9 November 2017
We've been busy in the recording studio over the past year, and after the summer release of our Jonathan Dove CD with Mark Padmore and Charles Owen we have two new CDs coming out over the next few weeks, featuring works from Graham Fitkin and John McCabe.
Our Fitkin CD is now available for pre-order here . Featuring premiere recordings of five of the composer’s works for string quartet, this is a complete survey of his quartet writing so far. Composed between 1992 and 2007, this disc includes String, premiered by the Sacconi Quartet in 2007, and also features his quartets Servant, Pawn and Inside.
This month also sees the release of our John McCabe CD, featuring his Piano Quintet Woman by the Sea with the composer at the piano. His Horn Quintet is performed with leading horn player David Pyatt, and for his haunting Silver Nocturnes we are joined by renowned baritone Roderick Williams. It is available here.
And do join us at Kings Place in December to celebrate the launch of our Fitkin CD. Together with Graham Fitkin himself, we present an evening of the composer’s music, alongside pieces by Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt. This is a rare chance to hear Fitkin at the piano and to immerse yourself in his stunning body of work for string quartet.
Programme and ticket details can be found at the Kings Place website.
29 September 2017
Earlier this summer, we had the great privilege of performing a series of concerts for BBC Radio 3's Big Chamber Weekend as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. We performed in three concerts in total, all of which were recorded for later broadcast. We are therefore delighted to announce that all three will be broadcast on R3 next week, starting at 1pm on Wednesday 4th October, with the second and third being broadcast at the same time on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th. As usual, they will all be available on BBC iPlayer for 28 days after they are broadcast.
22 August 2017
We are thrilled to announce that our new Jonathan Dove CD is Recording of the Month in Gramophone magazine:
Seldom does a mixed vocal and chamber programme such as this hang together so perfectly... This important release cannot be recommended too highly.
The Guardian also gave it high praise:
Intense and light-filled… clear, focused playing from the Sacconi Quartet.
To buy the CD, please follow the link here.
3 July 2017
This coming weekend (8th and 9th July) we'll be in Hull University's stunning Middleton Hall, where we will perform three concerts exploring key themes of Hull’s past – from the work of William Wilberforce to the effects of the Blitz. We will be joined by the pianist Anna Tilbrook and tenor James Gilchrist, with the whole series of concerts being presented by Petroc Trelawny and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 later in the year.
Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3, says of the weekend: “Chamber music is special: it arguably engages the mind and the heart more than any other music. It is an important part of what Radio 3 does and what makes it so distinctive. We are delighted to be bringing some of the finest chamber music and musicians to Hull as part of UK City of Culture 2017, and we really hope audiences both in Hull and listening on Radio 3 are enriched by these imaginatively curated programmes.”
17 May 2017
Those of you who can’t make it down to Folkestone for our 10th Festival, will still have the chance to hear and see some of the Festival as we will be LIVE STREAMING the Friday night concert! All you have to do is click on this link: Sacconi Live.
The concert starts at 7pm on Friday 19th May, and we will be broadcasting the Haydn op.76 no.5, Glass 2nd String Quartet and Schubert Death and the Maiden live. Please note, this is a brand new thing that we’re trying and a bit of an experiment, but fingers crossed no gremlins spoil the party!
12 May 2017
We popped into Radio 3 yesterday to appear on BBC R3's 'In Tune' programme, hosted by Suzy Klein. We had a great time playing live and chatting to Suzy about our 10th Festival, which is now only one week away, and our forthcoming Dove disc on Signum Records, which will be released on 16th June. The whole programme, including our live pieces is available on BBC iPlayer until 10th June.
19 April 2017
This June, Hannah and other musicians, including Meghan Cassidy and Rick Wakeman, will be taking part in the Marylebone music Festival, which has revived the music and spirit of the Marylebone Pleasure Gardens, which closed in 1776. This year's Festival, 240 years in the making, and now in its second edition in the 21st century, takes place at the end of June.
Audiences will be serenaded by the Queen’s Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in Manchester Square and treated to a Gala at the Opera at the Landmark Hotel with the Orion Orchestra and singers from English National Opera and the Royal Opera house in the presence of HRH Princess Michael of Kent.
Hannah will be playing in 'Secrets & Seduction' Chamber Music Concert at the Wallace Collection, where performances would once have taken place before the Wigmore Hall was built, on 24th June with, amongst others, Tom Poster and Meghan Cassidy, one of the Festival Directors.
All proceeds from the MMF festival go to The West London Day Centre. Full details and ticket information can be found here.
21 March 2017
This Easter, Cara will be joining the pianist and musical Director Libby Burgess at the New Paths Music Festival, held in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Beverley. She will be joined there by other well-known chamber musicians and singers, including the violinist Jamie Campbell and harpsichordist Christopher Bucknall, Cara's husband! The event is spread across four days, from Thursday 20th April to Sunday 23rd, with concerts taking place in venues across Beverley, including in its exquisite 13th-century Minster.
