In south-east London, an exciting and world-class music festival has found a natural home at St Peter and St Paul's Church, which can normally seat 400, but which for the chamber music series will welcome 120 ticket-holders, placed in household groups and apart.
Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor and friends are behind the heartening venture, a real breakthrough in live music-making. Many of the artists live locally, and they are putting back into their community not only the thrill of live music again, but also funding for the local hospice, which has lost revenue during the pandemic.
St Peter and St Paul's Church, Bromley, becomes an international chamber music venue in September
And the best news of all is that, unlike some live music events recently announced, tickets are still available.
The festival opens on Thurs 17 Sept, when the brilliant violinist Hyeyoon Park plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto in a special arrangement with string quartet, rather than full orchestra. The concert opens at 7:30PM with Rossini's String Sonata No1, which shows all the operatic colour that was to come from this great composer. For Rossini was just 12 when he wrote his six string sonatas in Ravenna....
And Gustav Mahler was only in his teens when he wrote his one-movement piano quartet, played on Fri 18 Sept by Benjamin Grosvenor, who opens at the concert at 7:30PM with two Liszt arrangements, of music by Schubert and Bellini. The main piece is the great Brahms Piano Quartet No 3. The other artists are Tomo Keller, Timothy Ridout and Bartholomew LaFollette.
Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performs at the new festival he has devised with fellow musicians. Photo: Patrick Allen
On Sat 19 Sept, Grosvenor and friends play an all-Schubert programme that concludes with the sparkling Trout Quintet.
The inaugural festival ends on Sun 20 Sept with the return of Hyeyoon Park, Benjamin Grosvenor and friends to play Dvorak's joyful Piano Quintet in A Major, No 2 in a concert starting at 6PM.
While full symphony concerts seem still a long way off, these jewel-like evenings promise all the virtuosity and colour of larger-scale instrumental music, in the heart of a community. Artists of this calibre are used to appearing in the most prestigious venues; anyone within easy reach will surely want to bag a seat now.
Bromley and Beckenham International Music Festival runs from 17-20 Sept. Click here for tickets
|What||Bromley & Beckenham International Music Festival|
|Where||St Peter and St Paul's Church, Bromley, Church Road, Bromley , BR2 0EG | MAP|
17 Sep 20 – 20 Sep 20, Four one-hour concerts, times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|