LEICESTER INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 19-21 SEPTEMBER 2019

‘Finding your Soul’: ‘Your twenties is all about finding your soul’, Oprah Winfrey.

We are delighted to announce this year’s Festival, featuring the music of Mozart, Schubert and the brilliant young British composer, Mark Simpson, whose work will be featured in all the concerts. This will include two new commissions for Nicholas Daniel and the young flautist, Daniel Shao. Amongst other delights, the Festival programme also includes Mozart’s lovely Clarinet Quintet and Schubert’s incomparable String Quintet in C.

Under the inspirational leadership of Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Katya Apekisheva (piano), Richard O’Neill (viola) and Leonard Elscenbroich (cello) will be returning to Leicester and they will be joined by Jack Liebeck & Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Clare Finnemore (viola) Michael Petrov (cello) Richard Uttley (piano) and Mark Simpson (clarinet + Composer in Association).

Young musicians Daniel Shao (flute) and Joseph Havlat (piano) feature in Friday lunchtime’s special Introducing concert and we are also delighted to welcome Lio Evans (soprano) for a performance of Schubert’s The Shepherd on the Rock.

Again, we look forward to our FREE Family Fun Event on Saturday lunchtime!

Tickets are now on sale, either online or in person at the New Walk Museum Box Office. Ticket details

For more details and the full programme click here.

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SUMMER FUNDRAISING CONCERT: 15TH JUNE 2019 - PAVEL KOLESNIKOV (PIANO)

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We are thrilled that the brilliant Pavel Kolesnikov will be coming to the New Walk Museum for this concert. Russian pianist, Kolesnikov - now based in London - is one of classical music’s fastest-rising stars, firmly established in the leading venues of Europe and the USA. The great masters of Romantic music define his recital: Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Alongside these are two pieces by the Baroque composer, Louis Couperin.

Pavel has been described as ‘a poet of the keyboard’ (Guardian) and his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall, London, was, in the opinion of the Daily Telegraph, ‘one of the most memorable of such occasions London has witnessed in a while.’

On 26th - 28th March, Steinway and Sons visited the New Walk Museum to give our treasured piano a three day service, paid for jointly by the Museums Service and LIMF: this concert will be the first opportunity to hear the instrument after this vital work and will contribute to our fundraising effort.

For further details and information about tickets, follow this link.

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STEINWAY GRAND PIANO SERVICING & FUNDRAISING, MARCH 2019

Following a diagnostic visit from Steinway & Sons in Autumn 2018, we arranged for a three day service of our lovely piano in March 2019.

All of the strings in the upper-octaves were replaced. These wear quickest, as they are held at greater tension and also vibrate directly against the piano frame. This gradually introduces a slight metallic edge to the tone.

Attention was also paid to the key bushings and hammers to eliminate play in the action and make it really precise.

We are grateful that the Leicester Museums Service is contributing generously to the cost of this work, but LIMF is launching a Fundraising Campaign to raise our share over the next 12 months.

Read more about Steinway’s fascinating visit and see how you can contribute to our fund.

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LAST LUNCHTIME CONCERT: 21ST MARCH - MICHAEL PETROV & ERDEM MISIRLIOGLU

Our final Lunchtime Concert of the season featured the award-winning cellist, Michael Petrov, with pianist, Erdem Misirlioglu.  

They held a capacity audience spellbound, at times wrapt in complete silence, with wonderful performances of Poulenc’s Sonata for Cello and Piano op. 143 and César Franck’s Sonata in A.

Michael and Erdem are recording these works in July and we look forward to hearing the resultant CD with eager anticipation!

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review

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LUNCHTIME CONCERT: 7TH JUNE

CARDUCCI QUARTET

The brilliant Carducci Quartet’s visit to the New Walk Museum certainly lived up to expectations. Their programme began with the String Quartet No. 5 by Philip Glass. In this performance, there was real beauty and pathos as well as rhythmic excitement.

Completing the programme wass Dvorak’s lovely Quartet in F Op. 96, the ‘American’ and here the Carducci’s pressed forward with huge energy to thrilling effect.