10 March 2017
On Tuesday 28th March, Hannah will be putting on a charity benefit concert for the Refugee Council in Forest Hill, London. The programme will include works by Pärt, Schoenberg and Elgar. The concert will be held in St Augustine's Church, Forest Hill, tickets £10, with all proceeds going to the Refugee Council.
Please come if you can!
21 February 2017
19 - 21 May, Folkestone
To purchase your tickets and Rovers for the Sacconi Festival 2017 you can book over the phone on 01303 760750 or online through the Quarterhouse website (Rovers can only be booked over the phone or in person at the Quarterhouse). Go to the Festival page for programme and venue details.
17 January 2017
Save the date - Friday 19 - Sunday 21 May, at St Eanswythe’s Church, Folkestone.
Our guests include the Wihan Quartet, Alasdair Beatson (piano) and Lavinia Meijer (harpist) with performances including the Mendelssohn and Enescu Octets, Schubert's Trout Quintet and Death and the Maiden, Beethoven's Archduke Trio and the Friends’ choice: Dvorak's Piano Quintet No.2, in A major.
Details will be put up on our Festival page soon, so watch this space!
20 December 2016
The latest Sacconi newsletter is out, and it contains personal reflections on the year from all four of us, where we pick out our own personal highlights from the year. It also contains some exciting news about one of the pieces to be played as the finalé at next year's Festival, which has been selected by a poll of the Sacconi Friends and Patrons. Full details of the selected piece, along with our thoughts on the year, can be found in our Winter newsletter. The archive of our previous newsletters can also be found here.
We are also starting to release some of the recordings we made at this year's Festival, with the first three now available to view on our Media page, as well as on our YouTube channel. Watch this space as more are added!
Have a very happy Christmas!
21 November 2016
Next January, Ben will be joining other eminent musicians at the Wye Valley Music Festival, which runs from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd January. The Festival was established back in 2000 to bring world-class chamber music to beautiful and intimate venues up and down the Wye Valley. It has attracted world-class musicians from the outset and is now an important year-round cultural presence in the Wye Valley.
Ben will be playing two concerts over the Festival, on the Thursday 19th January (Fauré Piano Quintet in C minor, op. 115) and Saturday 21st (Beethoven Violin Sonata in D, op. 12 no. 1). Full details can be found at the Wye Valley Chamber Music website.
17 October 2016
Not content with travelling all over the North of England on tour with the rest of the Sacconis, both Hannah and Cara are filling up their already busy lives with other performances around the country.
First up, Hannah is performing this Saturday (22nd October) at Kings Place in London for Vivaldi Rocks! with the Swedish Festival O/Modernt Kammarorkester, who will be reinventing the past by exploring relationships between old and new, fusing Vivaldi with the rock music of today. Full details can be found on the Kings Place website.
Not to be outdone, Cara is playing two concerts this Autumn with Ensemble Perpetuo, which features the viola skills of her brother, Andrew. They are playing at the Cathedral Concert Society in Ripon on Monday the 14th November and again at The Forge, London on Monday the 28th November.
Do come to one if you can!
12 October 2016
To celebrate the 10th Sacconi Chamber Music Festival next year, our Sacconi Friends and Patrons will have the opportunity to vote for which piano quintet will end next year's Festival. The wonderful pianist Alasdair Beatson will be joining us next year to perform one of four romantic quintets, but which one is up to our dedicated Friends and Patrons, without whom our Festival simply wouldn’t happen.
To become a Friend, and get your vote, click here!
12 September 2016
Although it has only just been released, our latest recording, Beethoven & Mendelssohn String Quartets, has already picked up a couple of excellent reviews in the Press. First was Fiona Maddocks, awarding the disc 4 stars in The Observer, who writes "The playing is fresh and pliable, each work illuminating the other.". She adds "String quartets stand out for different reasons, from quality of sound... to adventurous repertoire... to versatility, among whom the Sacconi Quartet... are front-runners."
Guy Weatherall, writing in September's Classical Music Magazine was similarly enthusiastic, awarding the CD 5 Stars and praising the "Refreshing, committed performances... these young players relish the drama herein.". He singles out the Op. 132 recording, describing it as "...earthy and bold, although the slow movement is rapt and totally unsentimental. It is a new recording and sounds marvellous..."
25 August 2016
In his article we explore how this has been an opportunity to break boundaries, and discuss some of the recent projects, such as Heartfelt and Beethoven in the Dark, which have provided us with new ways in which to connect to our audiences.
