Welcome note


Our eighth Hellensmusic brings change, renewal, and new dynamics, but the essence remains the same; to bring inspirational music to our corner of the planet. Our soloists come from round the world, and the masterclass students too; great international artists, and exciting new talents working, learning, communicating together in the surroundings of an ancient Manor house on the Welsh borders! But for me – and increasingly important to all our aspirations – is the luminous work being achieved in our local schools by Elisabeth, Bridget and Kate. I’ve watched 60 children singing old folk songs in perfect harmony, clapping stamping dancing with a perfect sense of pulse and rhythm, doing follow-my-leader through the grounds with a zippy sense of syncopation, but also on their backs in the Great Barn, listening rapt to a Bach fugue, or the first movement of a Mozart Sonata. We know how music enlarges and enriches life, but to see the young learning to hear and use music with such pleasure and participation is a special treat. Thank you Christian, Máté, Maya, Elisabeth, Markus, Matthew, Julien, Guy, Bridget, Kate, and all the team at Hellens who make this work!

Our first concert on Wednesday May 13th afternoon is brought to us by Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider, violinist, Kodály teacher, professor at the Danish Academy, with Bridget Snasdell and Kate Cheetham and Much Marcle and Eastnor Primary Schools, in what is the 2nd year of our Music For All Times project.

This is followed in the evening by a magical surprise –  now in the final stages of preparation. It will be a collaboration between world-class musicians, stretching their talents through different musical genres – and the secret will be revealed shortly, I promise.

On Thursday we have the first of our chamber concerts –  Christian Blackshaw, our Founder/Patron playing an exciting new programme from three composers who all left an indelible mark on the early 20th century, with the wonderful Maya, (Co-Director) Josep, Máté (Co-Director), and Guy. On Friday two of our most distinguished ex-alumni join the remarkable Matthew Hunt on Clarinet, with Maya, Máté, and Guy once again, for the most magical of chamber music recitals – Haydn, Mozart and Brahms. Thereafter all sensible souls will take to the Walwyn Alms for a glorious gala to boggle your senses: Works by Berlin to Bruch, Joe Cocker to Piazzola, Schumann to Amy Winehouse, The Verve, and more!

On Saturday Julien Quentin joins Matthew Hunt and our Chamber Ensemble for a Hungarian Extravaganza with  a programme that some may not recognise, but that we’ve been bowled over by for its lyricism, charm, beauty and sadness too!

And then on Sunday – last but by no means least – you will, I hope, join us for two concerts with the musicians of the future playing with their tutors! Guided by their Maestros our 11 students from all round Europe and the UK, will perform both chamber and solo repertoire.

I very much hope to see you at our first free concert – with Kate and Bridget, and Elisabeth, AND the children of our two local primary schools, showing us how to fall in love with music!

Adam Munthe

Festival Chairman