I am writing to ask for your help in publicising the programme of 44 LIVE concerts being broadcast in the Autumn from St Mary’s Perivale, and in particular the St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Sonata Festival, featuring performances of all 32 sonatas played by 32 pianists, on October 3rd and 4th.
St Mary’s Perivale is an exquisite Grade 1-listed 12th century church in Perivale, West London, which functions solely as a classical music centre operated by volunteers. Since 2005 we have held over 960 concerts, with performances by 370 pianists and 160 violinists. Until lockdown we were staging 120 concerts a year and have built up a considerable reputation as an excellent small concert venue.
Many of today’s best musicians have performed here and we have always paid our musicians, as a matter of principle. While entry is free, we ask for voluntary donations at the end of concerts. St Mary’s size – the maximum capacity is only 80 people – exceptional beauty, outstanding acoustics and excellent piano provide the perfect setting for high-quality chamber music and piano recitals. You can see photographs of the church and details of all concerts on www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk and I attach two photographs. For interest, here is a list of the 370 pianists who have performed at St Mary’s Perivale. www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk/musicians-001.shtml
Over the last few years we have developed a broadcast-quality recording system, with six high-definition cameras, installed and run by a local team of expert retired BBC engineers. Well before lockdown we had been LIVE-streaming all our concerts. We have also uploaded around 500 highlights from previous concerts on our two YouTube channels, St Mary’s Perivale and St Mary’s Perivale 2. These have been viewed in 45 countries.
Streaming concert recordings during the lockdown
We streamed a total of 53 previously recorded concerts on successive days from 6 April to 28 May. An archive of these concerts is available via our website. We attracted over 200 viewers per concert and a survey showed that they were hugely appreciated at a stressful and lonely time. Our musicians were delighted to have their concerts streamed and we paid them a total of £6,500 from donations sent by viewers.
Live concert series following relaxation of the restrictions
We re-started live concerts in the empty church on Tuesday 2 June and we held a total of 17 concerts until Tuesday 21 July. These took place at 4:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week and were either solo or duo recitals to maintain social distancing. This was one of the few series of genuinely live concerts available over the summer. All concerts were streamed LIVE on Vimeo and YouTube – past events are available for viewing now.
Plans for the Autumn
Although it is difficult to make firm plans for the Autumn, there seems virtually no chance of returning to ‘normal’ with audiences before the end of the year. Regardless, we are planning a full series of LIVE afternoon concerts in an empty church on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Tuesday 1 September, plus some Sunday afternoons as well, with 44 concerts now scheduled between September and Christmas, as detailed here https://www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk/events-001.shtml. As always, our musicians will be paid, despite the lack of an audience.
St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Sonata Festival
We have one very special event – our Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival to commemorate the composer’s 250th anniversary. This will take place from 2pm to 10pm on 3 and 4 October with 32 superb pianists playing all the sonatas in order over a weekend. Details are on www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk/events-beethovenfestival3.shtml. So far as we are aware, this event is the only festival of its kind in the UK.
How you can help
St Mary’s Perivale is now very well known among musicians throughout London, the UK and overseas. We attract a loyal and regular local audience. However we would like to attract a wider online audience of classical music lovers now we are able to LIVE stream concerts remarkable for the high quality of both the musicians and broadcasts. We would really appreciate your help in spreading the message about St Mary’s.
Very best wishes and thanks
Chairman, Executive Committee
The Friends of St Mary’s Perivale”
YouTube channels: St Mary’s Perivale and St Mary’s Perivale 2.
Live concerts: broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday and most Sundays at 4:00pm from 1 September onwards
St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival, 3 and 4 October www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk/events-beethovenfestival3.shtml .
Venue: Grade 1 listed 12th-century redundant church off A40 in Perivale, West London – now solely a classical music venue run by a trust