19 July 2016
Our new Jonathan Dove commission In Damascus has picked up excellent reviews in both the Guardian and the FT, following its London premiere at our Kings Place birthday concert last week. The Guardian awarded the concert five stars, describing it as 'unusual and timely', with libretto that is 'both simple and direct, without any hint of rhetoric or sensation'. Mark Padmore was praised for his 'immaculate artistry', and the Guardian concluded that 'The overall impact of the work and its performance was profound, an unforgettable example of the power of art to convey something terrible through an expression that is paradoxically in itself beautiful'.
The FT review echoed the same praise: 'As ever, Dove writes well for the voice and tenor Mark Padmore was very expressive in his music, the many high-lying lines floated in a head voice reminiscent of Britten’s writing for Peter Pears. For the Sacconi Quartet this was an anniversary celebrated in some style.'
6 June 2016
Following the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s In Damascus, given by the Sacconis and Mark Padmore in Folkestone on 20th May 2016, the London premiere will be at the quartet’s fifteenth birthday concert at Kings Place on 13th July 2016.
Don’t miss the chance to hear this evocative and thought-provoking work in the flesh.
The Sacconis and Mark will also perform In Damascus in Aldeburgh on 12th July and then record the piece for Signum Records, to be released in 2017.
The Quartet wish wholeheartedly to thank the Michael Cuddigan Trust, the Vernon Ellis Foundation and everyone who supported and contributed to this project, and we look forward to seeing you at Kings Place on 13th July.
16 May 2016
The Sacconis will be appearing on BBC R3's 'In Tune' programme tomorrow, Tuesday 17th May, with Suzy Klein. We will be discussing our upcoming Festival in Folkestone, and in particular our new commission, 'In Damascus', written for us by Jonathan Dove and sung by Mark Padmore, which receives its World Premiere at Folkestone on Friday 20th May.
The programme starts at 4:30, with the Sacconis appearing at 5:30. The programme will subsequently will be available on BBC iPlayer for one month. Please tune in to us tomorrow!
4 May 2016
We have been out and about in Folkestone visiting St Eanswythe’s Primary School, one of the schools we’ve been to many times and have got to know very well. We love delivering chamber music workshops to the children here and they seemed to enjoy it too! An article about our outreach work will be published in Music Teacher Magazine soon, so watch out for that! We are doing at least seven school workshops in our Festival Outreach Programme this year and have been generously funded by the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, Teacher Music Magazine and the Kent Community Foundation’s Overstone Fund.
We are all ready and set for the Festival, and very excited about all our guest artists, the exciting programme, and of course the new commission from Jonathan Dove that we will be performing with Mark Padmore on the Friday evening. Plus the Viola Invasion on Sunday afternoon with Roger Chase promises to be a fantastic and unique event! We’re looking forward to welcoming back amazing pianist Charles Owen and chilling out with Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski at our late-night concert. Full programme details can be found on our Festival and to book your tickets visit the Quarterhouse website.
14 March 2016
This Spring, the Sacconis are filling up their already busy lives with some additional musical projects.
First up, Robin will be playing down in Cornwall as part of the famous St Endellion Easter Festival. He will be playing Schubert's 'Trout' quintet, alongside the likes of the pianist Viv McLean, on Easter Sunday, 27th March, in the Church of St Endelienta.
The following weekend, Hannah is part of a two day 'mini tour' with the Zoffany Ensemble, who will be playing a programme of Schubert String Trio, Mendelssohn String Quintet and Brahms String Sextet. Their first concert is on Friday, 1st April, at St Giles’ Church, Medbourne, Leicestershire, with the second at 7.30 on Saturday, 2nd April at Kirkbymoorside Memorial Hall, N.Yorks.
Next, Cara will be joining the pianist and musical Director Libby Burgess at the New Paths Music Festival, held in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Beverley. She will be joined there by other well-known chamber musicians and singers, including the violinist Jamie Campbell, Soprano Mary Bevan and Baritone Marcus Farnsworth. The event is spread across four days, from Thursday 7th April to Sunday 10th, with concerts taking place in venues across Beverley, including in its exquisite 13th-century Minster.
The same weekend, Ben is off up to Scotland to take part in the Kinnordy Music Festival directed by the pianist Daniel Tong and cellist Robin Michael, where he will be joined by a small group of Chamber musicians to perform works by the likes of Brahms, Schumann and Debussy. The Festival will be held in the magnificent Kinnordy House, just north of Dundee.
Finally, Hannah and Cara will be joining up, together with other musicians, for a special day put on by the charity Live Music Now, celebrating the life and Music of Yehudi Menuhin. The celebration will be at Kings Place on Sunday 17th April, with the concert itself taking place at 11:30 in the main hall.
21 January 2016
The 2016 Sacconi Festival programme is now finalised, and this year we have put together a programme using the many permutations of chamber music ensembles. Quartets feature heavily of course, but we also have duets, quintets, sextets, an octet and indeed a triple quartet! Not to mention chamber orchestra works and a concerto no less.
