Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
From the festival in 2015.

From the festival in 2015.

Feast of new music at composers festival

More than 200 musicians, 70 pieces of music, composers flying in from all over the world and a Japanese dance troupe: all will feature in the Fourth International Composers Festival, which will take place in Hastings and Bexhill from 21 to 23 September. Julian Norridge provides the details.

There will be no less than six concerts over the three music-filled days. The first will be at the Opus Theatre in Hastings on the evening of Friday 21 September. There will be three more at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in the morning, early afternoon and evening of Saturday 22 September. The final two will be in the morning and late afternoon at the De La Warr on Sunday 23 September.

A record number of new compositions – more than 1,000 – have been submitted from all over the world for the event. Composers were asked to submit pieces of between three and seven minutes long. Around 60 were then selected by the artistic director and festival founder, Hastings-based Anglo-Argentinian composer Polo Piatti, to be played live during the festival.

Festival founder Polo Piatti.

Festival founder Polo Piatti.

The criteria were simple. They had to be melodic to fit the festival’s mission – to promote the most exciting and appealing classical music being written today. They had to be practical and form part of a balanced programme for each concert. And above all they had to be good.

Explaining why he started this unique festival, Piatti says that for many years, a strong trend has developed towards the intellectualisation of music. “While I recognise and appreciate the importance of progression in classical music, it is equally important that music remains accessible to all.

“By creating the Composer’s Festival, I wanted to maximise that inclusiveness and showcase and promote the works of new as well as of established composers that are committed to expressing feelings in classical music.”

Composers will be attending from places as far away as Australia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Qatar and Argentina to hear their music being played – and in some cases to perform it themselves.

Female composers well represented

Unusually, many of the composers featured will be women. A Google search for the top 100 classical music composers comes up with just one woman. For this event, women will make up around 15% of the composers featured.

Pianist Oliver Poole.

Oliver Poole, in conversation with Piatti and fellow pianist Sunny Li on Sunday.

The compositions will be performed by the International Festival Orchestra, which features both professional and talented local amateur musicians, as well as by numerous professional instrumentalists and singers.

The festival will begin with a Grand Opening Concert, Passion, at the Opus Theatre in Hastings at 7pm on Friday 21 September featuring 18 pieces by living composers of “exciting music you have never heard before” – because most of it is new.

On Saturday 22 September there will be three concerts at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Small is Beautiful at 10.30 in the morning will consist of 16 pieces of chamber music by composers from around the world, played by international and local soloists and ensembles.

Brighton Film Quartet

Brighton Film Quartet: mixing screen visuals with music in Soundscape.

At 1.30pm the Brighton Film Quartet, the UK’s only piano, clarinet, cello and violin quartet, will present Soundscape, a mesmerising blend of cinematic music and ambient sound track set to stunning big screen visuals created by 15 international film-makers.

At 7pm in the evening Camera – Sound – Play! will feature the International Festival Orchestra performing iconic film and TV soundtracks together with some of today’s most exciting gaming music. There will be music from such classics as La La Land, Harry Potter and Schindler’s List as well as popular computer games such as Oura.

At 10.30 on the morning of Sunday 23 September at the De La Warr, Total Piano – East Meets West will see the festival’s artistic director, Polo Piatti, in conversation with two of the most exciting young pianists of our time, Sunny Li from China and Oliver Poole from the UK, who will both perform some enticing new pieces.

Scene from The Crane's Wife, which will have its world premiere at the festival.

Scene from The Crane’s Wife, which will have its world premiere at the festival.

The final concert at 4pm on Sunday, Dancing Around the World, will feature the world premiere of a specially commissioned ballet, The Crane’s Wife by Japanese composer Nobuya Monta. There will also be six new symphonic dances from composers from around the world, choreographed and performed by local dance schools.
Tickets are available from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre (01424 451111) for events at Opus Theatre and from the De La Warr Pavilion for all their concerts (01424 229111).  Tickets for under-18s accompanied by a paying adult are free. A VIP festival pass is available giving access to all events. For further information, visit the website.

composers De La Warr 600

From the 2015 festival.

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Posted 17:04 Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 In: Music & Sound

Also in: Music & Sound

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