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The International Composers Festival orchestra. Photograph by Peter Mould

DLWP hosts International Composers Festival

The International Composers Festival – the only event of its kind in the world – will be returning between 20 and 22 May, bigger and better than ever. For the first time, all the concerts will be taking place in the same major venue – the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Julian Norridge shares the programme for the weekend with us.

When the last ICF was held in 2018, 800 compositions were submitted for consideration. This year the number has risen to 3,650! They are from 860 composers from countries as diverse as Kazakhstan, Venezuela and the Lebanon. 60 have been selected for performance.

The idea behind the festival, which was founded by Hastings resident and award-winning British-Argentinian composer Polo Piatti, was to showcase tuneful and accessible music being written today by living composers that will appeal to all.

Principal conductor, John Andrews. Photograph by Peter Mould.

There will be four concerts over the three days. The opening night Ovation features mainly new music performed by the vibrant 80-strong International Festival Orchestra under principal conductor John Andrews and associate conductor Jack Wong.

The evening will also feature the premiere of Polo Piatti’s Old World Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, performed by virtuoso cellist Tim Posner (with his mother, the former principal cellist of the London Mozart Players, playing in the orchestra) and a performance of Anne by one of the UK’s best-known composers, Debbie Wiseman OBE, from her beautiful album Kings and Queens.

On the Saturday morning, 21 May, there will be a chamber music concert, Small is Beautiful, performed by international and local soloists, with the Hastings Sinfonia Wind Quintet and the festival’s very own ICF Piano Quartet. Composers from France and the US will be travelling to Bexhill to perform their own compositions.

On Saturday evening there will be a barnstorming concert of film, TV and games music, including well-known pieces from major films such as Slum Dog Millionaire – whose Oscar and Grammy Award winning composer, AR Rahman, hopes to be attending in person – the Harry Potter franchise and Pirates of the Caribbean. And there will be gentler music from TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, and new music being written for as-yet unseen productions.

On Sunday afternoon, 22 May, there will be a family concert called Songs and Dances from Around the World, featuring specially commissioned symphonic dances reflecting music from different regions of the world, some of them choreographed and performed by the Eastbourne Academy of Dancing.

Butoh dancer Yumino Seki.

The concert also features an emotive piece by US-based Mexican composer Jose Elizandro, choreographed and performed by St Leonards-based Japanese Butoh dancer Yumino Seki, as well as contributions from local favourites the Sound of Rock-A-Nore shanty singers and Sambalanco, the Hastings samba drumming band, both playing with a symphony orchestra for the first time.

It will close with a performance of festival patron Nigel Hess’s extraordinary The Way of Light, featuring young star Eleanor Grant, actor John Watts and St Richard’s Catholic College Choir.

The joy of the festival is that composers come from around the globe to hear their music being performed. And they want to know how the audience respond. So they are there, in the audience, and they want to talk to as many people as they can. It’s a unique, informal and engaging atmosphere. Stimulating… and great fun.

For further information, please go to the website. Tickets are available from the DLWP box office.

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Posted 16:00 Tuesday, May 3, 2022 In: Music & Sound

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