Music Festival news

Michael McHale
The Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival returns this year at the end of the month, kicking off with the Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra on 2nd October at the Assembly Halls. More information. And on 9th October, there's a chance to hear the fantastic pianist Michael McHale, playing a Mozart concerto with the London Sinfonia. Michael accompanied Felicity Lott in a recital at King Charles last year, and he was sensational.

The Festival is well worth supporting, so see their full programme here.

Music at King Charles has its own concert on Saturday 8th October, with three seminal Beethoven quartets played by the Archaeus String Quartet. Buy tickets here.

King Charles church is then the venue for the Festival concert on Thursday 13th October, when the world-renowned Schubert Ensemble will play piano quintets by Bruch and Schumann. Buy tickets here. And the church also hosts a special Flute Masterclass with Karen Jones, professor at the Royal Academy of Music, on Saturday 29th October.

Just coming up, meanwhile, over at West Malling, we recommend the music series 'Music at Malling' with a variety of high-class performers from the classical scene. This runs from 23rd September to 1st October. A particular highlight will be the complete sonatas for violin and harpsichord performed by Steven Devine and leading Baroque violinist, Richard Gwilt, on Tuesday 27th September at 1pm. But there is much more, as you can see from the Music at Malling website.

Do keep an eye on the Beult concert series, too. There's a great jazz concert coming up on 1st October, and the CODA chamber music series' next event on 16th October at Rose Hill School in Tunbridge Wells.

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Schubert Piano Trio

Saturday 17 September, 7:30pm

A piano and piano trio recital of late works by Franz Schubert.

Tickets available (discount for advance booking)from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw or from the performers directly.

Katy Johns - violin
Miriam Cox - cello
Alex Metcalfe - piano

Impromptu in Ab D.935/4
Four Impromtpus D.899
Trio in Eb, D.929

Katharine Gorsuch Johns (violin) was a member of the prize-winning Bronte String Quartet from 2001 to 2006 and now works as a freelance violinist. Having studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky and Miriam Fried, her playing career has taken her to venues such as Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and St David’s Hall. She has also performed at IMS Prussia Cove and on BBC Radio 3. Her recent work includes performances with Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells and English Chamber Orchestra.

Miriam Cox (cello) studied at the Junior Academy under Robert Max and later at the Royal College of Music with Alexander Boyarsky. Since 2009 Miriam has been heavily involved in the Kent original music scene, playing with several groups and singer songwriters. She wrote and recorded, along with her husband, drummer James Cox, for Frances Yonge’s recently released third album Stonewaller. Miriam and James also feature in the loosely labelled ‘folk’ band Son of Kirk, who regularly play in London and the South East and with whom she will soon be recording a second E.P.

Alexander Metcalfe (piano) studied at the Royal College of Music under Raymond Fischer and was subsequently awarded a Nelly Ben-Or foundation scholarship to study the application of Alexander Technique to piano playing. He has performed at many prestigious venues throughout the UK and Europe (including LSO St. Luke’s, the Royal Albert Hall and King’s Place) and played with a variety of orchestras and ensembles (including London Sinfonietta and London Symphony Orchestra). He has given lecture recitals on many of the great masterpieces of the Classical and Romantic eras (such as Liszt’s B minor sonata, Schumann’s Fantasy in C and the last 3 piano sonatas of both Beethoven and Schubert.) His debut CD, a collection of works by Erik Satie, was released in 2014.


'Voice of the British Isles': 11 Sept

Ellen Smith and Michael Grant open the 2016 Music at King Charles series with a luscious collection of folksongs, at 3:30pm on Sunday 11 September. Admission is free and there is a retiring collection.

You can get a taste of their music in this short selection of extracts on YouTube.

Inspired by the haunting sound world of Jan Garbarek, Ellen and Michael have reinterpreted some of the most enduring folk melodies from across the British Isles for the unique combination of voice, harp and soprano saxophone.

