Tag Archives: concerts

Thank you!

Well, what a festival! Yet again, we are so grateful for everyone who was involved in this year’s festival – there are so many volunteers and people behind the scenes that it would just not be possible to carry on without.

Of course, the standard of music this year was as exemplary as ever with so many wonderful comments from audience members.

We must rest for a few days before planning 2018 – keep an eye out for news announcing next year’s programme!

Thank you!
Two Moors Festival Moors Scenes 01.JPG


Young Musician Winners Announced!

We are so pleased to announce our four winners for this year’s Two Moors Festival Young Musicians’ Platform:

Matilda Wale, aged 16, Voice, from New College, Swindon

Ellen O’Brien, aged 17, French Horn, from The Castle School, Thornbury

Poppy Freya McGhee, aged 12, Violin, Hugh Sexey Middle School, Wedmore

Joseph Pritchard, aged 17, Cello, from Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey

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The standard this year was exceptionally high so huge congratulations to everyone who took part. We look forward to seeing these wonderful performers at this year’s festival and for all the upcoming young artists, keep an eye out for the opening of the 2018 competition later this year!

Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Competition Rnd 1

The first round of the Two Moors Festival’s Young Musicians Platform competition took place this weekend. A total of 47 candidates aged 18 and under entered at a standard of ABRSM Grade 7 and above. This could be any instrument plus voice and they were asked to prepare two contrasting pieces of their choice.

The competition is unique in several ways. The first is that we look for four outstanding players and not just one. The emphasis is on performance and ability to share an innate love of music with an audience. The audition atmosphere is unlike any other in that we chat in a fun way to each candidate from the moment they walk through the door and we also give a mini masterclass if there’s time. Each of the winners receives £250 plus an opportunity to share a recital in the main festival.

Judging from the feedback, all participants feel encouraged, inspired and above all retain their joy at being involved in playing classical music. In one instance, a young singer said he had been singing music theatre until recently. He then heard songs by Richard Strauss (nothing could be more different) as a result of which he was hooked on Lieder!

The way in which our competition operates begs the question – should all competitions be run along similar lines? Or does this imply that Bach’s B Minor Mass is something to be taken lightly? Does this prepare aspiring young musicians to enter the profession with rose-tinted spectacles when they should be aware of the arduous work and fierce competition that lie ahead? Does this give them a false impression that all competitions are going to be staged in a similar manner?

In an age when competitions abound and spring up like mushrooms, I believe the more encouragement one can give school-age youngsters the better. They need to be inspired, their sheer joy of being involved in classical music requires fostering as much as possible and nowadays, where there are so many competitions, to have one that does these in spade loads says a lot.

It’s instantly noticeable if the music comes from within a musician who plays from the soul. Likewise the opposite where the playing is automatic and the delivery forced. Dare I say it, but some of the performers from specialist music schools display this. There is always the expectation that these youngsters are bound to be brilliant but we’re often disappointed.

With all this in mind, this is where the Festival’s own competition comes into its own. The environment that is provided gives each entrant such stimulus that nerves are frequently dispensed with so that they can play with such expression that technical limitations don’t matter. Their overall love of music-making in a performance is all that matters regardless of whether they enter the profession or not and that the inspiration we give them will help them in later life.

Penny Adie

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.

As many of you UK classical music festival fans will know, we have a new website, which is proving to be a great success. We’ve had lots of positive feedback – people like its slick and up-to-the-minute design, find it efficient and most of all, it achieves its aim, which is to attract attention.

It’s been busy to say the least as Friends Booking opened a week ago. Hannah Newman (more about her later) has been rushed off her feet processing postal bookings, chatting to lots of folk who prefer to buy their tickets over the phone and keeping records of who’s booked what. I find it fascinating to see which concerts sell well and those that don’t appeal to the masses. Very often it’s not what I expect! However, there is always a general trend that kicks off right from the start and on this occasion there are three concerts going neck and neck for a quick sell-out. The remaining are all bunched against the rails and doing well.

I mentioned Hannah. She is a second year medical student at UCL – yet she is running the box office for a high-class music festival. What a fine box office operator she is too! Her musical knowledge is good, she is professional in her approach, has a super telephone manner, is able to pronounce names like Agata Szymczewska and rarely makes an error.

It’s worth saying something about bookings made on the phone. Having sent out a questionnaire three years ago, we found that 99% of our audience preferred this method of obtaining tickets to any other system. Why? Because they like to discuss the position of a seat or check about parking but most importantly, they like to chat about what’s in the programme. Talking to a real person who can provide answers to questions such as ‘what’s the Lieder concert all about?’ is essential. Apart from anything else, it makes supporters feel part of the festival.

So do keep on booking by phone and enjoy your conversation with Hannah!

To find out more about this year’s festival and to order a brochure, visit our website today.

Programme change: Tine Thing Helseth cancellation

This year’s Two Moors Festival classical music programme will be a little different to what has been advertised – very sadly, Tine Thing Helseth has been forced to pull out as a result of ongoing health problems.

We are therefore most fortunate that on October 18th, brilliant young violinist Agata Szymczewska has agreed to play Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G minor Op. 26 with the Orchestra of the Swan in Exeter Cathedral. This will replace Haydn’s trumpet concerto.

And on October 22nd, one of the most renowned pianists of our time Imogen Cooper will be performing in Dunster Church, having most generously agreed to give the following recital programme:

Schumann, Novelette op 21/8
Schumann, Davidsbundlertanze op 6
Schumann, Abegg Variations op 1
Schubert, Sonata in Bb major D960

If you have further queries regarding this change of programme, please call the box office on (01643) 831 006.

