Monday, 2 January 2012

International line-up of chamber music at Holkham Hall

A second exciting series of chamber music at Holkham Hall firmly establishes the historic property as one of the premier venues for chamber concerts. The 2012 season sees celebrated musicians from around the world perform in the magnificent Marble Hall and includes three song recitals, two string quartets, a piano trio and a solo piano recital. In addition, one of Europe’s leading young ensembles will make a special appearance for a captivating live broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The season opens with an afternoon concert in February when the Escher Quartet from the United States comes to Holkham as part of their European tour. Then the following month Dame Felicity Palmer gives a rare recital before she visits Paris, and the hall hosts a live Radio 3 concert by the Signum Quartet. During the season, two winners of the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World song competition also perform – Elizabeth Watts, who won the song prize in 2007 and Ukrainian baritone Andrei Bondarenko, who was the winner in 2011.

The full concert listing is as follows:

Sunday, February 12 at 3pm
Escher String Quartet preceded by a pre-concert talk
Pre-concert talk by Simon Rowland-Jones titled “Bartók’s String Quartet No.5 - The Greatest String Quartet of the 20th Century?” at 3pm followed by a performance by the Escher String Quartet who were selected as BBC Radio 3’s ‘New Generation Artists’ for 2010-2012 and will perform a programme of music, including Haydn’s String Quartet in D Op.76 No.5, Bartók’s String Quartet No.5 and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C sharp minor Op.131.

Sunday, March 18 at 7pm
Dame Felicity Palmer and Simon Lepper
Mezzo-soprano Dame Felicity Palmer has sung at every major opera house during the last four decades and pianist Simon Lepper is one of the leading accompanists of his generation, working with the world’s top singers. “Women on the Edge” is a programme of songs by Britten, Purcell, Tchaikovsky, de Falla and Sondheim.

Saturday, March 24 at 1pm
The Signum Quartet
Broadcast on BBC Radio 3, one of Europe's leading young quartets and Radio 3 New Generation Artists, The Signum Quartet from Berlin, perform an all-Schubert programme including one of the composer’s greatest string quartets as a live broadcast from the Marble Hall.

Saturday, April 7 at 7pm
Elizabeth Watts and Julius Drake
Soprano Elizabeth Watts won several major competitions including the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2006 and the Song Prize at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2007 and quickly established herself as the country’s leading young soprano. Pianist Julius Drake was Artistic Director and a regular performer at Holkham Hall between 2005 and 2010 and works with the leading singers of the day. This event includes Schumann’s song cycle Liederkreis Op.39 and songs by Ivor Gurney and Richard Strauss.

Friday, June 8 at 7pm
Kungsbacka Piano Trio
Formed in 1997 and named after the Swedish town where they gave their first performance, the Kungsbacka Piano Trio will perform a programme of music by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. They won first prize in the prestigious Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 1999, have made prize-winning recordings for Naxos and this year are celebrating 15 years of giving concerts together.

Saturday, October 13 at 7pm
Andrei Bondarenko and Gary Matthewman
Ukranian baritone Andrei Bondarenko sprang to international prominence in the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition where he won the first prize in the song competition and was a sensational finalist in the main competition. Gary Matthewman is one of the best known accompanists of his generation and recently joined BBC Cardiff Singer of the World as official accompanist. The evening will include Ibert’s “Chansons de Don Quichotte”, songs by Tosti, Respighi, Glinka, Tchaikovsky and opera arias.

Saturday, November 10 at 7pm
Brodowski Quartet
The Brodowski String Quartet burst on to the London musical scene in 2008 winning a clutch of major prizes including first prize winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition for the best chamber ensemble. Some of the most celebrated of all string quartets make up the Brodowski’s programme, from Haydn’s last complete work for the genre to Smetana’s revolutionary “From My Life” and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No.1 in D major Op.11.

Saturday, December 1 at 7pm
Pianist Leon McCawley
A Beethoven Piano Competition and Leeds International Piano Competition winner, Leon McCawley is at the forefront of musical life. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth, he presents a wide-ranging programme that charts the influences on Debussy’s pianistic style. Leon’s programme includes works by Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Schumann. This concert includes a champagne reception in the Saloon and opportunity to view some of the state rooms magnificently decorated for Christmas.

Tickets for the BBC broadcast concert with the Signum Quartet on 24 March are £18. For the December concert with Leon McCawley tickets are £30 and include a champagne reception in the interval. Tickets for all other concerts are £25 and include a glass of wine in the Saloon and an opportunity to view some of the other state rooms in the Hall. To book or for further information, please contact 01328 713111 or visit

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