Anyone for Music? Wimbledon Attracts a Different Kind of Star in November (RJ)

Preview of 2012 Wimbledon International Music Festival

You might be forgiven for supposing that outside the famous tennis tournament not much happens in Wimbledon for the rest of the year. But if you venture into the SW19 post code area between November 10th and 25th you’ll find the place buzzing with world-class musicians as Wimbledon’s fourth annual Music Festival roars into life. It offers an opportunity to hear great musicians in beautiful local venues, notably the Church of St John the Baptist on Spencer Hill, a popular venue with local musicmakers.

Two highlights of the 2012 Festival are Christine Brewer, who will perform Wagner’s Wesendonck lieder with pianist Roger Vignoles, and Mark Padmore will perform two great song cycles with pianist Simon Lepper: Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and Schubert’s Schwanengesang. There’s also a rare chance to hear violinist Alina Ibragimova perform music with her father, double bassist Rinat Ibragimov, and their special guests.

Russian pianist Mikhail Rudy will return to Wimbledon to perform the première of a production by the International Wimbledon Music Festival and the Little Angel Theatre of Stravinsky’s Petrushka, combining live projections and puppetry to create a truly interactive and immersive performance.

The Nash Ensemble will perform Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps, and on another evening audienceswill be able to learn about the conditions under which this work was composed in Jessica Duchen’s play, A Walk Through the End of Time, which focuses on two people whose lives have been deeply affected by the work. Afterwards cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who survived Auschwitz, will tell the extraordinary story of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz.

String quartets performing at this year’s Festival are the Kopelman Quartet performing works by Borodin, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, and the New Zealand String Quartet currently celebrating their 25th year. The oboe is featured prominently: woodwind soloists from the London Philharmonic will play Mozart’s Gran Partita for 13 winds, and Nicholas Daniel will join the Britten Oboe Quartet to perform works by Mozart, Britten, and Lutyens.

Two directors of other festivals with which Wimbledon has estabilished links will perform Brahms and Beethoven: cellist Zuill Baily (director of the Pro Musica Festival in El Paso Texas and Sitka Summer Music Festival in Alaska) and Piers Lane (Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.). Other notable visitors will be Cristina Ortiz playing a recital of Debussy and Villa-Lobos, Patricia Routledge and veteran music critic John Amis.

Spanish music is represented by guitarist Xuefei Yang performing works by Granados, Albeniz and Tarrega, as well as Chinese composers. In addition the award-winning Cardinall’s Musick will perform music by three of the best-known Spanish composers of the 16th Century. English music rightly has a place in the Festival which opens with a celebration of one of England’s most popular composers. A Purcell Pageant will include a performance of Dido and Aeneas by the Academy Choir and Baroque Orchestra with soloists Susan Bickley, Robin Blaze, Malin Christensson, and Njabolo Madlala.

For programme details see Booking opens on September 10th.


Roger Jones