Live classical music returns to Sussex

The 20th Shipley Arts Festival brought one of the first live music concerts since lockdown to Findon.

Live classical music returns
Live classical music returns

The concert took place outside in the grounds of Findon’s St John the Baptist Church with the orchestra of string musicians performing beneath the copper beech tree to a small socially distanced audience and was hosted by the Rev Helena Buque.

Spokeswoman Tracey Carr said: “The occasion was special as it marked a return to live music in Sussex and music by Sussex composers including the premiere of the first movement of Shipley Idyll by the composer Paul Lewis and Opus 20 works by composers Elgar and Mendelssohn.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“This movement called Shipley Idyll was written about the Stradivarius violin played by Andrew Bernardi that was made in 1696 and with some clever writing including music themes reflecting musical intervals depicting the year 1-6-9-6. The piece was perfect for a summer’s evening with nature and birdsong in abundance in the village of Findon. Hearing his composition for the first time on this special occasion was particularly moving for Lewis and a prelude for the whole violin Concerto to be recorded later in the season.

“Andrew Bernardi and his musicians were all delighted to be performing together after many weeks of no live music taking place for orchestras and Andrew believes strongly in the provision of live music to communities being a vital part of the rebuilding of lives and communication after lockdown measures ease.

“The weekend also saw the recording of another world premiere at Knepp Castle by Helen Ottaway, White Storks, reflecting the arrival, home making and departure of these magnificent birds that have bred for the first time in England in 400 years on the Sussex Knepp Estate. The octet recorded this composition together with Mendelssohn’s E-flat Octet Op. 20 for strings.

“The 20th Shipley Arts Festival has been delivering the festival online through Zoom concerts since April which has been possible with the continued support from the Friends and Sponsors, Tooveys, NFU, Kreston Reeves, Wakefields and Nyetimber, to whom we are grateful for their support of music within communities.

For further information about Bernardi Music Group and the Shipley Arts Festival and forthcoming events:;