A vibrant and eagerly anticipated event on Hampshire’s cultural calendar, Winchester Chamber Music Festival features the acclaimed London Bridge Trio and guest artists. The LBT cellist, Kate Gould, is the Festival’s Artistic Director. Since its foundation in 2007 the Festival has grown and become more ambitious in its programming whilst staying true to bringing top quality chamber music to as wide an audience as possible.

A welcome note from the Artistic Director

I am delighted to welcome you back to our springtime festival this year, which will be full of exhilarating music to clear the cobwebs. I’d like to think we’ll fill the church with a resounding message of hope for the near future of live music performance.

The Festival team has been working tirelessly to ensure we have a plan that covers most contingencies and I am hugely grateful to Lucy Bending and the Trustees for their creative thinking and incredible commitment. In short we have taken out as many variables as possible. In the circumstances I am relieved to be using just one venue this year – the recently refurbished St Paul’s Church – which we had been keen to try out. Its large capacity will allow for a safely spaced live audience (although sadly still very limited in number) and the inspiring concert atmosphere will hopefully shine through the computer screens for our online version two weeks later. Don’t forget to connect to your best speakers if you can, for your home concert hall! 

For the filming we welcome Patrick Allen, our camera and sound engineer-extraordinaire, who has been filming at the Wigmore Hall this season. His videos of the live concerts will be interspersed with video footage from our rehearsals, a talk by Daniel Tong and the ever-popular Open Rehearsal. Our outreach programme this year involves making a special education film for Key Stage 2 pupils in local schools with animateur, Sam Glazer – Introducing the String Quartet – and we have re-invited the Piatti String Quartet to actually visit some Key Stage 1 pupils with a special schools concert.

Most of the repertoire has been pulled over from the cancelled 2020 programme whilst I have gathered together a new selection of guests to perform it with me – Festival firm favourites who all reside in the UK. Just seven of us will have the intense experience of giving concerts that are not only filmed but repeated a few hours later, so we have our work cut out! At least having an online version is a perfect opportunity to spread our wings to a far reaching audience this year.

It’s not easy to highlight particular pieces from such a condensed selection of masterpieces. From my cello perspective there are the more ‘enjoyable’ pieces to look forward to, such as the deeply sonorous Fauré Piano Trio and the uplifting Weber Piano Quartet, and there is the deeply moving Brahms Clarinet Quintet, which I cannot wait to revisit with Robert Plane’s ever spontaneous and beautiful clarinet playing. However, I keenly await the physical and mental challenges of the colossal Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time and the experience of learning Joe Cutler’s wonderfully entitled Slippery Music. It will also be a great pleasure to return to the Dvořák and Beethoven string quartets with Lucy, David and Gary, since our online autumn concert for the Friends, so it’s a win-win festival all around!

Amongst such a bleak concert landscape I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to make something special happen and thank you all for the support and enthusiasm that ignites this Festival year after year, giving us the energy to make it happen in 2021 against all the odds.

Kate Gould
Kate Gould – Artistic Director

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