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Kukal String Quartet – Saturday 4 May

Kukal String Quartet
Eliška Kukalová and Klára Lešková violins
Daniel Macho viola, Filip Rufer cello

Coffee Concert

Schulhoff   Five Pieces
Sylvie Bodorová   Shofarot
Smetana   Quartet No 2
Dvořák   Cypresses – a selection

 

The Kukal Quartet is making its UK debut on this visit, having been specially chosen by The Czech Centre. Named after a leading Czech composer, Ondřej Kukal, the Quartet, founded in 2020, was winning prizes at the Prague Spring Competition within a year. The Quartet brings a programme that embraces many of the Festival’s strands, whetting the appetite for Sylvie Bodorová’s première later in the day and building it around Smetana’s last chamber music work, premièred in 1884

The visit by the Kukal Quartet to the United Kingdom is part of the Year of Czech Music 2024 organized in partnership with The Czech Centre London and supported by Czech Recovery Plan, Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, European Union, Arts and Theatre Institute, SoundCzech and Vážný zájem Society.

£18 | £12 
(£1 children / students)

Includes coffee available from 10.30am in the Conservatory

Guarneri Piano Trio – Friday 3 May

Guarneri Piano Trio
Čeněk Pavlík violin | Marek Jerie cello | Ivan Klanský piano

Suk   Elegy

Smetana   Trio in G minor Op 15

Martinů   Bergerettes selection

Dvořák   Trio in F minor Op 65

 

The Guarneri Piano Trio, founded in 1986, is one of best in the world and has given several memorable concerts in Leamington over the years. Although the three members also have careers as soloists, playing together for nearly forty years brings another dimension to the Trio’s performances.

The ensemble bears the family name of the makers of both string instruments used by the Trio. Cenek Pavlík plays the famous ‘Zimbalist’ violin by Guarneri del Gesù from the precious collection of Luigi Tarisio, while Marek Jerie plays a cello made by Andrea Guarneri in l684.

The Trio’s stunning interpretation of Smetana’s masterpiece on previous visits absolutely had to be included in this programme, along with these wonderful works by Dvořák and his son-in-law, Suk, and will once again demonstrate the Trio’s complete immersion in the rich Czech repertoire.

Generously supported by Michael & Halldóra Blair

£27 | £17
(£1 children / students)

Martin Kasík (piano) – Friday 3 May

Smetana   Bagatelles & Impromptus
Dvořák   Suite in A Op 98
Chopin   Ballade in G minor Op 23
Chopin   Nocturne in D flat Op 27 No 2
Chopin   Scherzo in B flat minor Op 31

 

Concert given in memory of Iain Smith (Leamington Music Chairman, 2006-15) and Teresa Halikowska-Smith.

Iain Smith had a special regard for the leading Czech pianist Martin Kasík, following performances for Leamington Music as well as the Wigmore Hall, in the Leamington Hastings concerts, and the Festival in Stratford. Martin Kasík was Director of the Chopin Festival in Mariánské Lázně, which Iain and Teresa Smith attended in 2008 and greatly enjoyed. The Fryderyk Chopin Society is based in this Czech spa town where Chopin spent the summer of 1836.

Martin gives performances with the Martinů Quartet and his regular partner on oboe, Vilém Veverka, in the evening concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

Generously supported by Stefan, Milena, and Adrian Smith

£18 | £12
(£1 children / students)

Amici della Musica – Thursday 2 May

Amici della Musica
Philippe Graffin violin | Elizabeth Wallfisch viola
Raphael Wallfisch cello | Piers Lane piano

Mahler   Piano Quartet movement in A minor
Schulhoff   Duo for Violin and Cello
Smetana   Polkas de salon Op 7 Nos 2 & 3
Smetana   Caprice bohemien in F Op 12
Dvořák   Piano Quartet in E flat Op 87

 

Raphael Wallfisch, a favourite and regular Festival performer, brings his newly-formed group to Leamington. Both French violinist Philippe Graffin with Raphael, and Australian pianist Piers Lane with Tasmin Little, thrilled audiences here some twenty years ago, while Raphael’s wife Elizabeth has more often been heard in memorable concerts in Warwick.

The programme sets off the Festival themes admirably with Mahler’s powerful and rare foray into chamber music, Schulhoff’s atmospheric duo from 1925, followed by piano solos from Smetana in his big year, and ending with a glorious Quartet by Dvořák, one of his most attractive chamber works.

Generously supported by Paul & Jane Watts

£27 | £17
(£1 children / students)

Festival Extra – Martinů Quartet – Saturday 13 May

FESTIVAL EXTRA!

Martinů Quartet
Lubomír Havlák and Adéla Štajnochrová violins | Martin Stupka viola | Jitka Vlašánková cello

Beneš   String Quartet No 2 in F Op 30
Martinů   String Quartet No 5
Dvořák   String Quartet No 14 in A flat Op 105

 

The Martinů Quartet will be performing for the thirtieth time in Leamington and Warwickshire since first coming to the Warwick & Leamington Festival in 1998 – by far the most times for any visiting quartet.

