Festival has a reputation 
for exciting performances

Beatrice Philips
Beatrice Philips

Lewes Chamber Music Festival will once again bring leading musicians and innovative programming to the town.

Running from Friday, June 12, to Sunday, June 14, and now in its fourth year, the Lewes Chamber Music Festival has quickly gained a reputation for delivering exciting performances by some of the UK’s leading musicians, giving audiences the chance to discover new and less well-known works, alongside much-loved chamber pieces, all set within intimate venues around Lewes.

The Festival’s artistic director Beatrice Philips has this year attracted countertenor Iestyn Davies, who will be performing Elizabethan songs with Thomas Dunford. Davies’ rare appearance in a church venue in Lewes comes between international performances and his headline appearance at the upcoming Glyndebourne season.

The Festival also features for the first time the London Haydn Quartet, one of the world’s leading period instrument string quartets.

Other newcomers include young pianist Mishka Momen and Swedish concert pianist Bengt Forsberg.

Making a return to the Festival are violinists Catherine Manson, Michael Gurevich, Tim Crawford and Tom Hankey; violists James Boyd and Timothy Ridout; cellists Philip Higham and Hannah Sloane; and pianist Tom Poster.

The 2015 weekend festival of eight concerts – spread over mornings, lunchtimes, evenings and late night – is themed around the chamber music of Haydn, set alongside later composers such as Beethoven, Britten and Schoenberg. This year’s programme also features two living composers, Melanie Daiken, who studied with composer Olivier Messaein in Paris, and the award-winning Edmund Finnis.

Signalling its growing importance, the Lewes Chamber Music Festival has this year attracted the support of the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust, which helps young people attend world-class chamber music. Their support makes tickets to most of the concerts completely free for those under 26 years old.

The Festival also continues to mix professional musicians of international repute with those at the start of their career, this year bringing younger students from Music Works, who are tutored by musicians featured in the Festival, performing the demanding Schoenberg Quartet No 1.

Beatrice said: “I am proud that our Festival offers audiences the rare opportunity to hear both much-loved and also more unusual music performed at such a high level outside the big venues in the UK. The intimate festival atmosphere makes it an unmissable weekend of concerts for music-lovers.”

“This year, I have focused the Festival on the music of Joseph Haydn and his extraordinary output of chamber music.

“By putting Haydn’s music in almost all of the concerts, and alongside Schumann, Beethoven (early and late), Tchaikovsky, Britten and even Schoenberg – we see just how varied, versatile and relevant his music is. Hearing this music played on period instruments by the London Haydn Quartet should be quite a revelation to audiences.

“I am also thrilled to be welcoming Iestyn Davies and Thomas Dunford to perform a programme entitled The Art of Melancholy at All Saints Centre late on Saturday night.

“Iestyn is singing at Glyndebourne this summer, and so the chance for a local audience to also hear him in such an intimate setting is quite special.

“All in all a fantastic line-up with amazing music and delicious food – and tickets for under 26 year olds are free of charge thanks to our support from the Cavatina Trust.”

Tickets cost £12-£14, with an all-concert pass at less than £100, and can this year be bought online at www.leweschambermusicfestival.com.

Tickets can be bought on line, by email leweschambermusicfestival@gmail.com or 01273 479865 or in person from Lewes Travel.