A sell-out audience (including a large party of students from Rushey Mead Academy) gave the quartet a rousing reception at the end of a special concert.

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review.

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 21ST FEBRUARY - ADAM WALKER (FLUTE) & ALASDAIR BEATSON (PIANO)

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We enjoyed some very high quality music making in this Lunchtime Concert at the New Walk Museum.
Adam Walker (flute) and Alasdair Beatson (piano) immediately won their audience over with a lyrical performance of Widor's Suite, demonstrating an astonishing control of tone and dynamics. There was more playing of the highest quality in Milhaud’s quirky Sonatine which followed.

More surprising, perhaps, was the grip they developed over the listener in a compelling accounts of music by Olivier Messaien and then Boulez's Sonatine, which closed the concert. This was challenging, 'modernist' music sold with utter conviction by two brilliant exponents.

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review here.

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 7TH FEBRUARY - CALLUM SMART (VIOLIN) & RICHARD UTTLEY (PIANO)

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Callum Smart attracted wide public attention at the age of thirteen having won the strings category of the 2010 BBC Young Musicians Competition performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Vasily Petrenko. He is now a rising star amongst violin soloists on the world stage and the easy virtuosity he brought to Beethoven and Schubert in the first part of this concert confirmed that this reputation was well deserved.

Callum was joined by pianist, Richard Uttley: comments about his playing in International Record Review - ‘musical intelligence and pristine facility’  - seemed most apposite. The live performance emphasised that the two composers had written for themselves incredibly virtuosic piano parts and Richard rose to the challenge with some impeccable playing.

From the violin’s impassioned opening and the initial guitar-like chords on the piano, it was clear that the final piece in this outstanding concert, Ginastera’s Pampeana No.1, inhabited a completely different sound world. An entranced audience lapped up this spell-binding music and gave both players a huge ovation at the end of a glorious concert.

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review here.

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 24TH JANUARY - PIERS LANE

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We welcomed to the Museum the Australian pianist, Piers Lane, born - and now based - in the UK. Piers has played in no fewer than five BBC Promenade concerts and appears frequently as a concerto soloist with the world’s great orchestras. He is a regular collaborator with the violinist, Tasmin Little, the clarinetist, Michael Collins and our December visitors, The Goldner String Quartet. They have recently been in the recording studio for Hyperion Records, for whom Piers has made many CDs.

Piers’ Leicester programme was a very appealing one. The beautiful Prelude & Fugue BWV883 from Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier was followed by a generous helping of Chopin: a beautiful Impromptu and Nocturne; the sad and lovely Mazurka in F minor and the Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor. The concert, which was remarkable for the quality of its musical story-telling, concluded with the spectacular three-movement arrangement for piano of Petrouchka which Stravinsky made for Rubinstein.

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review here!

LAST LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 10TH JANUARY - DORIC STRING QUARTET

In their superb Lunchtime Concert at the New Walk Museum, the Doric String Quartet confirmed their reputation as one of our finest ensembles.

After a beautiful performance of Mozart's Quartet No. 21 in D major, full of delicacy and lyricism, Bartok's fifth quartet left the audience stunned.

This was truly virtuoso string playing, but - more than that - the strength of the ensemble was of the very highest order.

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review!

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LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 20TH DECEMBER

HELEN CHARLSTON, LAUREN LODGE-CAMPBELL & ASAKO OGAWA

Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano) and Lauren Lodge Campbell (soprano), accompanied by Asako Ogawa (harpsichord), gave us a fine selection of Handel’s arias and duets in this lovely concert. If someone had the imagination to record this programme and issue it on CD, it would surely be a best seller!

Helen clearly relished the fiery castrato arias from the composer’s operas Rinaldo and Giulio Cesare in Egitto, delivering them with power, intensity and - bearing in mind the slightly melodramatic nature of these pieces - a beguiling twinkle in the eye!

Lauren, meanwhile, gave us a gorgeous O thou bright sun from Theodora and a sparkling Scolio d’immota fronte from Scipione.

