Finley and Drake delight in Tunbridge Wells

"In the crowded field of international singing stars they don't come much more international than baritone Gerald Finley. He’s graced virtually every major world opera house and concert hall, singing everything from Mozart to Mark-Anthony Turnage, so to secure him and his long time musical partner, the equally starry pianist Julius Drake, to sing in a small parish church in Kent was nothing short of a coup."

But then King Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Wells, is no ordinary church....

Read the rest of this review by Stephen Pritchard at Backtrack.


12 April: Celebrity concert for the Hospice

Thursday 12 April, 7:30pm
Gerald Finley (baritone) and Julius Drake (piano)

Music by Beethoven, Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov'

Canadian baritone Gerald Finley is joined by collaborative pianist Julius Drake in a stunning programme of Germanic and Russian art song. The first half focuses on Beethoven and Schubert settings of Goethe, including Schubert’s breakout version of “Erlkönig.” The second half features songs and romances of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov - literature that displays the beautiful traditions of Russian song-writing.

Book tickets here

All profits donated to the Hospice in the Weald. An interval drink is included in the ticket price. We expect to sell out and seating is unreserved so please arrive in good time. Directions, information about parking and venue facilities.


6 March: Ken Aiso and Sam Haywood

Tuesday 6th March, 7:30pm
Ken Aiso (violin) and Sam Haywood (piano)

Booking information
Tickets £11 in advance (£12.50 on the door, no charge for under-18s)

Ken Aiso is internationally recognized as one of today’s most musical and versatile violinists. His playing is praised not only for his singularly beautiful tone, but also for the unique atmosphere of intimacy he evokes as he draws in his audiences.

As recitalist and chamber musician, Ken has performed widely in Europe, the US and Japan with appearances at prestigious concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London. In 2003 he was honoured to appear before the Emperor and Empress of Japan. In recent years, performing and teaching have also taken him to Georgia, Bolivia, Moldova, Serbia and Kazakhstan.

Ken has been invited to renowned music festivals in Europe, India and Bolivia, and has been a faculty member at Montecito Summer Music Festival in Southern California since 2008. He is a member of Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and has regularly appeared with Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, performing in all major concert venues in Europe and USA in this capacity. He was elected an Associate at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2005.

Ken is currently a teaching faculty of Violin and Viola at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and La Sierra University in Riverside. He has co-founded Soundness Festival which brings awareness of classical music as healing medium, working with vibration in music meditation, singing and improvisation workshops. His work includes music at hospitals and institutions for special needs children.

Sam Haywood has performed to critical acclaim in many of the world’s major concert halls. The Washington Post hailed his ‘dazzling, evocative playing’ and ‘lyrical sensitivity’ and the New York Times his ‘passionate flair and sparkling clarity’. He embraces a wide spectrum of the piano repertoire and is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician or with accompanying Lieder. He has had a regular duo partnership with Joshua Bell since 2010 and often performs with cellist Steven Isserlis.

He has recorded two solo albums for Hyperion, one featuring the piano music of Julius Isserlis (grandfather of Steven Isserlis) and the other Charles Villiers Stanford’s preludes. His enthusiasm for period instruments led to a recording on Chopin’s own Pleyel piano.

In 2013 Haywood co-founded Solent Music Festival in UK. The annual Lymington-based festival features highly varied programmes by internationally-renowned artists with projects in the local community. Artists have included the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Alina Ibragimova, Mark Padmore and the Endellion Quartet.

He was mentored by David Hartigan, Paul Badura-Skoda and Maria Curcio. Following his early success in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, the Royal Philharmonic Society awarded him the Julius Isserlis Scholarship. He studied both at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, of which he is an Associate (ARAM).

Haywood has written a children’s opera and is regularly involved in family concerts, workshops and master classes. He is on the roster of Musical Orbit, the online teaching website and his invention ‘memorystars®’ can significantly reduce the time needed to memorise a music score. His other passions include literature, physics, natural history, technology, magic, fountain pens and table tennis.


