Crickhowell Music Festival 2018

Music’s Power Divine
A Harmony Beyond Words

Welcome to Crickhowell Music Festival 2018,  now In it’s 24th year.  This much-loved annual Festival features Crickhowell Choral Society, a stellar line-up of soloists, the Festival Baroque Players and choral scholars and and a whole range of talented musicians and vocalists from amongst Crickhowell High School’s students.  This year’s theme is ‘Music’s Divine Power’, and the Festival focuses on two legendary champions of music’s power:  Orpheus, with his songs to charm the gods, and Cecilia, always inspiring musicians to greater things!

About Crickhowell Choral Society

Crickhowell Choral Society was founded in 1981 by a local GP, David Hiley, who persuaded any of his patients who said they could sing to join him in creating a choir.  From this small group, many of whom are still members, a strong society of some 50 to 60 singers has evolved.

In 1995, the Society was lucky enough to be joined by Stephen Marshall as their new, dynamic conductor.  From an early age, Stephen has been involved with music.  He began composing at the age of 10 and studied at Trinity College London whilst still at school.  He went on to read music at Liverpool University and composition at the Royal Academy of Music.  On graduating, he began his teaching career at King’s School in Worcester, and then Giggleswick School in Yorkshire.

He was Head of Music at King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny from 1981—2010 and continues to teach in local schools in the area.  He regularly involves his pupils in the Choir’s performances.

Stephen is an accomplished keyboard player and a dynamic person, who makes seemingly impossible things happen.  He is passionate about the forgotten baroque repertoire, as well as new compositions—the Choir has given several ‘First Performances in Wales’ under his leadership.

About Our Soloists

Jessica Cale is a Masters of Performance student at the Royal College of Music studying with Rosa Mannion.  She is a Robert Lancaster Scholar in addition to receiving support from the Josephine Baker Trust.  Upcoming solo performances include the role of Serpetta in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera for the Ryedale Festival, Brahms’ Requiem and Handel’s Messiah and  she will appear alongside Mark Padmore and Roderick Williams in seven performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion across Europe with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Jessica is originally from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, and was awarded her undergraduate degree from Cardiff University in 2014, receiving First Class Honours and the D.J. Lloyd Prize for outstanding performance in per final public recital.  Jessica gave many solo performances during her time at Cardiff, including two performances alongside the University Chamber Choir at Llandaff Cathedral.

Now living in London, Jessica has built a successful career performing as both a soloist and as an ensemble and consort singer, working regularly with many of today’s leading Baroque vocal ensembles, including the Monteverdi Choir, The Sicteen, the Gabrieli Consort and Tenebrae.  Jessica has performed as a soloist for Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s A Choir and the English Baroque Soloists.  Her most receint performances include Mozart’s ‘Great’ Mass in C Minor, Gloria at the Barbican and performing the role of Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for the Erebus Ensemble.

Mark Chambers is an English countertenor, who studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Richard Hill, Michael Chance and James Bowman.  He graduated in 1992 and was awarded the John McLeod Prize for Male Singers.

As a soloist, Mark Chambers has performed with Richard Hickox, Stephen Cleobury, Roy Goodman and The King’s Consort.  He has also performed in two world previeres of ‘We Shall See Him as He is’ and ‘The Apocolaypse’ by John Tavener at the BBC Proms.  Operatic roles include Andronico in Georg Friedrich Handel’s Tamerlano at the Britten Pears School and Chorus in an acclaimed production of Rameau’s Les Boreades at the Salzburg Festival conducted by Simon Rattle.  In June 2005, he participated in performances of J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) with the New London Consort conducted by Philip Pickett at the Israel Festival Jerusalem.

Mark Chambers has made many solo and ensemble recordings including a disc of countertenor duets by Purcell and his contemporaries with Ryland Angel, a disc of songs by Edmund Rubbra and Ralph Vaughan Williams and a recording of solo motets by Grandi with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble.

Nicholas Mulroy was born in Liverpool where he was a chorister at the city’s Metropolitan Cathjedral before studying Modern Languages at Cambridge and voice at the Royal Academy of Music.  He has since been in constant demand, both in the UK and further afield, in a wide range of concert, recital and opera engagements.

Widely known for his performances of Baroque repertoire, he has sung with some of its most noted exponents:  Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort, John Butt and the Dunedin Consort.  He has also sung to great acclaim with I Fagiolini, the King’s Consort, Les Musiciens du Louvre and other famous groups and opera houses worldwide.

Nicholas is also a committed recitalist, appearing at Wigmore Hall and other major festivals.  His recording achievements are equally impressive and extensive with many Gramophone Awards to his name.

Robert Davies was born in Colchester, studied at the University of Sheffield and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before embarking on a solo career, both on the opera stage and the concert platform.

