The newly restored State Chamber in the Archbishop’s Palace, formerly called the Great Hall, will be a key venue for some of Southwell Music Festival’s concerts.
More than 60 leading young professional classical musicians will converge on the town from across the UK during a great weekend of cultural entertainment in Southwell over the August Bank Holiday (Friday 22nd – Monday 25th August). They are coming to take part in the very first Southwell Music Festival – joining several local performers, and also Southwell’s distinguished group of visual artists who are holding their sixth biennial Open Studios event.
The Festival is the idea of a former Minster chorister Marcus Farnsworth. Marcus says: “Southwell is the perfect place for a Festival. I was brought up here and believe that the town and its historic Minster should be better known: we hope that the Festival will help to raise its profile. With their wonderful acoustics the Minster and State Chamber are perfect places to perform classical music.”
Such has been the popularity of the Festival – featuring artists like Sophie Bevan, one of the most sought-after young sopranos in the UK – that tickets for several events are now only available on a returns only basis. However, many of the events are free – taking place in the Minster, The State Chamber and around the town, including jazz outside the Old Theatre Deli, and harpist Roisin Hickey and the Nottingham Youth Orchestra performing in the walled garden of the Archbishop’s Palace.
The programme in the State Chamber includes the first piano recital by the 11 year old Nottingham pianist and winner of the 2013 Nottingham Young Musician of the Year competition Jeneba Kanneh-Mason; a concert of classical chamber music, and a chamber concert commemorating the outbreak of the First World War.
Free events at Southwell Minster include the Festival Upbeat – a chamber music concert featuring artists appearing in the Festival (Friday 22nd, 12.15pm) and the Bank Holiday Organ Recital given by the Minster’s Assistant Director of Music Simon Hogan (Monday 25th August, 3.30pm). On Saturday 23rd at 10am visiting musicians coach five young local musicians in a Masterclass in The State Chamber. Also taking place in the Minster is a late night candle-lit choral concert at 10pm on Friday 22nd August.
On Sunday visiting singers and instrumentalists will provide a special musical contribution to the Minster’s regular services – Sung Eucharist at 10.30am and Evensong at 3.30pm. Then on Bank Holiday Monday (25 August) there is a chance for local amateur singers to rehearse and perform in the Minster alongside visiting professionals in a Come and Sing event: the work being performed is Haydn’s Mass in Time of War.
Acting Dean, Canon Nigel Coates is looking forward to the festival: “We are delighted that the cherished place that is Southwell Minster can hold such an inspired Music Festival, which has grown out of the life of the Minster itself since Marcus Farnsworth began his musical career here in the Choir – as part of our highly regarded Music Foundation led by the Rector Chori, Paul Hale. Paul and former Dean John Guille were the first to support Marcus with his Festival idea. Southwell Minster is recognised for its tranquillity, its music, its worship and its welcome. Our hope is that you are inspired by visiting this special place and that its unique atmosphere adds to your enjoyment of the Festival.”
Also on show throughout the town on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th (10am to 5pm daily) will be the works of more than a dozen leading local artists who have created the sixth biennial Southwell Artists’ Open Studio. The artists will be present to discuss their work and answer questions. A £4 charge will be made which gives access to all the studios for the duration of the weekend. All profits go to the local learning disabilities charity REACH (formerly the Southwell Care Project).
A few tickets are still available for The Creation, the late night choral concert and to Come and Sing. An additional event – a Classical Cabaret – is being presented at The Stage at The Old Theatre Deli in response to public demand, but that too has sold out.
To encourage young people to enjoy the Festival, 100 Golden Tickets are available to all ticketed performances for £5 or less. They are only available on a first-come-first-served basis from the Cathedral Shop in Southwell on proof of identity to people who are aged 18 or under on the day of the concert.
The Festival box office is at the Cathedral Shop (01636 812933) and programme details and availability can be found at www.southwellmusicfestival.com
email@example.com 07811 742362. Photos show Marcus Farnsworth and Sophie Bevan.
Further information about the Southwell Artists’ Open Studios: Maggie Milner firstname.lastname@example.org 01636 814987 / 07710 515699.