And please visit our website to find out more about this year’s event.


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.

The festival is proud to present its new website and what a site it is too! Up to the minute, slick, user-friendly and enticing, what more could we want!

At a stroke the site reveals not only the superb quality and varied nature of the concerts but the beauty of Dartmoor and Exmoor too. These alone will tempt people to venture further than the homepage and to discover the attraction of combining a holiday in the westcountry with attending some of the highest-calibre chamber music to be heard anywhere in the world.

The display buttons are easy to use and quick to respond. The concerts page has super pictures of the artist, likewise Visitor Info where the photographs make one yearn for an instant break. About the Festival provides background (worth reading, by the way) and the education section gives an insight into some of the peripheral work that goes on throughout the year.

If you haven’t visited the site for some time, why not do so now and please tell others likewise. This is a major step forwards – and it’s what the festival is all about. We are always looking to the future whether it’s artistically, or continuing to raise the cultural profile of the south-west. Next year sees our 15th anniversary, which is quite an achievement since most new festivals die before they reach their fifth birthday!

Onwards and upwards as they say!

The box office is open!

You should all have received your brochures for this year’s Two Moors Festival taking place in October (if you haven’t, you can easily order them from our website) – and the festival box office is now open, ready to take your ticket orders.

There are some fantastic concerts being put on this year, with some of the biggest names in classical music (such as Viktoria Mullova, Jayson Gillham, Kate Royal and Angela Hewitt), so make sure you book your tickets early to avoid any disappointment.

Call the box office on (01643) 831 006 to book.

To find out more about the various concerts taking place in 2014, visit our website today.

Two Moors Festival Autumn Concert Series

For the past couple of years, we’ve been working to take classical music even further from the traditional concert halls of old and into some rather interesting venues, like the waiting room at Tiverton Parkway railway station down in Devon.

And this year is certainly no exception, as we’re returning to the train station once again to put on a series of concerts during September and October, taking place between the 11.38 and 12.09 trains.

On September 12th, cellist Rebecca McNaught – one of the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform Competition winners of 2014 – will be playing Bach and Minsky.

On September 19th, cellist Willard Carter – another of our competition winners – will be playing Bach, while on September 26th violinist Tansy Bennett will be playing Paganini.

On October 3rd, cornet player Andy Wingham – also a Two Moors Festival competition winner – will be playing Morrison and on October 10th harpist Elizabeth Scorer will be back with even more Bach.

Entry is free and no ticket is required – just make sure you’re in the waiting room at the right time on the right day to hear some beautiful music-making.

To find out more about the Two Moors Festival, visit our website today.

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.

Like all weeks in the year, the Festival keeps us busy. In fact, it’s true to say that the work never stops. There are essentially three people hard at it. My husband, John and Chief Executive, spends part or whole of every day approaching trust funds for money to keep us afloat (and believe me, the Festival, like most arts organisations, needs every penny it can get), our Administrator, Liz Pile tackles everything from organizing accommodation for artists to managing all aspects of education projects and I, as Artistic Director, approach artists for recitals, collaborate on programmes, discuss fees, and if anyone thinks this is a cushy job, well, think again. I am beginning to work on 2016’s festival programme already!

With the Box Office opening in two weeks time, there is preparation to do in making sure that seat rows and numbers are in order. Booking forms require printing and the person in charge of selling tickets is well versed in answering questions on the artists involved, as well as the music content of all the concerts. It’s interesting to note that following a questionnaire sent out last year, most people prefer to book tickets by post or discuss their possible ticket requests over the phone. It is therefore vital to have who has musical knowledge and who can answer the many questions intelligently. Hannah Newman did a splendid job last year and was obviously not put off since she is coming back to take up the reins again.

I always know when the Box Office is about to open as it coincides with that lovely period of summer when all the soft fruit ripens. This means only one thing: jam! Last year hailed 46lbs (not joking) of blackcurrants and I’m longing to see whether this year’s crop will beat that amazing quantity! As I type, redcurrants are brewing for the first lot of jelly with gooseberries not far behind. I will keep readers up to date with progress and if anyone needs any advice on how to make (near) perfect conserves, I am happy to give advice!

To find out more about the Two Moors Festival and to order this year’s brochure, visit our website today.

How do you tackle stage fright?

The Two Moors Festival’s main two-week event is drawing ever closer (taking place between October 15th and 25th) and no doubt the many classical musicians due to perform are already practising their pieces and getting as ready as they can.

No matter how long you have been performing, an attack of the nerves can strike at any time and you never know quite how it will affect you. We once heard of a singer who really suffered from nerves and had to keep a bucket at the side of the platform because she knew she would throw up at some point before she went on stage. However, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are ways you can deal with stage fright – and they don’t all involve buckets.

The first thing you need to remember is that you’re definitely not alone and countless musicians around the world suffer in much the same way you do (and if you don’t believe us, read this eye-opening article in the Daily Telegraph). It really does help to know that you’re not alone – and that no one is perfect!

It also helps to be as prepared as possible and to make sure you’re as well rehearsed as you can be, so practice, practice, practice before the day of your performance. If you do feel the nerves approaching, do your best not to fight them. You need to acknowledge that they’re there and accept them – the more you fight against them, the worse they become.

And of course, there’s the time-honoured tradition of having a quick tipple before heading out onto the stage. Just don’t overdo it, or you might find you are unable to play for quite a different reason!

How do you fight the nerves? Let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about the Two Moors Festival and to order a brochure for this year’s event, visit our website today.