Tag Archives: 2MF

Penny Adie writes…

Each week, Two Moors Festival artistic director Penny Adie will be here on the blog, letting you all know just what’s been going on down at Festival HQ in Devon.

“Sometimes it would appear that life behind the scenes at the Two Moors Festival is dull and we do nothing in preparation for October’s concerts. I assure you that it isn’t! Last week, for instance, saw my husband, the fundraiser, write to no less than 11 trusts for much needed money that will ultimately support different concerts or some of the education work that we do. Each application made requires individual attention depending on the needs of the organisation. Some demand background while others ask for up-to-date financial records and finally, they have to see first hand what type of events we present. This means the enclosure of the previous year’s programme, newsletter, brochure – in fact anything that will sell the festival.

As for my job, the last 10 days have seen approaches to a number of artists asking if they would like to give a recital. Much of the programme is complete by this stage but there are always gaps to fill. Often someone needs to change the proposed date. While this in theory sounds fine, the new date is invariably already ‘bagged’. This means saying farewell to that particular event and starting from scratch with something else. And so it goes on… As artistic director, my job is to be as creative as possible – and stick to the budget!”

Places still available for Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform

Classical in the countrysideEvery year, the Two Moors Festival holds a competition to find the most promising young classical musicians in the south-west, with a prize of £250, the chance to perform alongside professional musicians in the main two-week event in October as part of the Festival and the opportunity to take part in an exclusive masterclass.

The competition is open to those aged 18 and under on January 1st 2014 who are classical musicians of minimum grade seven standard, either living or at school in the south-west of the UK.

There are still places available for entrants, although entry will close on January 31st for this year’s competition, with the first round of auditions taking place on the weekend beginning 8th March.

Click here to find out more information and download an entry form.

The Two Moors Festival Fundraising Recital

The Busch EnsembleFollowing on from this year’s Two Moors Festival main two-week event in October, the festival is holding a fundraising recital to help boost the charity’s finances ahead of next year’s programme (which is due to take place between October 16th and 25th), with drinks, canapes and music provided by the wonderful Busch Ensemble.

The concert is in aid of the festival’s Residency Project, which offers musicians at any stage of their career the opportunity to rehearse completely undisturbed in the beautiful surroundings of the Devon countryside at Barkham, the festival headquarters – which, aside from amazing views and lots of peace and quiet, boasts a studio with unrivalled acoustics and a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand.

The recital – taking place on January 21st next year – will be put on in the London home of Bob Boas, who is passionate about the arts and music. Following the death of his son, Bob set up a trust to help young musicians just starting out, with concerts taking place at his home raising funds for the Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust first and outside organisations second.

Tickets for the January 21st event cost £25 and tickets can be booked by emailing boas22m@btinternet.com or over the phone on 020 7436 0344.

If you’re unable to make it to the concert but would like to make a donation to the Festival, please make cheques payable to The Two Moors Festival and send them to:

Barkham, Sandyway, South Molton, North Devon, EX36 3LU

Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform competition now open

Some of 2013's winners
Some of 2013’s winners

If you’re a young musician  aged 18 and under on January 1st 2014 with a minimum of grade 7 on your chosen instrument living or at school in the south-west (covering Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and Devon) and wish to further your career, you may be interested to hear that the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform competition is now open for entries.

The deadline for entrants is 31st January 2014 and there’s a maximum number of 60 entries this year on a first come, first served basis, so if you’re keen to take part it’s vital that you get your form sent in as soon as possible.

The first round of auditions is due to take place at the Festival headquarters in North Devon between 8th-9th March 2014, with candidates required to play or sing two contrasting pieces lasting no longer than ten minutes in total. The competition is open to strings, brass and woodwind players, percussionists, pianists and singers.

Click here for the entry form.

Marimba player Alexandra Smith, one of the winners of 2013’s competition, had this to say about taking part: “There was a certain magic to the venue which was truly in the middle of nowhere! The wild beauty of the surroundings also added to the experience. I loved the venue hall… the fact that the adjudicators were seated around a big wooden table on beautiful old mismatched chairs gave a cosy and comforting homely feel to the auditions which certainly made me feel more confident. I don’t know if any of the adjudicators were famous, but they definitely put me at ease; it felt as if you were amongst friends – kindly aunts or uncles who had come around for afternoon tea! I felt that they really listened to my playing. I got a little cheer and clap from them at the end of each piece that I played which made me feel wonderful inside. I found the adjudicators’ comments so helpful. I actually had to look up some of the musical terms on Google!”

