An air of excitement is building in North London in anticipation of the Highgate International Chamber Music Festival, which takes place Saturday 26th November – Sunday 4th December 2016 in St. Michael’s and St. Anne’s churches.
The festival, set up in 2012 by violinist/composer Natalie Klouda, pianist Irina Botan and cellist Ashok Klouda celebrates its 5th anniversary in style with an incredible line-up of stars from the classical music world travelling from as far afield as Germany and the USA to be a part of this unique event. “We are really excited that so many wonderful musicians from around the world will be joining us to perform together in Highgate”, says cellist Ashok Klouda. Artists this year include violinists Alexander Sitkovetsky, Priya Mitchell, Thomas Gould and Giovanni Guzzo, clarinettist Julian Bliss, cellist Robert Cohen and double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku. There will also be a preconcert performance by the Kanneh-Mason Piano Trio – a trio of siblings including cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition.
“All the musicians are successful soloists and chamber musicians in their own right” explains pianist Irina Botan. “We bring them to Highgate to perform music together in new combinations. The result – dynamic, fresh and energised performances that you will not hear anywhere else.”
With the festival theme ‘Ode to Joy’, each individual concert has its own focus – Humour, Gifts/Collaborations, Love, Celebrations and Youth. Amongst the works being performed are Beethoven’s charming Septet, Janacek’s 2nd Quartet ‘Intimate Letters’ and the wonderful Mendelssohn Octet which concludes the festival.
HICMF will also be paying tribute to William Shakespeare and Yehudi Menuhin, each with significant anniversaries this year. Lord Menuhin was a Highgate resident and first chairman of the Highgate Society. Natalie Klouda and Irina Botan were both students at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, as were many of the other HICMF performers.
Lord Menuhin would surely have supported the outreach work that HICMF undertake to bring the festival music to those who might not otherwise have the chance to experience it through workshops/concerts in care homes and local schools. Natalie Klouda explains “We want to help encourage and inspire people of all ages to take up an instrument and experience the joy that chamber music can bring to their lives.” HICMF has a “Kids Go Free” policy which allows up to two children up to the age of 16 to attend any of the HICMF concerts for free when accompanied by a paying adult. In addition students gain admission for just £5.
The festival has been growing year on year and has strong support from the local community who enjoy candlelit concerts in beautiful local churches, some of the finest chamber music, world class performers as well as mulled wine and mince pies!
The opening concert is on Saturday 26th November at St. Michael’s Church, South Grove. Tickets will be available from early October through the website www.chambermusicfestival.co.uk. If you would like to volunteer at the festival or would like more information please email [email protected]