UK classical music festival followers will certainly be pleased to hear that the Wigmore Hall will be joining the likes of the Philharmonie de Paris and the Berlin Philharmonie in streaming their concerts live – great news for anyone who lives outside the capital and who can’t make it to their choice of performances.
Director of the Wigmore Hall John Gilhooly announced the new season of events earlier this week (February 10th), with highlights including Schubert: The Complete Songs (40 concerts over two seasons), an eight-concert Bartok Chamber Music series and a five-concert series for Magdalena Kozena, including a UK recital with husband Sir Simon Rattle, who will be making his Wigmore Hall debut.
Incidentally, Sir Simon will be conducting a unique children’s orchestra – The Young Orchestra for London – in two concerts at the Barbican on February 12th and 15th. In all, 100 musicians aged between 11 and 21 grade three and above will be taking part in the events – no doubt a dream come true for many.
As the followers of the Two Moors Festival will know, we do a lot of work in the south-west to help support the classical music dreams of young children in schools throughout the region. In fact, applications have just closed for our own Young Musicians Platform Competition 2015 for those aged under 18 who live or go to school in the south-west.
Each year, we take entries for brass, wind, percussion, strings and voice, so bookmark it for 2016 if you’re keen to take part.
Having our Two Moors Festival headquarters down in the very heart of the Devon countryside, we often find ourselves out and about in wellies – they’re the most practical option when you live in a valley, surrounded by nothing but fields, after all.
We were perusing Twitter the other day and came across an interesting hashtag – #UniInMyWellies – and, seeing that it was being run by local business Mole Valley Farmers, decided that it warranted further investigation.
As we discovered, it’s a contest going on at the moment between two universities to roadtest some of the wellies on offer at Mole Valley to find out which ones are the best, most hardy ones for farmers and other country dwellers.
We caught up with one of the testers, D’Arcie Rice, to find out more – and to find out just how she’s gone about putting her wellies through their paces.
2MF: So what exactly is Uni In My Wellies?
DR: #UniInMyWellies is a competition ran by Mole Valley Farmers between two universities Harper Adams and the Royal Agricultural University. 10 students at each university are picked to test wellington boots of various brands; the boots that I am testing are made by Bekina. The university that takes the best photos and creates the most publicity win- last year (the first year of this competition) Harper won.
2MF: How did it all come about?
DR: I am currently a student at the Royal Agricultural University studying International Business Management (Agri-business & food); I am also a regular customer at Mole Valley Farmers so i follow them on Twitter. At the end of August i saw that they were looking for students to participate in this competition so I applied for a place, and subsequently gained a place on #TeamCiren.
2MF: What have you done to test your wellies?
DR: To test my wellington boots I have been wearing them around university, to parties, at the university farms, riding horses and walking my dog. I’ve also stood in a lake while wearing them! They are definitely waterproof!
2MF: Is any welly throwing involved?
DR: No welly throwing has been done yet, however I may give that a go!
2MF: What’s the verdict for the wellies you’ve tested? Any favourite brands?
DR: My Bekina StepliteXs are extremely comfortable and practical. I would recommend them to anyone who requires a good sturdy and warm pair of boots. They also have a fairly wide calf so its easy to tuck your overalls into them – which is normally an issue in many pairs of wellington boots. They haven’t weakened at all in the time I’ve owned them and I’m pleasantly surprised.
2MF: Tell us more about your course.
DR: My course is effectively a Business Management degree, however the international aspect comes from studying a chosen language for two years. I am studying French, and areas are specialised to show how general business works in the food and agriculture industries. It is really interesting and I really enjoy it.
2MF: What do you hope to do in the future?
DR: In the future I am not entirely certain what I’d like to do; however as long as it involves food or farming then I will be happy and I am sure as time goes on I will find a sector within the food/agriculture industry that I would like to go into. But for the moment I have more than two years left on my degree.
We’d just like to wish the patron of the Two Moors Festival, HRH The Countess of Wessex, a very happy 50th birthday. As Penny wrote yesterday, she’s always so supportive of the work the festival does and we couldn’t hope for a better patron.
Here’s hoping she has a lovely birthday, surrounded by friends and family, with lots of lovely cake and presents.
And here’s Two Moors artistic director and fundraiser Penny and John Adie, having what looks like a great time with the Countess:
Avid followers of UK classical music festivals will no doubt have heard of our concert series that takes place in Tiverton Parkway train station down here in Devon – and we’re pleased to announce that it’s back once again this December for a very festive set of recitals.