Ellen Smith graduated from University College London with a first class honours degree in Classics before pursuing a Masters in Music Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she specialised in Early Music. Particular career highlights include London performances of the Handel harp concerto with the Clemens non Papa Consort, Britten's Ceremony of Carols at Westminster Cathedral, The Chapel of the Savoy and St. James’ Piccadilly with the English Chamber Choir, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with Vox Cordis at Holy Trinity Kensington and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro in Blackheath. Frequent orchestral concert and tour engagements have taken her to the Salzburg, Istanbul and Gran Canaria Festivals, and further afield, to Beijing with the Orquesta Sinf√≥nica de Tenerife. A regular guest solo artiste aboard Cunard’s fleet since 2004, she has performed extensively throughout Europe and worldwide onboard Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

Michael Grant is an international cabaret entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, teacher and composer. After studying at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he went on to perform in many musicals and concerts in London’s West End and across the world. As a classical soloist he has performed in most of the UK’s most prestigious venues, including Wigmore Hall, Britten Theatre, Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St. Martin-in- the-Fields, St. James’ Piccadilly and the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh. As a jazz musician and cabaret entertainer Michael regularly performs his own swing show around the world as a guest artist for Cunard and P&O Cruise Lines. He has written three ballets, two musicals and several song cycles continuing the English song tradition of the early 20th Century.

This recital is part of a long-term recording project for Ellen and Michael. Their repertoire draws on a wealth of traditional song from across the British Isles but, with an unusual combination of harp and soprano saxophone, their collaboration has brought together traditional and modern influences, some unfamiliar tunes and complex harmonies. Inspired by the sea in his home town of Hastings and influenced by the strong English style of composers such as Vaughan Williams and Finzi, Michael has also composed a song cycle with words from John Masefield’s Salt-Water Ballads which will be premiered at this recital.

Where to find King Charles church.


Booking open for Autumn series

How to book:

ONLINE: Tickets for Music at King Charles concerts may be booked here, https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw. Prices are discounted when you book in advance, and there is no charge for under-18s.

BY EMAIL: contact us at kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk for tickets or if you wish to leave/join our mailing list.

Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival
We are delighted that the TWIMF return to King Charles to host a concert by the amazing Schubert Ensemble, on Thursday 13th October at 7:30pm.  Book tickets for the Schubert Ensemble here: tickets are £15 on the door but just £13 when booked in advance.


Autumn series 2016

To be added to our mailing list, email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk

Sunday 11 September, 3:30pm: Voice of the British Isles
Folk songs re-imagined for harp, soprano and saxophone Tunbridge Wells harpist and soprano Ellen Smith is joined by Michael Grant (clarinet & saxophone) for an afternoon of inspiring new folk song arrangements.

Saturday 17 September, 7:30pm: Alex Metcalfe (piano), Katy Johns (violin) and Miriam Cox (cello)
Interludes for piano, and the Piano Trio in E Flat (D.929) by Franz Schubert

Saturday 8 October, 7:30pm: Archaeus String Quartet
Featuring Beethoven’s very first quartet (Op,18 no,4) and his last (Op.135), as well as Op.59 no.2 from the Razumovsky cycle of his ‘middle’ period.
Formed in 1990, the Archaeus Quartet has performed in music clubs and arts centres throughout the UK, and at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London. Ann Hooley, Rosemary Lock - violins Elizabeth Turnbull - viola Martin Bradshaw - cello

Saturday 29 October, 7:30pm: Christopher Sayles - piano recital
The official opening recital on the church's renovated Yamaha grand piano, by international concert pianist Christopher Sayles, who is based in Germany.

Sunday 13 November, 6:30pm: Howells' Requiem
The King Charles Singers will perform the sublime Requiem by Herbert Howells as the evening service on Remembrance Sunday.

Saturday 26 November, 7:30pm: Michael Bacon - organ recital
Michael Bacon is the Organist of King Charles the Martyr church, and he will be marking the centenary of the death of Max Reger with a short recital.


Male Voice Choir fund-raiser

Saturday 25 June, 7:30pm

We are delighted that the Royal Tunbridge Wells Orpheus Male Voice Choir is helping us to raise funds for the recent renovation of the grand piano at King Charles church.

We look forward to a great evening's entertainment, with a wide range of songs - including extracts from The Mikado, Les Miserables and My Fair Lady, together with hymns and spirituals.

Director: Richard Walshaw
Piano: Adam Crane
Guest soloist: Caroline Walshaw

Save by booking in advance
Buy your tickets online here for just £10
(They will cost you £12 on the door)
There is no charge for under-18s.

About the choir
The RTW Oprheus Male Voice Choir has been performing for 78 years for churches, charities and businesses to help with fundraising projects and to entertain customers. About 48 strong and growing, the Choir performs the year round. It has won several musical awards and has sung in the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall & The Guildhall and toured abroad many times.

