Ensemble Reza relish their Lindfield live return

Ensemble Reza are looking forward to opening the doors and welcoming audiences to All Saints Church, Lindfield for the first time in over 16 months for concerts on Saturday June 26 at 4pm and 7pm.

Ensemble Reza
Ensemble Reza

Having run more than 60 virtual concerts in the last year, these performances will be special, and the group have planned a fantastic all-Russian programme with Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Arensky’s Quartet No. 2 in A minor Op 35, says managing director Hannah Carter.

“To maintain social distancing in the church, these concerts will have limited seating capacity, and the 4pm concert will be a relaxed performance. This will be perfect for children and anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed performance environment.”

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Hannah added: “Our musicians have been performing to screens and virtual audiences for over a year and it would be amazing to see the church full, with friendly faces again!”

For cellist Pavlos Carvalho, it will be a great way to emerge from the pandemic, a time which has been a “surprisingly good” time of reflection and reassessment for him, despite all the difficulties.

“I am talking every day to people who have had a really, really difficult time of it all, and I am certainly not in denial about the awfulness of it all in any way. But all I can say is that for me it has been a blessing in disguise.

“When the first lockdown came, everyone was thinking ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do!’ But I was sure right from the start that no matter what happened, whether it was two or three months or years, we would somehow find a way back to concerts. I put it in my mind to make an opportunity of this and use this time that was unexpectedly gifted to me to spend more time with my family and more time with my instrument in a different way that I could not do in my professional life because you are always rushing from one place to another.

“It was a good time to do a different type of practice, a chance to relearn and reconnect with the cello because you are not focusing on a performance all the time. When you are always rushing to the next performance, you don’t always have time to understand and to connect. It was a chance to dig out pieces that I have always wanted to play and to spend time with them without thinking about a concert in the diary.

“I was very lucky that the schools that I work with were very efficient in organising the online teaching. It was a reduction in finances obviously, but it meant that I knew early on that I still had that, that there was still a regular financial security and that made a huge difference. Knowing that that was there and that the schools were ahead of the game was great. I had that work pretty much immediately there, and even though all the concerts were cancelled, I was able to be thinking about how I could find ways to enjoy this enforced sabbatical.

“With Ensemble Reza, (managing director) Hannah (Carter) organising so much stuff online, we did weekly online things. It was great. We were reaching out into the community. I have had some close cases of people that have passed away from Covid and people that have had really tough experiences, but somehow people have been incredibly resilient, and people have managed somehow to adapt. I know everyone has had a completely different experience of it, and I know some youngsters have suffered terribly and are now feeling socially a lot less secure.

“But through the online stuff we were able to work with so many different people and support so many different people out in the community.

“And that was one of the positive things. I think with the online performances, a lot of the preciousness around concerts has been removed. We have had insights into people’s living rooms! I did one or two solo online concerts, but I hated doing solo online stuff so I concentrated more on chamber music and suddenly you are doing concerts online with your children and your wife, and it was just amazing to be able to spend time with them in that way. The performances on stage stopped, but the music certainly didn’t stop.”

Tickets will need to be bought in advance from the box office: www.ticketsource.co.uk/ensemble-reza and cost £15, £10, £5 and 18s and under are £1 for the 4pm performance. These concerts are supported by the Cultural Recovery Fund.