The Quartet comes with some new members and a recently re-discovered Czech composer, Josef Beneš, who lived 1795 to 1873. A distinguished violinist, he wrote two quartets towards the end of his life, the second in 1871.

Concert generously supported by Hugh & Jane Beale

£26 | £16
(£1 children / students)

Sacconi Quartet and Ben Goldscheider (horn) – Monday 1 May

Sacconi String Quartet with Ben Goldscheider horn
Ben Hancox and Hannah Dawson violins | Robin Ashwell viola | Cara Berridge cello 

Robin Holloway   First Partita Op 62 No 1
Mozart   Horn Quintet in E flat K407
Robin Holloway   Horn Quintet Op 135
Rachmaninov   String Quartet No 1: Romance
Schubert   String Quartet in D minor D810 ‘Death and the Maiden’

 

The Sacconi Quartet returns for its third concert in Leamington for three years and Ben Goldscheider plays here for the first time. Since being a Concerto finalist in the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition, his national and international rise has been meteoric. Chosen by the Barbican for the ECHO Rising Stars, he has performed at the most prestigious venues on the continent and he made his BBC Proms debut last year with the CBSO.

The Festival draws to a climax with two works by Robin Holloway, the beautiful Romance from Rachmaninov’s only completed string quartet, some delightful Mozart and one of Schubert’s greatest chamber works.

Join us in the Conservatory after the concert for a celebratory glass of wine!

Generously supported by Paul & Jane Watts

£26 | £16
(£1 children / students)

Greenwich Piano Trio – Monday 1 May

Greenwich Piano Trio
Lana Trotovšek violin | Heather Tuach cello | Simon Callaghan piano

Mozart   Piano Trio in G K564
Rachmaninov   Trio élégiaque No 2 in D minor Op 9

 

The award-winning Greenwich Piano Trio plays in the Festival for the first time, as we welcome back the Slovenian violinist Lana Trotovšek who thrilled our audience at a lunchtime concert last year, Heather Tuach, the Canadian cellist in the Fitzwilliam Quartet, and pianist Simon Callaghan who last played here in the 2016 Leamington Music Festival.

Opening with the last of Mozart’s six piano trios, completed in 1788, we follow with Rachmaninov’s monumental Trio written in 1893 and dedicated to Tchaikovsky who died in November that year. Earlier in the year, Rachmaninov’s opera Aleko was premièred at the Bolshoi Theatre and was warmly praised by Tchaikovsky. His death must have been a shock as only nine days before he had conducted the première of his sixth symphony in St Petersburg.

£17.50 | £12.50
(£1 children / students)

Organ Recital – Martin Baker – Monday 1 May

Martin Baker organ

Lemmens   Fanfare in D
Byrd   Fantasia in D minor
Robin Holloway   Corale-prelude on ‘Alle Menschen müssen sterben’
JS Bach   Alle Menschen müssen sterben BWV643
Reger   Toccata and Fuge from Zwölf Stücke Op 59
Whitlock   Allegretto, Folk tune and Scherzo from Five short pieces
Jongen   Chant de mai Op 53 No 1
Jongen   Toccata Op 104
Walton   Orb and Sceptre
Martin Baker   Improvisation on themes by Sergei Rachmaninov

 

Martin Baker is an Honorary Fellow of Downing College Cambridge, a past President of the Royal College of Organists, and former Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. He has forged a reputation as one of the foremost improvisers of his day, winning first prize in that category at the St Albans International Organ Festival in 1997 and international renown not only as an innovative recitalist but also in his equally-acclaimed role as a choral director.

Generously supported by the Friends of All Saints Music

Free entry | Retiring collection

Sinfonia of Birmingham & Amy Dickson (saxophone) – Sunday 30 April

Sinfonia of Birmingham |  Michael Seal conductor | Amy Dickson saxophone

Tchaikovsky   Romeo & Juliet – Fantasy Overture
Glazunov   Saxophone Concerto in E flat Op 109
Rachmaninov   Symphony No 2 in E minor Op 27

 

The Sinfonia of Birmingham returns with Associate CBSO conductor Michael Seal, following a sell-out concert in last year’s Festival.

This is a mighty programme, taking full advantage of the opportunity of having a symphony orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s symphonic poem, completed in 1880, sets the scene for an evening of unabashed romanticism culminating in Rachmaninov’s glorious Second Symphony (1907).

In the midst of these two famous and much-loved works sits Glazunov’s beautiful Saxophone Concerto – his last completed work, and an absolute gem for the instrument. British-Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson comes to Leamington for the first time. Twice nominated for a Grammy™ award, Amy has been hailed by BBC Music Magazine as one of the world’s six best classical saxophonists ever.

£26 unreserved front nave | £16 unreserved rear nave
(£1 children / students)

Warwickshire Music Advanced Musicians – Sunday 30 April

Warwickshire Music Advanced Musicians
Annual Concert

 

A platform to showcase the cream of Warwickshire Music’s students from across the county, performing works that complement the Festival’s programmes and themes.

£4 students & children | £8 adults

Includes tea, squash and cake served afterwards