Invoking the spirit of the season, we then enjoyed some highlights from Messiah, familiar but challenging pieces performed with real panache.

Harpsichordist, Asako Ogawa, who had been supporting the singers with attentiveness and agility, then had her moment in the spotlight with a Chaconne in G major HWV435, building inexorably in complexity and with more and more cascades of notes!

A memorable concert ended with an extended duet, Tanti stroll al men schocchi, its three contrasting movements giving each of our performers ample opportunity to shine.

There was warm appreciation at the end of an hour of lovely music: time to reflect on the excellent decision made by our Artistic Director, Nicholas Daniel, to invite these up-and-coming young musicians when he heard their prize-winning performances in the London Handel Festival. For their part, Helen, Lauren and Asako clearly relished their to perform in our superb gallery and this was reflected in a concert of high quality.

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 6TH DECEMBER - GOLDNER QUARTET

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We were thrilled to host Australia’s leading string quartet in Leicester - one of their two concerts during a visit to the UK to record a new disc for Hyperion with the pianist, Piers Lane (who we look forward to seeing in January). 

Their performances of Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 1 in C major and Schubert’s Quartet in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’ were described as ‘electric’ by one listener and certainly received very generous applause from a capacity audience.

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 22ND NOVEMBER - ELYSIUM BRASS

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There wasn't a seat to be had at Elysium Brass' superb Lunchtime Concert today!

A full house at the New Walk Museum enjoyed some first class brass playing. Above all, there was so much joy in the music-making across a terrific range of pieces.

The audience particularly enjoyed the polychoral effect in Gabrielli’s Canzona per sonare No. 4 with the trumpets at the back of the gallery and Chris Claxton (tuba) serenading Alex Willett (French horn) in Paul Nagle's jazzy 'Jive for Five'.

Read Leicester Concert-goer’s review here!

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: THURSDAY 8TH NOVEMBER - CLARE HAMMOND

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‘One thing is for sure, Clare Hammond has an instinct for constructing  a deeply satisfying programme, the features of which are delivered with succinct introductions that hit nail after nail on the head.’

‘…the clear fact is we really must hear more of Clare Hammond in Leicester, preferably in a full recital, and to judge from the ovation she received I am certainly not alone in wishing that.’

Leicester Concert-goer was bowled over by a wonderful Lunchtime Concert at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

Read the full review here.

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: 25TH OCTOBER - JULIAN BLISS & ROBERT BOTTRIELL

Robert Bottriell (piano) & Julian Bliss (clarinet)

Robert Bottriell (piano) & Julian Bliss (clarinet)

We were pleased to welcome the clarinetist, Julian Bliss and his accompanist, Robert Bottriell to the New Walk Museum for what proved to be an outstanding Lunchtime Concert. They presented a programme of music by Debussy, Poulenc, Brahms and the 20th century Romanian composer, Tiberiu Olah. An appreciative audience was then entertained by their virtuoso encore, Czardas by Vittorio Monti.

You can read a review of the concert by our good friend, Leicester Concert-goer here.

LEICESTER INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL: 20TH - 22ND SEPTEMBER 2018

After three days of stunning music, the 2018 Leicester International Music Festival came to an end.

Our musicians came together from all around the world - a truly international line-up - and the Victorian Gallery was filled with delicious sounds. Lunchtime and evening concerts were warmly received by enthusiastic audiences.

LIMF’s patron, Thea Musgrave, was a 'featured composer' at this year's Leicester International Music Festival - 'A New World: Composers who moved to America' (20th-22nd September 2018).  

Thea flew to Leicester from across the Atlantic to be our very special guest at the Festival, with opportunities to hear her music at all five concerts.

You can now read Leicester Concert-goer’s comprehensive appreciation of the Festival here!

Family Fun at the Leicester International Music Festival, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, 22nd September 2018: featuring Nicholas Daniel (oboe) Ani Aznavoorian and Leonard Elschenbroich (cello), Joy Farrell (clarinet), Katya Apekisheva (piano) and Chi-chi Nwanoku (double bass).