Thank you for helping us to raise money to pay for our concert grand piano's renovation, which will enable us to continue to provide high-quality chamber music at this fabulous venue.


Informal piano recital 12 June

Paul Clark will be giving a short recital on the afternoon of Sunday 12 June from 2pm. This is the first opportunity to hear the church's Yamaha grand piano after its recent renovation. It's free and all are welcome!

After that, our next concert is when we welcome the Tunbridge Wells Orpheus Male Voice choir on June 25th. They'll be helping us raise money to pay for the work on the piano.

And in October, we will hear concert pianist Christopher Sayles in our series, as part of his Beethoven Sonatas tour of the UK.


Spring Concert with the ESK Ensemble

Saturday 21st May, 7:30pm

The ESK Ensemble celebrates Entente Cordiale with an entertaining programme of English and French music for wind trio.

Listen to a clip from the concert

Edward Elgar: Chanson de Nuit
Henri Tomasi: Concert Champetre
Pierre-Max Dubois: Alla Breve
Henry Purcell: Fantasia No.1
Jacques Ibert: Cinq Pieces en Trio
Richard Walthew: Triolet in E Flat
Louis Cahuzac: Arlequin
Edward Elgar: Chanson de Matin
Bennjamin Britten: Six Metamorphoses after Ovid
Joseph Canteloube: Rondeau a la Francaise

The ESK Ensemble
Kate read music at King's College, Cambridge, before undertaking a postgraduate diploma at the Royal Academy of Music and Sydney Conservatorium. She has worked extensively in West End productions, including Sweeney Todd, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver, The Wizard of Oz and Carousel. Kate has made many recordings, ranging from the cast album of 2012's production of Sweeney Todd, to film soundtracks and pop albums - she appeared as part of Michael Buble's band for his UK filmed Christmas Special. Kate is an ABRSM Examiner.

Since leaving the Royal College of Music Steve has played for most of the major British Symphony Orchestras (including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra under André Previn and Michael Tilson Thomas). At present he is a member of the London Concert Orchestra and plays regularly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Chamber Music, from duo to octet, has formed a large part of his professional life. His wind octet Harmoniemusik of London released a CD of octets by Mozart and Myslivecek (on Virgin Classics) and has played at the Wigmore Hall. As a recording artist he has played on countless CDs - and on TV and film scores as diverse as Poirot, Marple, The Golden Compass and Mama Mia. In the theatre he has worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and many West End Productions. He was the original clarinettist in Phantom of the Opera, and features on the CD.

David studied bassoon at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, He plays with the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Tafelmusik in Toronto. David was contracted to the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 2 years then left to join the RPO - a position he held for 20 years. He has made numerous recordings on CD, TV and film and has worked in the West End in many Musical Theatre productions including Oliver at Drury Lane. A keen promoter of the 'Early Music Revival' David enjoys playing Classical and Baroque bassoon and contrabassoon with the Orchestra for the Age of Enlightenment, the Gabrieli Consort, the Academy of Ancient Music and Orchestre Revolutionaire e Romantique. David is an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music where he has been a Professor for 35 years.


Handel's Messiah, staged. 9 April

In the Merry Opera Company’s acclaimed dramatic staging of Handel’s Messiah, twelve strangers seek spiritual comfort in their struggle to understand their troubled lives.

Through the words and music of this most beloved oratorio they inspire each other to look to the future with hope.

Find out more about the production here.

Saturday 9th April 2016, 7pm
Tickets £12 (£8 - under 18s) Book online here

"Bringing the singers out from behind their scores brought out the human character of this music.” Opera Now

“Imaginative new staging ... worked beautifully ... creating a wall of sound with the power to move every spectator.” British Theatre Guide

“We have never experienced anything so moving and exciting as your performance last night ... we wanted everyone to have heard it. Thank you so much. We cannot stop thinking about it.” Saffron Walden

Director: John Ramster. Music Director and Conductor: Stephen Hose. Costume Design: Michelle Bradbury. Wardrobe: Pedrick Moore. Organist: Ben Comeau.

Cast includes: Christopher Faulkner, Lucilla Graham, WeiHsi Hu, Roderick Morris, Gemma Morsley, Lawrence Olsworth-Peter, Matthew Quirk, Daniel Roddick, Eleanor Ross, Jenny Stafford, Glenn Tweedie, Emily Vine.