Camarilla Ensemble join Festival of Chichester 2022 programme

Camarilla Ensemble, a group of outstanding wind players, join the Festival of Chichester on Friday, June 24, at 7.30pm at The Council House, North Street.

Organised by Chichester Chamber Concerts, the night will see Camarilla Ensemble perform a programme of inspiring music by British composers including Edward Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Karl Jenkins.

Nicholas Ellis, from the ensemble, said: “We are fully back. It's one of those things but when we got into the slower style of life during the pandemic we were thinking well let's try to keep some of this Zen going when things come back but in fact it has all come back with a vengeance. It has all been very busy for us which is great. We play together as Camarilla, but we all do other things as well as freelancers. It would have been nice to have maintained that Zen but at the same time it just seems to us to be really wonderful to be back playing together and for the audiences to be able to hear musicians again.

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“The pandemic was really, really tough. Luckily most of us in the group had teaching positions which saw us through. I did get some government support which was good but I can't speak for the rest of the group on that, but it was also a question of eating into savings. And I do know a few people that have given up or are basically doing slightly different things now, so yes it was really difficult for us.”

All of which, of course, heightens the pleasure of the return: “I think there is a really special energy that passes between performer and audience. I don't think I've ever taken that for granted but I do think it's very special and maybe I am more aware of it now.

"We formed in, I think, 2001. We were all at the Royal Academy of Music together and we formed in our last year there. We started out as a trio and then became a quartet and then a quintet. We were all encouraged to form ensembles at the Academy and get as much experience as possible. Groups formed and reformed and some didn't stay together that long but we were just really lucky that we clicked. We've stayed together all the time but we have certainly been helped by certain things. We had a fellowship at the Academy after we graduated and that helped us and we also won a big competition which was really important too because that opened up other things for us.

“But really I think we just gelled. It varies from group to group obviously but it has to be about respect for each other’s playing and musicianship and that's what we have got. We’re also quite big strong personalities and I suppose that could go either way! But it has really worked for us and it's also the case in our playing.

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"We are all quite soloistic in our style. Having five soloistic big personalities is quite something but it has always just really worked. We've always had our shared experience of studying together and we were also good friends so that's what I mean we gelled.”

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