Unveiling our new website!

schubert-signpost-colour.pngNow that this year’s Two Moors Festival main two-week event has been and gone, we’ve been able to dedicate a bit more time to the administrative side to the charity – such as developing our new website, which has just gone live.

Please do go and take a look and let us know what you think. There are some photos of this year’s October event on the site, as well as information on upcoming Festival events (such as next year’s Young Musicians Platform Competition) and the various residencies we put on.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter easily via the links on the site, and find out all about the Devon area – where to eat, what to do and where to stay.

The Telegraph’s Michael White on The Two Moors Festival

michael-whiteWe were very pleased to have recently been the subject of conversation for Daily Telegraph music critic Michael White, who had some very lovely things to say about The Two Moors Festival.

He writes about how the festival began back in 2001 as the result of the foot and mouth crisis that devastated the south-west, as well as discussing the sheer number of concerts that are put on in just 10 days in October.

We were particularly tickled by this comment, made after this year’s main two-week event, which ended a few weeks ago:

“I’ve just been down there and clocked up six concerts in two-and-a-half days: some of memorable quality, given by major artists, and in places of exquisite beauty. It’s like going to the Wigmore Hall, with better views. And cows.”

You can read the rest of the article here. Please do tell us if you’ve come across the Festival in other news pieces – and we hope to see you at some concerts next year!

St Peter’s and St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Barnstaple

BPC-SpringThe start of this year’s Two Moors Festival main two-week event in October is very nearly upon us. The first concert to take place in 2013 is Beginning to See the Light, a charity concert we’re putting on in aid of the Calvert Trust, Barnstaple Samaritans and our own work in schools in rural areas.

The programme includes pieces by composers like Lockrane, Duke Wellington, Gavita, Count Basie, Gershwin and Bernstein, and will be held from 19:30 in St Peter’s and St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Barnstaple. The church itself has been around since about the 12th century, but so many changes have been seen since then that there are precious few traces left of the original building.

Lots happened to the church in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the spire being badly damaged by fire in 1793 and the weathercock being completely melted after it was hit by lightening in a freak thunderstorm back in 1810. This wasn’t the worst thing to happen to the church, however, and in 1860 a survey was undertaken and it was found that the entire building was structurally unsound. Restoration in 1823 had had an effect on the structure, with walls beginning to bulge, the roof sagging and the spire threatening to collapse. It was thought it would all have to be pulled down but luckily it was saved after designs from the 13th and 14th centuries were referred to.

We’re very much looking forward to the start of the festival and are very happy that the first concert will be held at St Peter’s. If you’d like tickets for the event, contact the festival box office on (01643) 831 006 to book.

Tickets are by donation, from between £15 and £28.

An interview with: Bassoonatics

At this year’s Two Moors Festival main two-week event in October, we’ve got a particularly entertaining concert for all you classical music lovers – A Bit of Light Relief with Bassoonatics, playing a programme that includes Ridout’s Pigs and Addison’s Four Miniatures in a rather interesting venue… the shop Mole Valley Farmers in South Molton! To find out more, we caught up with Jo Stark, one of the quartet’s members, to see just what audiences can expect on October 22nd.

Jostark2MF: What can you tell us about your programme at the 2MF this year?

JS: We’re really excited about coming down and playing at the Mole Valley Farm Shop! It’s great to get the chance to play to a wide variety of people who will probably have never heard a solo bassoon, let alone four together. With this in mind, we’ve tried to pick things that show all the colours, ranges and possibilities of the bassoon, that will also get our audience’s feet tapping!

2MF: How did you go about picking the pieces?

JS: We tried to pick a variety of things that would demonstrate the whole spectrum of bassoon quartet repertoire, while hopefully keeping it fun and fairly light. As we know we’re playing in a farm shop we didn’t choose anything that was too quiet or too long – we wanted to choose fun things that would grab listeners’ attention. We also had to pick Alan Ridout’s Pigs as we are playing in a farm shop!

