Investec International Music Festival (IIMF) is delighted to announce the programme for its 2022 season.
Each spring, IIMF brings world-class musicians to perform in beautiful and unique venues across the Surrey Hills. This season’s programme celebrates the 150th anniversary and close Surrey connections of the county’s foremost musical figure, Ralph Vaughan Williams (RVW).
From his childhood days at Leith Hill Place in the heart of the Surrey Hills and formative school years at Charterhouse, through to his later years living in Dorking (1928-1953), Vaughan Williams’ connections to the county run deep. It was here that he lived out his belief that ‘the composer must not shut himself up and think about art, he must live with his fellows and make his art an expression of the whole community’.
During the years that he was composing the great works which cemented his position as one the most significant British composers of the 20th century, RVW also worked tirelessly in support of local music-making in Surrey: he was instrumental in the building of the Dorking Halls, specially built to house the amateur choral (and still thriving) Leith Hill Musical Festival of which he was conductor for many years; he travelled the Surrey countryside recording the songs of local game-keepers and labourers as part of his efforts to preserve the English folk tradition; collaborated on local projects ranging from a village pageant in Abinger in 1934 (in collaboration with EM Forster) and the revival in 1961 of the Charterhouse Masque; and much more besides.
IIMF’s 2022 programme celebrates the composer’s 150th anniversary in a way which is truly unique to the county – looking back at his musical legacy, so much of which was inspired by and composed in this beautiful AONB, but also looking to the next generation and emulating RVW’s own example of support for other composers, presenting the world premieres of three new works:
- David Matthews’ new arrangement for chamber orchestra of RVW’s Romance & Pastorale
- Natalie Klouda’s Piano Trio No.2, specially written for the Sitkovetsky Trio and drawing on RVW’s own pastoral and literary inspirations (Natalie is a former pupil of the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey)
- The winning work from the Surrey Hills Young Composer Competition, launched by IIMF this year to coincide with the RVW celebrations
2022 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Season launch: Saturday 19 March
A special collaboration with RVW’s school, Charterhouse, bringing the Britten Sinfonia together with the brightest of the school’s current cohort of musicians for a performance in the awe-inspiring Memorial Chapel, in a programme including An Oxford Elegy, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis and the world premiere of a specially commissioned new arrangement by David Matthews of Romance & Pastorale (directed from the violin by Alexander Sitkovetsky).
Main festival: Thursday 5 – Saturday 14 May
The main festival fortnight extends the celebrations with a thread of RVW’s music running through each concert alongside works by other composers:
- Sitkovetsky Trio & Friends perform works by RVW, Klouda, Beethoven and the winner of the Surrey Hills Young Composer Competition (Hall, Charterhouse);
- Modigliani Quartet perform music by RVW alongside Schubert and the string quartet by Ravel, with whom RVW studied orchestration in Paris and subsequently formed a life-long friendship (Menuhin Hall);
- IIMF Artistic Director, pianist Wu Qian and cellist Gary Hoffman perform David Matthews’ Dark Pastoral – based on the surviving fragment of the slow movement to an unfinished Vaughan Williams Cello Concerto – alongside works by RVW, Mendelssohn & Chopin (Menuhin Hall);
- Festival Finale in the spectacular setting of RHS Hilltop at RHS Garden Wisley: clarinettist Michael Collins & Friends (including London Symphony Orchestra leader Roman Simovic) combine RVW chamber works with Beethoven’s Septet for winds and strings.
Additional events in planning include an exhibition of RVW artefacts and lecture at Charterhouse by the school’s Head of Academic Music, Dr Russell Millard (19 March pre-concert event); a talk and guided walk led by writer, lecturer and broadcaster Richard Wigmore in the area around RVW’s childhood home, Leith Hill Place; and a young artists performance and guided walk in Dorking.
Festival Chairman Julia Pearson comments: “The Surrey Hills are at the heart of our identity as a festival, and our aim this season is to create a fitting county-wide celebration for the 150th anniversary of the composer who is so closely associated with this beautiful area. Our 2022 programme includes a fantastic array of renowned British and international artists performing music not only by Vaughan Williams himself but also Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Ravel and more, and we hope it will entice both our local audience and also music-lovers from further afield to come and experience the inspiring natural and cultural environment that Surrey still offers today!”
Artistic Director & Festival Co-Founder Wu Qian comments: “ At the heart of our 2022 programme is a spirit of musical community – talented school-children playing alongside the professionals of the Britten Sinfonia – budding young composers competing for their work heard by our eminent jurors, Stephen Goss and Charlotte Bray – renowned chamber musicians including the great clarinettist Michael Collins and leader of the London Symphony Orchestra Roman Simovic, coming together to create an ensemble especially for the festival’s Finale in the gorgeous setting of RHS Garden Wisley…. I like to think that Vaughan Williams himself, with his ardent belief in music for all, would have approved!”
Full details of the 2022 Investec International Music Festival are available here.
Tickets are due to go on sale to the general public on 15 December. Please visit www.iimf.co.uk for updates and information on how to book.
Photo: Leith Hill Place © NATIONAL TRUST/ANDREW BUTLER