St Andrews Madrigal Group

Saturday 20 January, 6:00pm
Pre-Burns Night entertainment: concert by the St Andrews University Madrigal Group followed by a reception at 7:00 until 8:00.

The St Andrews University Madrigal Group was founded in 1946 and although it originally confined itself to singing madrigals and secular part songs, over time its repertoire has widened considerably, with a particular fondness for Scottish folksong as well as renaissance and baroque polyphony.

Tickets available here for concert and reception with an early-booking discount.

Coming up...
On Thursday 12 April we will have the exceptional privilege of a recital by the world-famous baritone Gerald Finley, accompanied by Julius Drake. Join our mailing list if you've not already done so to receive notification of discount tickets for this special event.


The end of one season and prospects for the next

We finished our autumn season with a virtuoso performance on Armistice Day, which absolutely enthralled the audience. Many thanks to all those who helped to arrange the concert and make it all go smoothly on the day. Our introduction to the music of Joseph Boulnois, the French organist and composer who was killed in the last weeks of the Great War, was a particular revelation.

What's next?
We look forward to Saturday 20 January, when we will welcome the St Andrews University Madrigal Group for a pre-Burns Night evening.

The St Andrews University Madrigal Group was founded in 1946 and although it originally confined itself to singing madrigals and secular part songs, over time its repertoire has widened considerably, with a particular fondness for Scottish folksong as well as renaissance and baroque polyphony.

And on Thursday 12 April we will have the exceptional privilege of a recital by the world-famous baritone Gerald Finley, accompanied by Julius Drake.

More details will be available soon! To be sure not to miss our updates, just 'follow' the site using the links on the right-hand side of the page.


11 November: Elegies and Thanksgivings

Saturday 11 November, 7:30pm
A concert for Remembrance Day
Oliver Davies (piano)
Robert Gibbs (violin)
Adrian Bradbury (cello)

Tickets £11 in advance (£12.50 on the door)

This will be an entertaining and thought-provoking concert by three brilliant individuals who have made their names as scholars as well as musicians.

Oliver Davies, the pianist., has had an extraordinary career as a performer covering many different styles, from recordings, recitals, broadcasts and as a chamber music player he has played with many distinguished artists in leading concert halls. He was a Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music as well as Keeper of the College’s Department of Portraits and Performance History. He is very well known for his concerts on special themes, including scholarly reconstructions of historical programmes, surveys of the musical histories of great British houses, and reassessments of significant composers and performers.

Robert Gibbs, the violinist, another outstanding product of the RCM, has appeared as a soloist throughout the UK and has toured Europe, the Far East and the Americas. He has made many recordings including Mozart, Brahms, Goosens and Bax and he is also an exceptional player of the viola. Robert is leader of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the London Festival Orchestra.  Robert plays a beautiful Amati violin which produces the sweetest sounds imaginable.

Adrian Bradbury, the cellist, read Veterinary Science at Cambridge before studying at the Royal Academy of Music. His father is the famous clarinettist Sir Colin Bradbury and in the end the pull of music proved too strong. Adrian has played chamber music all over Europe, playing in several prize-winning groups and he also has a busy recording and broadcasting schedule. He is a regular guest principal with many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic. Adrian has contributed to a number of scientific projects about the effects of music on the brain.

Haydn: Trio in A
Glazunov: Elegie for piano and cello
Schubert: Rondeau Brilliant for violin and piano
Boulnois: Andante
Schubert: Auf Das Fest Aller Seelen transcribed by Piatti for the cello.
Dvorak: Trio Dumky (Dumkas) Op 90

Retiring collection in aid of the Royal British Legion.


21 October: Telemann in Paris

Saturday 21 October, 7:30pm

The early music ensemble Follia mark the 250th anniversary of the death of Georg Philipp Telemenn, including a selection of his ground-breaking 'Paris Quartets', together with music by his French contemporaries.

