Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Violinist is going with her gut for abbey date

Violinist is going with her gut for abbey date

IT was already set to be remembered as as one of the highlights of the classical music year — but now the newly launched Chiltern Arts Festival is returning for an encore.

On Wednesday (May 30), star violinist Nicole Benedetti will join the festival’s orchestra in residence, the Academy of Ancient Music, for a concert at Dorchester Abbey.

A past winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, Benedetti’s ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence has made her one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation and one of the most influential classical artists of today.

The Herald Scotland’s critic wrote of her: “This is an artist who exudes star quality — her exquisite playing combining true virtuosity and a deep musical intelligence.”

Wednesday’s concert, which starts at 8pm, will see the 30-year-old playing on gut strings, which she has described as having a more “human” sound than that offered by their modern counterparts.

Paradoxically enough, she will be using this set-up to bring to life music including Telemann’s celebrated “Frogs” concerto in A major — where the violins and violas imitate a chorus of croaking amphibians — and Vivaldi’s sizzling Il Grosso Mogul, where solo and orchestral parts mesh together in a feast of virtuosity.

This will be followed by Vivaldi’s “Dresden” concerto for violin in F major, while the start of the evening will see Telemann’s concerto for four violins open proceedings, with Benedetti being joined by three soloists from the Academy of Ancient Music under the baton of music director Richard Egarr.

Founded in 1973 and originally established as a recording orchestra, the AAM engages audiences across the world with historically informed performances of Baroque and Classical music. Creativity and spontaneity in performance are grounded in scholarship and a constant exploration of music in its broadest cultural context.

Looking ahead to Wednesday night’s concert, Mr Egarr said: “I’m so thrilled that the AAM will be orchestra in residence for this festival. I hope that it is the beginning of a lasting relationship which will bring joy and excitement to both the audiences and the musicians.” Back in February, the inaugural Chiltern Arts Festival ran for nine days in towns and villages in and around the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Henley town hall hosted the second day — a discovery event based around the music of the First World War — before the festival climaxed with a concert at Dorchester Abbey featuring the City of London Sinfonia.

Chiltern Arts founder and creative director Naomi Taylor said: “We’re thrilled to be returning to Dorchester for a second concert this year and absolutely delighted to be welcoming back the Academy of Ancient Music alongside Nicola Benedetti with this gorgeous programme.”

The 2019 Chiltern Arts Festival runs from February 9 to 17. Full details are still to be confirmed but launch events start in September.

Tickets for Wednesday’s concert are £22 with under-25s £18. To book, visit www.chilternarts.com or call the box office on 01442 920303.

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