Herts Festival of Music brings back 'live' music - starting this weekend!

Violinist Chloë Hanslip will perform at the Herts Festival of Music.

Violinist Chloë Hanslip will perform at the Herts Festival of Music. - Credit: Kaupo Kikkas

Hertfordshire’s very own festival of classical music makes its ‘live’ comeback this weekend following a cancellation year lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an exciting week ahead, concerts feature the internationally celebrated violinist Chloë Hanslip, pianist Danny Driver and music by Judith Weir, the first woman composer to be appointed Master of the Queen’s Music.

Judith Weir

Judith Weir - Credit: Supplied by Herts Festival of Music

The Hertfordshire Festival of Music also has a strong community focus.

There are two afternoon events this Saturday specially for children and families, as well as a ‘relaxed’ orchestra rehearsal where normal rules about audience silence won’t apply.

The week additionally includes a series of interactive, online musical events for people living with dementia and their families.

Chloë Hanslip, recognised as one of Britain’s most talented and exciting young violin players, will be performing throughout the festival.

Violinist Chloë Hanslip

Violinist Chloë Hanslip will perform at the Herts Festival of Music. - Credit: Kaupo Kikkas

Two one-hour concerts in All Saints' Church, Hertford, on Saturday evening with the Hertfordshire Festival Orchestra will be followed by masterclasses on Tuesday evening at Queenswood School in Brookmans Park, near Hatfield, when she will be tutoring exceptional young violinists from around the UK. 

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Chloë and pianist Danny Driver will also give the festival’s closing recitals at Queenswood School on Thursday evening.

Works by Judith Weir are included in both the concerts and recitals and the composer will be talking at Queenswood about her music in conversation with the festival’s directors, composer James Francis Brown and conductor Tom Hammond. 

James Francis Brown said: “After losing last year’s festival to the COVID pandemic, it is a joy to be back with ‘live’ classical music and some wonderful world-class performers.

"Audiences can rest assured that we are proceeding with caution and taking necessary steps to maintain COVID safety, but we are confident that this will not get in the way of this first chance to enjoy some marvellous music-making following months of lockdown.”

Families with children aged three and over can look forward to the return of multi-talented actor, singer and cellist Matthew Sharp with magical, musical retelling of two classic fairy stories: Hansel and Gretel and The Snow Queen.

Both events are in St Andrew’s Church, Hertford, on Saturday afternoon.

Also in St Andrew’s Church, the festival’s opening concerts on Friday evening will be given by the critically acclaimed Albion String Quartet.

As with several other events during the week, the musicians will give two, separate one-hour performances in front of socially-distanced audiences, instead of a longer, conventional concert.

This will help maximise the number of people able to hear them play, while maintaining COVID security at each venue.

In addition to the Hertford and Queenswood School events, the festival includes recitals on Sunday evening at the Benslow Music Trust, in Hitchin, by Herts-based pianist Florian Mitrea.

The Hertfordshire Festival of Music runs from June 4 to June 10 and is based in and around the historic county town of Hertford.

Full details of this year's festival programme is available at www.hertsmusicfest.org.uk/performances-and-events-2021

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