William Summers (baroque flute/recorder)
Diane Moore (baroque violin)
Ibrahim Aziz (viloa da gamba)
Yeo Yat-Soon (harpsichord)

This is what we do best at Music at King Charles: baroque music in a baroque church, played on period instruments - the architecture and acoustics suit the music perfectly.

Tickets: £12.50 (£11 in advance from www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw)

Follia specialise in period music played in historic venues, so King Charles in a natural choice. They have recently been playing at Lauderdale House, the Handel House Museum, Garrick's Temple and Walpole's house at Strawberry Hill.  You can hear the group play some samples of this music at their website here.

Yeo Yat-Soon was born in London of Chinese parents. Between the ages of 5 and 18 he lived in Tunbridge Wells, where for many years his father owned the Hoover Chinese Restaurant in Calverley Road. He attended Claremont Primary School and then the Skinners’ School.

As a teenager he began harpsichord studies with the distinguished harpsichord maker Malcolm Rose who was then based in nearby Mayfield and was given significant encouragement in early music performance by Richard and Katrina Burnett at Finchcocks in Goudhurst... Read on...


October concerts

Saturday 7 October, 10:00-11:30  Piano masterclass, followed at 12:00 by a short, free recital with Michael McHale. All welcome to attend, no booking necessary, and please come and go as you please, as the church is open to the public. (Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival). Norman Lebrecht described a McHale performance as "scintillating... fascinating from start to stop." Read more about Michael here.

Friday 13 October, 7:30pm The Schubert Ensemble Hosted by the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, this is a chance to hear one of the very last performances by this world-famous piano quintet who are set to retire early in 2018 after a 34 year career. Programme: Suk Elegy, Schumann Piano Quartet, Dvorak Piano Quintet. The Sunday Times said of the Ensemble: "Seasoned eloquence, a unanimity of feeling born of deep communal consideration... they demand superlatives." Book tickets here.

Saturday 21 October, 7:30pm ‘Telemann in Paris’: chamber music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of Georg Philipp Telemann, including a selection of his ground-breaking 'Paris Quartets', together with music by his French contemporaries. This is the ideal music for the church, which has the perfect acoustics for this intricate, energetic chamber music. Performed by Follia, the Baroque ensemble directed by Yeo Yat Soon. Read more about Yat-Soon hereBook tickets


7 October, Michael McHale masterclass and recital

Saturday 7 October, Michael McHale

10:00-11:30 Piano masterclass
12:00-13:00 Recital.

Hosted by the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival. FREE OF CHARGE.

All welcome to attend, no booking necessary. And the church is open to the public so you may come and go as you please.

Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. 

He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the London Mozart Players, and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood Festival, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest.

2016/17 performances include concerto performances with the City of London Sinfonia and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida, and a début concert at the Tokyo Spring Festival. Future engagements include a début in the Dublin National Concert Hall's International Concert Series performing the Schumann Concerto with the City of London Sinfonia.

His critically acclaimed solo album, The Irish Piano, was released in 2012 by RTÉ lyric fm and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by the critic Norman Lebrecht. More recent solo releases include Schubert: Four Impromptus on Ergodos, Miniatures and Modulations on Grand Piano, and a first orchestral album, Irish Piano Concertos, featuring works by John Field and Philip Hammond with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Courtney Lewis, supported by a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

His discography also includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, Lorelt, Louth CMS and seven duo recital albums on Chandos with clarinettist Michael Collins. Upcoming projects include a recording of Strauss’s ‘Burleske’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos, and a first album with the McGill/McHale Trio on the Cedille label, featuring world premiere recordings and special narrations by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali.

Winner of the Terence Judd / Hallé Award in 2009, Michael was also awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award, and in 2016 a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He studied at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and his teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas.

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Dame Felicity Lott, the McGill/McHale Trio and Camerata Pacifica.  view his website for some video clips.