WATCH: Bernardi Music Group set to launch 2023 Festival of Chichester

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Andrew Bernardi, who just a few weeks ago met the King at a Buckingham Palace garden party, will be in august company once again as he offers the opening concert of the 2023 Festival of Chichester.

The Bernardi Music Group is proud to open this year’s Festival with a cosmic musical journey that will take you Beyond Our World: Holst’s Planets and much more (Saturday, June 10, 7.30pm, Chichester Cathedral) . He will do so in the presence of Holst who is buried in the cathedral: “I do believe he will be there in spirit,” Andrew says.

The Bernardi Music Group will be joined by electric violist and conductor Nic Pendlebury and Trinity Laban ensemble for a stellar musical voyage. The performance features George Morton’s stunning chamber arrangement of Holst’s iconic The Planets, as well as Eliana Echeverry’s new work The Lost Planet for electric viola and ensemble. Nic’s own transcription of Terry Riley’s Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector arranged for solo electric viola and sonic delay completes the starry journey.

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“It's a concert we've been thinking about for a long time. I've really enjoyed getting to know the Festival of Chichester over the last three years when we have been performing but from the outset I said I wanted to build up to a cathedral performance. We might be known as virtuoso musicians but I like to think that we are virtuoso educationalists and that that is more important. This concert lives up to all those values. We've got a professional choir for the end of The Planets but we've got a group of soloists and musicians that are right at the edge of international careers. With the The Bernardi Music Group we have always wanted to connect people. We draw on the roots and make people more deeply connected to where they are from, but one of the lovely things about this is the fact that Holst is buried in the cathedral.

Andrew Bernardi.Andrew Bernardi.
Andrew Bernardi.

“We're going to be putting in a professional group but we also have people that are just getting into their careers who will be playing out of their skins. And the professional people will also be playing out of their skins. The performance really will be at the very highest standard.

“We have also got a piece that is an alternative to The Planets, Eliana Echeverry’s new work The Lost Planet for electric viola and ensemble. I have already heard it and it is absolutely fabulous. I've also got Nic Pendlebury who will be playing a short piece for electric viola and then he will be conducting the performance. And I really do want to make this an annual musical feast. We would love to ask everybody to support the event and to fill the cathedral so that it really can become an annual event.”

As for The Planets: “It is such an inspirational piece. If it were written tomorrow it would be an instant masterpiece. It is the most brilliant piece and it's the first piece that I ever played at the Royal Festival Hall when I was about 16 with my youth orchestra. The piece just so effectively extends the environment right out across the whole solar system. And I do believe that Holst will be there in spirit. I believe that. But it really goes into the depth of more than 100 years of outstanding music here in Sussex. It is the heart of Sussex and it is the heart of what it is to be English.”