Our big news is of course the World Premiere of a brand new work for tenor and string quartet by Jonathan Dove, commissioned by the Sacconis and tenor Mark Padmore. Jonathan Dove’s new work In Damascus is a cantata, setting words by the Syrian poet Ali Safar, who with piercing eloquence and deep humanity distills the harrowing experiences of daily life in a war-torn country. Mark and the Sacconis will be performing this major new work on the Friday evening concert at the Festival this year.
Other Festival guests include guitarist Morgan Szymanski, and Charles Owen who returns to perform Jonathan Dove’s Piano Quintet. Plus we have a rare treat for you with our Viola Invasion! Ten violists, including Roger Chase, Yuko Inoue, Garfield Jackson, Douglas Paterson, Andriy Viytovych and of course our very own Robin Ashwell will perform an English programme of works dedicated to the great violist Lionel Tertis.
UPDATE: The Box Office is now open! Full details can be found at the Quarterhouse website.
11 December 2015
This January, Ben will be playing in the Wye Valley Chamber Music January Festival, where he will be joined by many other well known musicians. The Festival was established in 2000 to bring world-class chamber music to beautiful and intimate venues up and down the Wye Valley, and continues to attract musicians of the highest calibre.
The Festival runs over a full week, from Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th January at venues across the Wye Valley. Full details can be found at the Festival website. There will also be a preview concert in London on Thursday 7th January - full details can be found here.
9 November 2015
After their debut at The Sacconi Festival last May, Hannah, Pierre and John Paul Ekins (piano), will take to the stage at Conway Hall to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor. This concert is followed by an informal Q&A which will be conducted by Kimon Daltas, editor of Classical Music magazine.
Rhinegold LIVE is a concert series which aims to offer a unique and informal take on the classical recital experience. Concerts are free to attend and include a free glass of wine beforehand. Full details of this performance, as well as other concerts in the series, can be found at the Rhinegold LIVE site.
4 October 2015
The Sacconi's latest newsletter is now out, full of details about what they're doing this Autumn, as well as looking back over their busy Summer. First up is their next concert, which is in London, at Eaton Square on Thursday 8th October. There is also news of their upcoming week of concerts in Ischia as part of the Kirker Holidays Ischia Music Festival, as well as their other Autumn concerts back in the UK.
The newsletter also includes a personal perspective from Hannah of their two major Summer projects: 'Heartfelt' and 'Beethoven in the dark', both of which attracted very favourable reviews (see below). It also includes a piece on what Cara has spent her Summer doing!
This and the previous newsletters can all be found on the 'Contact' page on the Sacconi's website
2 September 2015
This autumn, Cara will be performing in a mini tour, as part of the 'Concerts in the West' initiative, which aims to bring a broad spectrum of classical and baroque music to audiences in the West of England. She will be playing alongside other top-class musicians as part of Ensemble Perpetuo, an ensemble which comprises, along with Cara; James Turnbull (oboe), Fenella Humphreys (violin) and Andrew Berridge (viola, and Cara's brother!).
Full details of the overall tour can be found at the Concerts in the West website.
The dates and venues for the tour are as follows:
• Thursday 8th October at 7.30 pm at Exeter Phoenix
• Friday 9th October at 11:00 am at Bridport Arts Centre
• Friday 9th October 8:00 pm at Ilminster Arts Centre
• Saturday 10th October at 7:30 pm at The Hub, Lyme Regis
Do come along if you can, and welcome Cara back!
4 August 2015
The Sacconis have been on their travels again, performing in not one but two ground-breaking concerts as part of the ever-innovative Bristol Proms. First up was 'Beethoven in the dark', a performance of Beethoven's iconic Op. 131 quartet, played, entirely from memory, in almost complete darkness. This was a profound and deeply moving piece, with the near-darkness of the theatre allowing a closer connection with Beethoven's world. Next came another outing for the Quartet's 'Heartfelt', where robotic hearts provide the audience with another intimate connection with the quartet and Beethoven's music, and which has proved to be justifiably popular at both Spitalfields and Lichfield Festivals.
Both performances have attracted considerable attention in the press, with a 4-star review in the Independent describing 'Heartfelt' as "a powerful way to experience the visceral physicality of Beethoven’s profound thanksgiving". The performance was also picked up by the BBC 'Points West' programme, who filmed a short piece of the quartet in rehearsal. Elsewhere, they featured in Bristol247's preview of the Bristol Proms, as well as picking up excellent reviews for 'Beethoven in the dark', which was variously described as "breathtakingly good and deserving of the prolonged applause" (guide2bristol) and "the performance acquired an ethereal dimension, taking us by free association into Beethoven’s black world of deafness. These were transcendent moments" (slippeddisc).