Awarded the Erich Vietheer Memorial Award at Glyndebourne, he went on to appear as Mr Gedge in Britten’s opera, Albert Herring, as Marcello in Puccini’s opera, La Boheme, as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s opera Le Nozze de Figaro and as Doctor Falke in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus on the Festival Tour.

Robert has sung under the baton of such distinguished conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Emanuelle Haim, Sir Mark Elder, Richard Hickox, Edward Gardiner and Robin Ticciati.

As well as opera and concert work, Robert is in demand as a consort singer.  He regularly performs with the Dunedin Consort and has been featured as consort soloist with the Gabrieli Consort.

The Programme

We are thrilled to be able to offer an exciting and prestigious new venture as part of this year’s May Music Festival.  As a result of substantial support from the Arts Council of Wales through its lottery funding scheme, we have been able to programme a day of masterclasses for our talented young choral scholars with two of the festival’s soloists, Nicholas Mulroy and Mark Chambers.

Our final event of the festival, a glorious recital of madrigals by Monteverdi, will be the culmination of the classes.  The recital will take place in the beautiful setting of St. Catwg’s Church, Llangattock just over the river from Crickhowell on Monday 7th May at 3pm. This will be an unprecedented opportunity for the scholars to perform with two singers of international acclaim. Not only will they be singing with accompaniment from lute and harpsichord – a totally new experience! – but they will also be singing in Italian.

The masterclasses will take the choral scholars to a significantly higher level of attainment, learning advanced vocal techniques and singing alongside professional singers. They will take place in Crickhowell High School in the company of students at the school, thereby serving to inspire both the scholars and students attending to develop their vocal skills, potentially leading to professional careers in music and allied areas.

Drama students will also attend, and this will be an invaluable experience in learning how the voice can be projected and used. Teachers involved will also gain professional experience which will serve to enhance their pupils’ learning.

Crickhowell High School’s involvement in this 24th Music Festival will have far-reaching benefits. Many pupils will learn new methods and techniques not only through watching and listening but also in the preparation, recording and organisation of the events as part of music, drama and media studies, and of course this is also an invaluable experience for the teachers in terms of professional development.

Crickhowell Choral Society hopes to forge even stronger links with the High School as a result of this participation and to give the school the opportunity of heightened status as a lead school for music in the area. The choir itself also stands to gain substantially from this experience too! We hope to attract even more young singers to join us, benefitting us and the local community at the same time.

This exciting project takes place with huge thanks to Mark Chambers and Nicholas Mulroy, who have been so supportive and enthusiastic from its inception, and of course also Steve Marshall our indefatigable director, and the staff of Crickhowell High School. Thanks too to the pupils of the school who are singing and working with us for what will be a fantastic occasion not to be missed.

Crickhowell Choral Society hopes to forge even stronger links with the High School as a result of this participation and to give the school the opportunity of heightened status as a lead school for music in the area. The choir itself also stands to gain substantially from this experience too! We hope to attract even more young singers to join us, benefitting us and the local community at the same time.

This exciting project takes place with huge thanks to Mark Chambers and Nicholas Mulroy, who have been so supportive and enthusiastic from its inception, and of course also Steve Marshall our indefatigable director, and the staff of Crickhowell High School. Thanks too to the pupils of the school who are singing and working with us for what will be a fantastic occasion not to be missed.

Singers Recital:  The divine Monteverdi

This is the concert where our choral scholars, instrumentalists and vocalists have an opportunity to demonstrate their amazing talents.   Download a copy of the programme below for a glimpse of the musicals treats in store.

The Divine Monteverdi Programme

Tickets

Tickets are available for purchase on the Crickhowell Choral Society’s website at http://www.crickhowellchoralsociety.org/index.html or from the following outlets:

  • Webbs of Crickhowell
  • The Hours Bookshop & Café in Brecon
  • Genet Bevan on 01873 810935
  • Crickhowell High School reception during school hours
  • Choir members

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Thursday 3rd May 2018 Folk Night with Morfa—£10.00
  • Saturday 5th May 2018 Vivaldi Domine ad adjuvandum RV 593—£16.00
  • Sunday 6th May 2018 Bach Cantata BWV 16: Herr Gott, dich loben wir—£0.00
  • Sunday 6th May 2018 Handel Alexander’s Feast—in honour of St. Cecilia—£16.00
  • Monday 7th May 2018 Singer’s Recital—The Divine Monteverdi—£10.00

For students, all these events are free.  If you’re booking online, please be aware that there is an additional booking fee of 50p per ticket.

Gallery – Workshop Rehearsals – Thursday 3rd May 2018

Gallery – Choral Workshop Musicians and Vocalists – Friday 4th May 2018

Gallery – Choral Workshop Catering Stars – Friday 4th May 2018