Monday, 24 March 2014
Hebden Bridge Piano Festival Latest
With just over 2 weeks to go until Hebden Bridge Piano Festival kicks off at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, preparations are well under way for the arrival of three pianos, portable staging, a marquee - and of course some 20 pianists! Tickets have been selling well since January, and a recent increase in sales has led to festival weekend passes and the recital by headlining performer Kathryn Stott now being sold out. Other concerts are expected to follow suit in the next fortnight.
Tickets are currently available for all other festival concerts. These include lunchtime recitals by young Polish virtuoso Lukasz Filipczak, and by the veteran duet partnership of John Humphreys and Allan Schiller who will be performing well-loved works by Schubert, Brahms, Ravel and a stunning version of Bach's orchestral Brandenburg Concerto no 6.
Making a welcome return to Hebden Bridge is the celebrated pianist and writer Paul Roberts who will be performing and talking about the piano music of Franz Liszt, including the magnificent Vallée d'Obermann and the sublime Petrarch Sonnets, demonstrating the close connections between poetry, narrative, and music, between the emotion of the poetry and musical feeling, between the nature of story-telling and the art of the concert pianist.
Other distinguished performers coming to the Festival include Noriko Ogawa, Charles Owen and the extraordinary jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock (see left - photo by Ron Beenen) who will be giving a comparatively rare solo recital. His music patrols the borderlands between classical and jazz, appealing to and delighting both audiences.
Details are now on the Festival website about nine free concerts taking place over the festival weekend. Six of these (three each afternoon) come under the banner of Piano Shorts: 20 minute recitals given by gifted local pianists – four of whom live in Hebden Bridge. There is also a free concert in the Town Hall café each evening at 6.30pm. On the Friday this is given by Chilean pianist David Munoz, who will perform his own pieces and various Latin tunes that he grew up with. Saturday night sees Sheffield based pianist Dale Storr - one the UK's leading exponent of New Orleans-style piano - strutting his stuff, then on Sunday night Festival Director Dave Nelson performs his recently composed PianoCycle. This is a set of 9 pieces which will also be premiered by 15 different pianists during The Grand Departs epic challenge on Saturday April 5th when three teams of 18 cyclists attempt to pull a grand piano from Mytholmroyd up to Blackstone Edge.
"It's very encouraging for us that one concert has already sold out," said Dave. "Last year only the children's concerts managed that, but this time there's every chance that several events will have full houses by the time the Festival gets under way. Clearly anyone who is contemplating buying tickets should not wait too long!"
Tickets for the Festival which starts on April 11th are available online, by post and in person at the Town Hall reception desk weekdays between 10am and 4.30pm right up to and including the Festival weekend. There is a quick link for on-line booking, a downloadable programme and booking form, and much more information about the Festival and The Grand Departs at www.hebdenbridgepianofestival.com