On December 8th, between 18:00 and 19:00, The Barle Singers will be taking centre stage at the train station, directed by Stephen Pugsley, singing all sorts of lovely carols… the perfect way to kick start the festive season, we’re sure you’ll agree.
And then on December 15th, the award-winning Oxford University Duo will be putting on a programme From Bach to Carols between the 11:38 and 12:09 trains, and then once again between 18:00 and 19:00.
Finally, on December 22nd, a festive programme with carols will be put on by virtuoso flautists Emma Halnan and Katy Ovens between the 11:38 and 12:09 trains, and later in the evening between 18:00 and 19:00.
These concerts have proven so popular over the years so if you can make it to one – or all – of them, please do. All three are free and unticketed so even if you don’t have a train to catch, pop on down to Tiverton Parkway if you’re in the area to really get yourself in the yuletide spirit.
If you do go, we’d love to hear what you thought and if you take any photos, please do share them with us over on Twitter or Facebook. Merry Christmas, everyone!
For even more information about what the Two Moors Festival does, visit our website today.
Joy to the world! If you love UK classical music festivals, then you need to get yourself some of our really rather delightful Christmas cards to send to all your friends and family this year.
These were really popular at this year’s Two Moors Festival back in October so get in there quick if you’d like some for yourself as they’re selling like hot cakes.
The absolutely beautiful photograph was captured by the talented Stan Hill and the cards come in a pack of ten for just £4 – a bargain if ever there was one.
Postage is £3.50 on orders up to 20 and £4.50 for anything above that. Give us a call on (01643) 831 370 if you’d like to put in an order and we hope you have a really lovely Christmas and a wonderful new year.
To find out more about the work that the Two Moors Festival does across the south-west of the UK, visit our website today.
Supporters of UK classical music festivals will surely know just how much work goes into putting on events of this kind every year – and just how important it is for the organisers to take a few days here and there to really unwind after the event is done and dusted with.
Certainly, we here at the Two Moors Festival relish the few days of quiet time we have after the festival comes to a close. Because we live in Devon, one of the most beautiful parts of the world, going for a day out means we don’t even have to travel very far – there are some amazing hotspots right on our very doorstep.
Here are our top three wintry walks to go on in this stunning county of ours.
1. The Tarka Trail
Tried and tested, this is a favourite stroll for many and as soon as you start walking, it’s not hard to see why. Running through 163 miles of beautiful coastline (no, don’t try to do it in a day!), the trail was popularised by Henry Williamson’s book Tarka the Otter (which we actually turned into a much-loved opera a few years ago).
2. The Mamhead Sensory Trail
This walk, near Exeter, is suitable for all ages so if you’ve got little people don’t be put off… get everyone in their wellies and simply set off! It takes you through Haldon Forest Park and is marked along the way with signs pointing out all sorts of interesting sights and sounds. It’s also pram-friendly so don’t leave the babies behind.
3. The Middle Dart Valley Walk
This south Devon stroll starts and ends in Totnes and is perfect for wintry walks because the going is easy no matter the weather. You’ll get some amazing views of the River Dart and the Dart Valley so don’t forget your camera, particularly if it’s a lovely day.
Whenever UK classical music festivals enthusiasts go to a concert, there is always one constant that remains true basically no matter where you are in the country – there will always be a reminder to turn off your mobile phones before the performance begins.
Well, as many of you who have been to the Two Moors Festival will know, this isn’t always such a necessity because parts of Exmoor and Dartmoor are so remote that there’s not even a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any signal in the churches that we choose to put our concerts on in.
However, this all looks set to change from next year on, as a new mast has been put up on Exmoor that will provide mobile phone coverage for all four main network providers. So apologies if you’ve become accustomed to not turning your phone off at our concerts – you’ll have to not be so complacent from 2015!
Exmoor is the first National Park in the UK to benefit from the Mobile Infrastructure Project set up by the government and we fully welcome this shove even further into the 21st century… although we do often feel as though the festival HQ is something of a respite from the ringing telephone for many of our visitors!
What do you think? Do you relish the peace and quiet when you dip out of signal range or do you feel the need to be connected 24/7? Let us know in the comments below – and don’t forget to keep an eye on our website for further details about upcoming Two Moors events.