2016 Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music Programme Announced

Details have been announced of the 2016 programme for the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music which will take place from 10 – 20 May 2016.  Founded by composer John Metcalf (MBE) the Festival continues to hold a unique place in the UK, being the only celebration of its kind devoted to performing the work of living classical music composers.

Over ten days, music by 22 living composers from across the world will be showcased by an exceptional line up of home grown and international artists.  The 2016 programme will include specific profiles of the work of three major composers, who this year celebrate landmark birthdays:

  • American composer Steve Reich, described as one of only a handful of composers who can claim to have altered the path of musical history, celebrates his 80th birthday;
  • Renowned for his powerfully evocative works, Latvian, Pēteris Vasks, will be 70 this year. His richly expressive output is deeply rooted in Latvia’s folk tradition;
  • The Festival’s Artistic Director, John Metcalf also celebrates his 70th His most recent opera Under Milk Wood (2014) met with great critical acclaim and was shortlisted for both a Royal Philharmonic Society Award and International Opera Award.

Many of the composers whose work is featured will be attending the festival, including Pēteris Vasks whose new Viola Concerto will be performed by Maxim Rysanov and the  BBC National Orchestra of Wales on Friday 20 May.  Royal Welsh College of Music graduate, Mark David Boden will have two works premiered:  Ghyll, a piece for orchestra inspired by Mark’s walks in Lake District (BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Thursday 12 May) and a string quartet, Forgotten Time which will be performed from iPads by the Belgium-based Quatuor Tana.

Other international visitors include the world renowned Latvian Radio Choir who open the festival at St Augustine’s Church, Penarth on Tuesday 10 May.  Denmark’s Ensemble MidtVest mark Artistic Director John Metcalf’s 70th year in a concert featuring a range of his chamber works at All Saints Church on Wednesday 18 May.  And from Canada, violinist Parmela Attariwala and tabla player Shawn Matiwetsky bring their unique blend of Western and Indian musical traditions to the Dance House at Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday 19 May.

This year’s festival includes a number of players that will be well known to South Wales audiences.  Cellist Alice Neary and Robert Court (organ) join the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and singers from BBC National Chorus of Wales for John Metcalf’s Cello Symphony on Friday 20 May.  Alice will also be appearing alongside viola player Matthew Jones in a concert of Music and Silence at St Illtud’s Church, Llantwit Major (Wednesday 11 May) which includes an exploration of meditation techniques and mindfulness as they affect the process of listening to music.  Robert will be very much on home territory when he performs organ works by Pēteris Vasks at a lunchtime concert at St Augustine’s Church, Penarth on Wednesday 18 May.  Violinist Madeleine Mitchell makes a welcome return to the Festival as soloist for Guto Puw’s Violin Concerto with BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Thursday 12 May).

The Festival presents concerts at venues across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, each chosen for their setting and atmosphere.  Events will be taking place in Penarth’s All Saints Church, St Augustine’s Church and Penarth Pier Pavilion, Ewenny Priory Church, St. Illtud’s Church (Llantwit Major) and BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff Bay.   Two new venues this year are BayArt Gallery (Cardiff Bay) and the Blue Room at the Dance House within the Wales Millennium Centre.  The latter is a fitting venue for the concert by Parmela Attariwala who incorporates into her performances movements specially developed by a specialist Bharata Natyam choreographer which allows her to dance and play simultaneously.

Supplementing the main concerts are a range of pre-concert talks with performers and composers offering further insight and context to the works being featured.