Tag Archives: Violin

What classical music did you listen to growing up?

As you may know from following the Two Moors Festival over the years, we’re big supporters of music education and do all we can to promote classical music to a new, younger audience. We’ve just heard about violinist Nicola Benedetti’s recommendations for ten pieces of classical music that children should grow up listening to and we wondered what your opinions of the list were… and, indeed, what you listened to as a child.

Here’s the list:

Beethoven’s Symphony No 4

Ravel’s Bolero

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

Dvorak’s Symphony No 9

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 8 in C minor

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons

Britten’s A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

We certainly listened to a lot of them growing up, but the rundown appears to have caused a bit of controversy, with people writing to the Times to say how much they disagree with Nicola’s thoughts on the matter.

But what about you? What did you listen to growing up?

To find out more about how the Two Moors Festival supports music education in the south-west, visit our website today.

An interview with: violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, Two Moors Festival competition winner

Earlier this month, we held the final round of the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform competition, a very prestigious contest open to singers and instrumentalists either living or going to school in the south-west at grade seven or above.

It was hard work picking four winners (who each claim a £250 prize and the chance to play alongside professional musicians in our main two-week event in October), but we eventually came to a decision, with violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, cellist Willard Carter, cornet player Andrew Wingham and cellist Rebecca McNaught all taking the top spots.

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring interviews with each of our four winners so you can find out a bit more about them, their playing and their love for classical music, and we’re starting off with violinist Hannah Brooks-Hughes, our youngest-ever winner at the age of 10.

Q&AHBH2MF: What did you do first when you found out you were one of our winners?

HBH: I was at school and my dad had texted the head of music when the letter arrived at home, so it was Mr McVittie who came and found me in my history lesson. Of course inside myself I was thrilled, but as I was at school I had to remain calm! I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day though!
2MF: Did you ever expect to win?

HBH: As it was my first attempt, and as I was so young compared to most of the other entrants, I didn’t expect to win. I had set myself the target of making it through to the second round though. On the way down for the final audition my dad got lost, so we arrived late, and it was all very rushed, but I felt I played well, and I really enjoyed the performance with Alison Farr playing piano for me – she’s an amazing pianist!
2MF: How does it feel to be our youngest-ever winner?

HBH: I’m very proud, and I’m even more excited because I am younger than the other competitors. I’m used to playing in competitions where I’m competing against older musicians, but to win such a prestigious competition, and to be the youngest, feels quite special I have to admit.
2MF: How will you be preparing for the concert in October?

HBH: I’m going to give the repertoire I choose a lot of thought because I want the performance to be special. Then it will be lots of practise and I would hope to be able to perform the pieces I choose at other ‘practice’ concerts beforehand. And of course I will need to go shopping to buy a new dress!
2MF: Has winning given your confidence as a violinist a boost?

HBH: Most definitely – yes! Competing against much older competitors, and winning, has given me confidence, and since this competition in fact I have won an ‘Under 18 Recital’ class at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts.
2MF: What are your future ambitions as a violinist?

HBH: I’d like to enter more regional and national competitions, and hopefully in a few years time the BBC Young Musician Competition. For the far off future I want to travel around the world performing.
2MF: Which violinist do you most look up to?

HBH: There are so many great violinists that I love listening to, but there are two that are special to me right now. Nicola Benedetti makes such a beautiful sound, and I admire the fact that she works so hard and always seems so happy. And my teacher, Matthew Denton of the Carducci Quartet, is a fantastic violinist who also works so hard for me.
2MF: What piece of music do you most love playing?

HBH: At the moment it is The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. It is such a beautiful work and yet it also has such sadness about it. I love trying to create those emotions.

Want more? Check out our video of Hannah playing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 5.



Wells Virtuosi fundraising concert in aid of the Two Moors Festival

This summer is promising to be a very musical one indeed, with lots of Two Moors Festival events taking place. One that we are particularly looking forward to is a fundraising concert being put on by Wells Virtuosi – Wells Cathedral School’s string orchestra – on June 28th in St Andrew’s Church, Cullompton, Devon.

The exceedingly talented group of young classical musicians from one of the finest music schools in Europe will be taking to the stage to play a programme consisting of Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 9, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3, and Strauss’s Metamorphosen.

Heading up the group is Matthew Souter, who was put forward for the principal viola position in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra when he was just 22 years old and who has performed all over the world both with orchestras and as a soloist. His own journey into classical music began when he was a specialist violinist at Wells Cathedral School, and returned there to teach in 2008 as head of the string programme.

Tickets for the Two Moors Festival fundraising concert cost £10, with unreserved seating, and you can call (01643) 831 370 for further details, or alternatively email the organisers at adie.exmoor@btinternet.com

To find out more about Wells Virtuosi, watch this insightful video:

Bach to the future


You may have heard of Bach to the future, a classical music project conceived by violinist Fenella Humphreys that will see modern composers Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sally Beamish, Adrian Sutton, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Piers Hellawell and Gordon Crosse write six new works for solo violin to accompany a specific Bach sonata or partita.

“I came up with the idea after a big competition I took part in with my former piano trio, when doing something unaccompanied seemed like a good plan for some much needed escapism.   It was when I was trying to put together a couple of programmes that I realised none of the big 20th Century british composers like Walton, Tippett, Britten and so on had written anything for solo violin, and neither had a lot of my favourite contemporary composers.   So in a moment of madness I decided to commission six new works,” Fenella says.

In order to raise the commission fees, Fenella turned to fundraising platform Kickstarter and has now surpassed her original goal of £3,000, with donations totalling £4,030 – which means she has been able to commission the first three pieces, due to be premiered at The Forge in London on April 8th, May 6th and June 10th 2015.

However, the total cost of all commissions is £25,000 and Fenella is now looking to raise a further £10,000 to complete the project and fund pieces by Adrian Sutton, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sally Beamish. If you’d like to support the project, you can find Fenella’s fundraising page here.

And have a listen to Fenella’s lovely violin-playing here, taking on Bartok with Nicola Eimer: 

Win a £3,000 Arcus Gold violin bow!

Young musicians dreaming of being the next Anne Akiko Meyers could boost their chances of their dream coming true if they enter a competition being run by the violinist herself – with the grand prize being a $5,000 (£3,192) Arcus Cadenza Gold carbon fibre violin bow.

Open to aspiring violinists of all ages, the contest is being run over social media, with Meyers calling on players to upload a two-minute video to her Facebook page showing her just why they deserve to get their nimble hands on this rather amazing prize.

“I am so excited to give one of my gold Arcus violin bows away.  I have owned many different violin bows throughout my life, and now play using Tourte and Gold Arcus carbon fiber bows. It is extremely light and spiccato can come out super-clean at lightening speed. I used to think that using a heavy stick produced a bigger sound but now I believe it really is quite the opposite,” Anne wrote on her blog.

You’ve got to be in it to win it, so go on and have a go! You’ve got until September 1st to enter.

Let us know if you’re successful!