It is still quite an intimate space, and we know what programmes will work.”
For this year’s series, Amanda will herself be appearing, performing with the Vida Guitar Quartet (St Pancras Church, Tuesday, July 11, 7.30pm) with a programme of music by Bach, Villa-Lobos and Mendelssohn from their upcoming CD.
“It is the tenth anniversary this year for the quartet, but I am the newbie! I joined them at the end of 2014. They have been going for ten years, but our aim has always been to programme a range of music that would usually be for larger orchestral works, music you would not usually hear on a guitar. We do some original guitar compositions, music written for guitar quartets, but we also like to push the boundaries. It is a real honour to be able to play music by Brahms and Britten and people like that.
“One of the members of the quartet left, and the guitar world is quite small, and we already knew each other very well. They just asked me if I would join the group, and it has been a wonderful experience. We all knew each other already, and that’s a big part of it. We all feel very comfortable and trust each other’s musical approach and tastes and the way we work. I don’t feel the newcomer at all now they have been so welcoming. The group benefits from having four very different musicians. We are not trying to sound like one guitar. We all get slightly-different sounds. We all have a slightly-different mix of colours. I was always a big fan of the group, and for me to join has been an absolute thrill. We all get on very well, and you can take more risks when you are working together. We are half way through recording a CD. It is a Bach-inspired CD. We have a large Bach, and all the other composers are people that have been inspired by Bach… people like Villa-Lobos and Mendelssohn. We have also commissioned new pieces that are in some way reimagining Bach.”
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