Sunday, 03 July 2022

Concert pianist brings back her winter recitals

Concert pianist brings back her winter recitals

CONCERT pianist Anita D’Attellis is bringing back her Winter Recitals Wallingford series.

The four chamber music concerts will begin next Saturday (January 15), having been postponed last year due to the coronavirus

They will take place at the Church of St Mary-le-More in Wallingford and will be in aid of the church and Sue Ryder.

The first concert is called Bring on the Youth and Anita will be accompanying two soloists, 19-year-old violinist Maya Fear and 18-year-old Conrad Spencer, who plays the organ and bassoon.

Maya won the Berkshire young string player of the year in 2019 and is currently reading music at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Conrad is studying the organ foundation course at the Royal Academy of Music.

Anita, who lives in Reading Road, Henley, has always taught in schools and coached young people or accompanied youth choirs as well as performing herself.

She said: “It’s always rewarding to work with young people because they have such energy and

“I give young people a platform to play what they want. The youth concert is going to be a really diverse programme.”

The second concert, Trio Appassionata, on Saturday, January 29 will include a new work. Anita said: “It’s going to be a recital celebrating the music of female composers.

“Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger, Morfydd Llwyn Owen and Rebecca Clarke are not nearly so famous as their male peers but I have discovered fantastic pieces written by them.

“The programme is varied with some pieces joyous and exciting, others wildly passionate or simply beautiful.

“But I am most excited about playing the first performance of Trio Appassionata by Libby Croad, which I commissioned in 2019 but due to covid hasn’t been performed yet. It’s a lovely work for a trio with piano, violin and cello.

“Libby writes really attractive music and is getting her works performed on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and Classic FM. It always feels special to be the first to perform a work. For this recital I’m delighted to be joined by Marian Givens on violin and Bryony Moody on cello. Both have played at Winter Recitals in previous years.

“Libby is planning to come so, all being well, she’ll be hearing the first performance of her work.”

The third in the series on Saturday, February 19, is Schubertiade, an evening of Schubert and poetry, featuring soprano Meryl Davies and George White on viola accompanied by Anita on the piano and with readings by Hannah Downing.

The final concert on Saturday, March 5 is called Brilliant Brass, Virtuosic Brass Music to Blast Away the Winter Cobwebs with Ian Barlow on trombone, Dan Moss on trumpet and Anita on piano.

Anita chose to raise money for Sue Ryder in honour of her late husband, John Downing, an award-winning Fleet Street photographer who died in April 2020.

In John’s final weeks, the couple received a lot of vital support from charity with visits from nurses and advice.

Anita said: “The very first winter recital was just to raise funds for the church, then Sue Ryder took on a great significance in my life because of John, so I’m really happy that the proceeds this time will go to both.”

She added: “I’m pleased to be getting back to playing in concerts. Just before Christmas, the Henley Choral Society concert was held at St Mary’s Church in Henley and the church was packed, it was amazing.

“Yes, it was people wearing masks but, apart from that, it was almost getting back to normal and very exciting.”

The Wallingford church is putting appropriate covid measures in place for the series and tickets will be limited to 100 per concert.

Doors will be opened at the interval to assist ventilation and seating will be arranged in groups with at least 1m social distancing, allocated by the stewards.

Audience members are asked to wear masks while moving around the building and to use the hand sanitiser provided.

All recitals start at 7.30pm and doors open at 7pm. Wine and soft drinks will be available before the recital and during the interval.

Tickets cost £14 and are available from

They may also be available on the door (card payment preferred).

For more information, visit

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