Guy Johnston announces the 11th Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival featuring Mark Padmore, Mishka Rushdie Momen, Julian Bliss, Kathryn Stott, JP Jofre, Morgan Szymanski, ORA Singers
Thursday 29 September – Sunday 2 October 2022Hatfield House, Hertfordshire A World of Music Guy Johnston Artistic Director, cello
JP Jofre bandoneon
Morgan Szymanski guitar
Mishka Rushdie Momen piano
Mark Padmore tenor

ORA Singers:
Suzi Digby OBE music director
Nirmala Rajasekar veena
Adam Walker flute
Julian Bliss clarinet
Kathryn Stott piano
United Strings of Europe
The Lodestar Trio
Artistic Director Guy Johnston announces the 11th annual Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, A World of Music, drawing together musicians from around the globe to the historic rooms of Hatfield House, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Festival features world premieres including a new Flute Quartet by Robin Holloway, and chamber works by Joseph Phibbs, Shruthi Rajasekar and Ivan Mosley in a diverse programme including contemporary chamber works from around the world that this year celebrates Gandhi Day (2 October), John Dowland’s musical connections to the House, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Concerts predominantly take place in the House’s striking Marble Hall, home to the famous Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, moving to the Old Palace for the Finale Concert.

South American bandoneon player JP Jofre, Indian veena player Nirmala Rajasekar and Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski join esteemed chamber musicians Mishka Rushdie Momen, Adam Walker, Julian Bliss, Kathryn Stott, Mark Padmore and Guy Johnston across the long weekend, with featured ensembles the United Strings of Europe, ORA Singers and music director Suzi Digby OBE, and The Lodestar Trio with UK’s own Max Baillie.

Guy Johnston commented:
“Each year is unique at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, and our 2022 theme, A World of Music, is no exception. With musicians gathering from around the globe – including Argentina, Mexico, India and Sweden – we offer a whole range of sound worlds and influences. It’s hard to imagine a more diverse programme and, with our Artists in Residence, I am excited to offer such an unprecedented variety of music.”

Marking Gandhi Day and closing this year’s Festival (Sunday 2 October), one of the world’s leading veena players, Nirmala Rajasekar, joins the weekend’s Artists in Residence with ORA Singers and music director Suzi Digby OBE, and RAM Ensemble Renard in celebration of this year’s theme: A World of Music. Rajasekar gives the world premiere of a new work for veena and choir by her daughter, composer Shruthi Rajasekar, while Guy Johnston gives the world premiere of a new work for choir and cello by Joseph Phibbs.
image.One of this year’s Artists in Residence, music by award-winning bandoneon player and composer JP Jofre features heavily in the Festival programme, with several of his chamber compositions performed in concert on Saturday 1 October, including his Tango Movements. On Thursday 29 September, Jofre and clarinettist Julian Bliss perform his Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bandoneon, string quintet and piano.
Diverse repertoire from across the world features throughout the Festival, performed by the Artists in Residence and ensembles the United Strings of Europe and the Lodestar Trio, a Swedish folk group with British violinist Max Baillie, who perform Baroque works on traditional Scandinavian folk instruments on Saturday 1 October. This year’s programme showcases in particular contemporary chamber music including works by Jessie Montgomery, Caroline Shaw, Pēteris Vasks, and Osvaldo Golijov in addition to four world premieres.

In the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, ORA Singers and music director Suzi Digby OBE celebrate the reigns of Britain’s longest-serving monarch Elizabeth II and her equally illustrious predecessor Elizabeth I, who grew up in Hatfield House (Sunday 2 October). Performed in the Marble Hall in front of the iconic Rainbow Portrait of the monarch, the programme pairs works from the two ages, including Tallis, Gibbons, Finzi, Rutter, Panufnik and Britten, a specially-commissioned reflection from Bob Chilcott and Byrd’s iconic ‘O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth’.

In a second programme celebrating the history of Hatfield House and its residents, renowned British tenor Mark Padmore joins guitarist Morgan Szymanski to perform works by John Dowland, who benefitted from the musical patronage of Robert Cecil, the first resident of the present Hatfield House. They also perform songs by Stephen McNeff, Schubert and Alec Roth’s ‘A Road Less Travelled’ (Saturday 1 October).
image.In a narrated concert opening the Festival on Thursday 29 September, Jessica Duchen explores the mystery woman behind Beethoven’s ‘Immortal Beloved’ love letter, as pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen brings to life some of the composer’s most beloved works for piano.
Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, whose family have owned the house since it was built in the early 1600s by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and son of Lord Burghley, the chief minister of Elizabeth I. The deer park surrounding the house and the older building of the Old Palace (built in 1485 by the Bishop of Ely, John Morton), had been owned by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, who used it as a home for his children, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary. It was while she was living in the Old Palace, in 1558, that Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne.

Following Elizabeth I’s reign, the House benefitted from the extensive musical patronage of its owner Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. Many of Britain’s most celebrated Tudor and Jacobean musicians crop up in some form in the Hatfield House archive: John Dowland, lutenist and composer, and Nicolas Lanier, first ever Master of the King’s Music, were in the First Earl of Salisbury’s pay. Thomas Morley, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons, amongst many others, dedicated pieces to him. More recently, the Oscar-winning 2019 film The Favourite is among many to have been shot at Hatfield House.