2MF: Which do you think the audience will enjoy the most?

JS: We would like to think that there’s something for everyone, but Tico Tico always gets audiences going, and Danny Boy is always a popular nostalgic tune.

2MF: And your personal favourite to play?

JS: Maybe Danny Boy for all the hidden extra tunes in it – and Prokofiev’s Scherzo is really well written for the instrument.

2MF: What do you think of the festival’s theme of light?

JS: It’s a great idea that can be adapted in so many ways. Unfortunately, the bassoon quartet repertoire is a bit limited, so we only have the tenuous link that we are one of the heaviest instruments playing some of the lightest tunes!

2MF: Have you ever played in a shop before?

JS: Never!

2MF: What’s the oddest place you’ve ever performed?

JS: As the bassoon quartet, probably here! But as individuals we have played in groups in all sorts of different venues, including on top of the 37th floor of the Willis Building in London and in someone’s very small sitting room on Valentine’s Day!

2MF: Which festival concerts are you hoping to see?

JS: Sadly none as we are just having a flying visit down from London this year – but in previous years both Sinead and myself have played in the Two Moors Residencies, so we have enjoyed being around for longer during the festival. The small concerts in unusual venues are always highlights!

2MF: Where can people hear you all play after the festival?

JS: In different recitals around the London area – or in their own sitting room if they desire!

What do you like most about playing the bassoon?

JS: That it’s such good fun! You have to have a sense of humour.

2MF: Any tips for beginners?

JS: Try to play every day on any instrument – and as a bassoon player eat lots of eggs to make yourself strong enough to carry it around!

Entry to this concert is free, so just pop into Mole Valley Farmers on October 22nd just before 3pm to have a listen.

A Ray of Light

downloadAt this year’s Two Moors Festival main-two week event in October (16th-27th), we’re celebrating the theme of light, which we decided upon after seeing rays of light streaming in through the windows of Exeter Cathedral at one of last year’s concerts. Our concerts this year all have something to do with this theme, as do the many talks we’re putting on as fringe events. One of these is A Ray of Light, a discussion on stained glass given by Andrew Johnson, member of the British Society of Master Glass Painters and Glaziers.

Because our concerts all take place in churches across Dartmoor and Exmoor, it seemed more than fitting to hold such a talk, with Andrew covering the history of stained glass as well as the process of creating it. It’s been around for some 1,000 years and, although traditionally used in flat panels for windows and doors, over the years it has been increasingly used for sculpture and in other pieces, such as the world-renowned Tiffany lamps.

If you do go to Andrew’s talk – which takes place on October 22nd at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Chulmleigh – make sure you look around you at the windows in the church. Many examples of stained glass in such buildings have strong themes, such as episodes from the life of Christ and narratives of the Bible, so why not see what you can recognise as you listen?

And if you’d like to have a go at stained glass yourself, take a look at this fun video.

  • Inside (vmekho.wordpress.com)

A classical music marathon!

A portrait of BeethovenDo you remember a few years ago when the Two Moors Festival put on Beethoven & Biscuits, where all nine of the composer’s symphonies were played at concerts throughout the main two-week event in October, with a monologue at the beginning of each one written from the point of Beethoven himself? We thought that was a bit of a marathon Beethoven celebration and were particularly impressed by those who made it to each performance – and we’re equally impressed by pianist Martin Roscoe who has set himself the challenge of playing all five of the composer’s piano concertos in one evening next month.

If you’re in Manchester on October 5th, it might be particularly interesting to make your way to the Royal Northern College of Music to hear Martin take on the five-hour endurance test, put on to raise money for the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, with the Royal Northern’s own Daniel Parkinson conducting.

In the last few years I seem to have developed a bit of a reputation for Beethoven, having now recorded all the Piano Sonatas and played many of them in all-Beethoven recitals,” Martin told Mancunian Matters. “I have played all the Beethoven concertos many times and always feel very at home in these wonderful pieces. Four years ago, I played both Brahms’ Piano Concertos in one evening. My friend told me he had played all five Beethoven piano concertos in one concert in Germany. So I thought why not in the UK?”

It all gets going at 17:00 on the 15th, with tickets starting at £12 if bought in advance.

Have you ever set yourself any classical music challenges?