Petworth Festival will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer (July 17-August 4), with tickets now on sale (www.petworthfestival.org.uk or 01798 344576 – Tuesday to Saturday 10am-1pm).
Festival director Stewart Collins said: “To celebrate its significant birthday, Petworth Festival is pushing the boat out to celebrate its ongoing success story with a series of feature events that take it to a whole new level.
“The list of top names is unprecedented and includes percussionist extraordinaire, Evelyn Glennie, comedians Alistair McGowan, Gyles Brandreth and Paul Merton, with classical music from international stars Steven Isserlis, Elin Manahan Thomas, Ji Liu and The King’s Singers.
“And this all without mentioning Scottish superstar Barbara Dickson and jazz and world music programmes worthy of any UK stage.
“We have been able to assemble something that could easily take place in any major centre in the UK, but somehow we have been able to make it all happen in a beautiful small market town blessed with some incredibly-intimate venues.’
“To celebrate the festival’s 40th birthday, the programme breaks down into four strands; special celebratory one-offs; performances by some of the festival’s Best Friends – artists who have previously struck a particular chord with Petworth audiences; events that doff the cap to the conclusion of the First World War; and Open Door – events focusing on young and emerging performers or specifically aimed at younger and family audiences.”
Special events in celebration of the festival’s 40 years (including three that feature former festival artistic directors) include:
Grand Choral Masterpieces – “an absolute one-off and a hugely-atmospheric opener to the 40th festival in Petworth House’s Stable Yard: with 60 singers, the combined professional choirs of the Armonico Consort and Gonville & Caius College Cambridge, together with 20 members of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus.
Piano Extravaganza – “The festival welcomes the combined talents of four remarkable and versatile pianists; Ben Waters, Harry the Piano, James Pearson and Joe Stilgoe – together with two fine Steinway instruments. Anything that can be played will be – genuinely for one night only!
The Elgar Connection – two concerts in which the Petworth Festival celebrates the music of Sir Edward Elgar and founding Festival Director, Robert Walker, both of whom lived and composed at Brinkwells near Fittleworth.”
There will also be concerts by some of the festival’s Best Friends, performers who have made waves at previous festivals:
Ji Liu – “Few concerts by leading international pianists have been more exciting and as intense as Ji Liu’s in 2016.
“The festival welcomes the young Chinese pianist back for a sequel with tickets expected to be hot property.
Come and Sing… ABBA with Ben Parry. “The charismatic director of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Ben Parry returns, following the enormous success of Come and Sing…The Sound of Music last year, to take festival goers through their paces singing many numbers from the incredible ABBA songbook in a workshop that culminates in a mini-concert.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2