Surrey’s Investec International Music Festival (IIMF) is delighted to share details of a series of online resources it has curated to enable classical music lovers everywhere to enjoy their own Virtual Festival at home.


Featuring specially commissioned short films by celebrated broadcaster and musician, Sandy Burnett, new playlists, extended programme notes and more, IIMF has developed these resources to entertain audiences everywhere – and to provide pleasure for those who were looking forward to attending its 2020 concert series.  The series was scheduled to take place between 7 and 16 May but has been cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Virtual Festival – which launches this Thursday – is inspired by IIMF’s 2020 programme. On the opening night, 7 May, Artistic Director Wu Qian will share a personal message to the Festival’s supporters, followed on the next 3 original concert days by a mini-lecture in which Sandy Burnett shares his thoughts and anecdotes on some of the repertoire due to have been performed that night.


Each of Sandy’s films will be accompanied by a specially created playlist of all the works included in that evening’s concert (performed by the artists originally scheduled to appear where possible), along with a link to the programme notes and artist information featured in the Festival’s online Souvenir Programme Book – everything you could possibly need to create your own virtual concert at home!


Subscribers to the Festival mailing list will receive links to all the resources directly by email, but all the resources will be available to all via the Festival’s website


The programme will be:


7 May 2020: A personal message from IIMF Artistic Director Wu Qian


8 May 2020: Works for cello & piano by Beethoven & Mendelssohn

(Original artists: Gary Hoffman, cello, & Wu Qian, piano)


14 May 2020: Debussy’s ground-breaking String Quartet

(Original artists: Modigliani Quartet)


16 May 2020: Festival Finale – works by Elgar, Mozart, Purcell & Schubert

(Original artists: English Chamber Orchestra directed by Stephanie Gonley, Adam Walker, flute, Elin Manahan Thomas, soprano)


Commenting, Isabel Dawson, Festival Manager, said: “We are only too aware that in these unprecedented times, when so many members of our audience are confined to their homes, music is more vital than ever as a means of lifting the spirits beyond the restrictions and worries of everyday life. Our hope is that this ‘Virtual Festival’ will keep the Festival spirit strong over the coming weeks and connect music lovers not just here in the Surrey Hills but everywhere!”


Artistic Director Wu Qian said: “We are so grateful for the incredible support of all our loyal friends and supporters in the face of this year’s cancellation, and I am so glad that we have found a way to share in return just a little of the spirit of our 2020 season through these special films and playlists. Of course, nothing can replace the excitement of a live performance – for audience and performers alike! – but we are busy working on future plans and can’t wait to welcome music-lovers back to the beautiful Surrey Hills in 2021!”


About IIMF

Formerly The Surrey Hills International Music Festival, Investec International Music Festival (IIMF) was founded in 2010 by Wu Qian and Tessa Marchington who met whilst studying piano in Surrey (Wu Qian as a pupil at the Yehudi Menuhin School). They became even closer friends whilst studying together at the Royal Academy of Music and quickly found that they shared a vision: to fill the Surrey Hills with the sound of world-class music.


The first season of concerts included performances by artists including Nicola Benedetti, who is now a Festival patron, and over the years artists including Dame Sarah Connolly, Natalie Clein, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, The English Concert, London Mozart Players and Tenebrae have all performed at the annual Festival. In 2019, the programme included the World Premiere of Germinate, a concerto for Piano Trio and Orchestra by Charlotte Bray, commissioned to mark the Festival’s 10th anniversary season and performed by the Sitkovetsky Trio with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Pierre-André Valade.


A registered charity, IIMF plays an important role in supporting music education, providing funding for the String Scheme which delivers free tuition and access to instruments for local primary school children.


The Festival is also committed to providing performance opportunities for emerging artists, and each year presents a concert by promising post-graduate students.

For further information and to access the Virtual Festival:



Photo: IIMF Artistic Director and Co-Founder Wu Qian Photo: Alistair Wilson