After two years of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Presteigne Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary in late August. With an international reputation for the commissioning of important new work and the support of young generation performers and composers, the 2022 Festival takes the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ birth as its central theme.
Continuing its promotion of the widest range of British contemporary music, the Festival has commissioned no fewer than nine works to mark this very special anniversary year – Looking West, a major new concert-theatre work from composer-in-residence Julian Philips together with an exciting corpus of orchestral, chamber, instrumental and choral pieces from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, David Matthews, Tarik O’Regan, Aileen Sweeney, Huw Watkins and 2022 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Composer, Rylan Gleave.
There are also important commissions from Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade and Sarah Frances Jenkins, exceptional younger-generation artists currently supported by the Presteigne Festival’s own ‘Evolve’ and ‘Emerge’ composer mentoring schemes.
In addition to the Festival’s new music strand, the music programme also features a wide variety of works by Bach, Beethoven, Elgar, Fauré, Hindemith, Ireland, Ravel, Schoenberg, Schubert, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Walton and a collection of important pieces by Vaughan Williams.
The artist roster includes many Festival favourites and a number of newcomers – the Carducci Quartet, members of Nova Music Opera, Leonore Piano Trio, oboist Nicholas Daniel, violinist Benjamin Nabarro, saxophonist Amy Dickson, baritone Julien Van Mellaerts, pianists Tim Horton and Huw Watkins, cellist Gemma Rosefield, harpist Olivia Jageurs, guitarist Emmanuel Sowicz, the Bath Camerata with conductor Benjamin Goodson and the ever-popular Festival Orchestra under artistic director, George Vass.
The supporting programme brings cabaret from Jessica Walker and Joseph Atkins, poetry from Gillian Clarke, literature from Helen Attlee and Nicholas Murray, Stephen Johnson on Vaughan Williams, musical and local history from Michael Tavinor, a trio of films by American director Wes Anderson, exhibitions and the hugely popular Presteigne ‘Open Studios’ weekend.
The Festival Brochure has been published and is now available, telephone and online booking opening on Tuesday 24 May. presteignefestival.com