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On Wednesday 22nd July the Parish Choir of St Dunstan’s Church Mayfield will be singing Evensong at Chichester Cathedral.

The Mayfield Consort, a group of 14 singers directed by Andrew Benians, will be performing a concert in Malpas Parish Church near Chester. The evening of choral music and readings will celebrate themes of liberty, justice, peace and citizenship marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

The next Mayfield Festival will take place from Sunday 24th April to Sunday 8th May 2016

If you would like further details of any of these events please email jonnie@mayfieldfestival.co.uk

Mayfield Festival Choir Concert

To a packed church on Sunday 10th May, the Mayfield Festival Choir with the Primavera Orchestra performed two contrasting youthful Viennese masterpieces.  The first work was the rarely performed Stabat Mater by Schubert  and the second by Mozart was his Grand Mass in C Minor.

Jeremy Dale Roberts, former head of composition at the Royal College of Music commented:    “The Schubert kind of blew me away; I’ve never heard it before.  While the two fugal movements were maybe a wee bit stodgy – the music, not the performance! – the rest was astonishing, so fresh and adventurous in colour and harmony, going places only a young man would dare.  A revelation.  And the Mozart too – a stunning performance  with excellent young soloists who have a great future ahead of them. I know the work well, and I don’t think I have ever heard a more rapt performance of the Et Incarnatus.  AND the Qui Tollis, awesome; AND the opening Kyrie.  I think everyone was fired up:  Amazing evening!   The choir just improves with every concert I attend and great credit goes to their Director of Music, Jeremy Summerly, who has inspired the choir to perform difficult works with fine singing and with apparent great ease.”

The soloists were Eloise Irving and Abigail Broughton (sops) William Blake (tenor) and Tristan Hambleton (bass). The orchestra was lead by Paul Manley

Mayfield Festival Choir’s next performance will be on Sunday 22nd November at St Dunstan’s Church and will include Haydn’s Nelson Mass.

Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition at Mayfield Festival

The Internationally-renowned Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists’ Competition is to move to nearby Mayfield.

From 2016, the biennial competition will form part of the equally well known and prestigious Mayfield Festival of Music and the Arts.

It will be renamed “The Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition at Mayfield Festival”.

It will be centred at Mayfield School which stepped in to offer the competition a new home after Kent College, embury, indicated it would no longer be able to host the visiting musicians and the preliminary rounds of the competition.

It’s an exciting development for Mayfield Festival which has been held every other year in the village for almost 50 years and is recognised globally as one of the UK’s premier classical festivals.

It also helps to secure the future of the Tunbridge Wells competition which started in 1979 and has played an important role in the early careers of several internationally celebrated musicians. Past winners include piano virtuoso Paul Lewis, now the competition’s President; opera stars Anne Sofie von Otter and Patricia Rozario; great Spanish clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna; Russian pianist Yuri Didenko, and flautist Michael Cox, currently principal flute of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Mayfield Festival Director, Jeremy Summerly said: “We see this as a win-win for all concerned. Our festival has an established reputation for the quality of its programme, and being able to welcome some of the best young musical talent from around the world will only add to it.

“Both the festival and the competition have always been held every two years so they provide a perfect fit.”

Dr Christopher Storr, Chairman of the Competition said: “We are most grateful for the support we have received over the last 30 years from many different quarters, not least Kent College, but we are delighted that Mayfield School has offered us a home as part of the village’s long-established festival.

“The competition provides a unique platform for outstanding young musicians at a critical time in their development, whether completing their studies or taking early steps on a professional career, so it’s marvelous that this will continue.”

Antonia Beary, Headmistress of Mayfield School, commented: “It will be wonderful to be part of two such well-established and acclaimed musical events and we look forward to welcoming some of the top young international talent to our school.

“They will find we have some excellent facilities including our Chapel and Concert Hall which are superb venues. Our own music department is housed in a purpose-built Music School where 50% of our students receive instrumental or choral tuition from 20 peripatetic music teachers. It will be a marvelous experience for them to be able to see and hear so many talented young people from around the world performing here.”

The dates of the 2016 Mayfield Festival have been set for Sunday 24 April to Sunday 8 May with the international competition running from Thursday 28 April to Sunday 1 May

For further information contact Jonathan Jones, Chairman Mayfield Festival at jonnie@mayfieldfestival.co.uk.

Mayfield young singers secure places in Salisbury Cathedral’s Girls Choir

Octavia Dawson and Annenora Benians have attained a remarkable musical achievement by securing two out of only four highly sought after places in Salisbury Cathedral’s world famous Girls’ Choir.

Octavia Dawson attends Dallington Primary School and Annenora Benians attends Cross-in-Hand Primary School are both eight and  members of the Parish Church Choir at St Dunstan’s Mayfield, which has a long-established choral tradition.

They recently attended voice trials at the Cathedral during which they sang a piece of music to the Cathedral’s Precentor and Director of Music, undertook an instrumental audition and completed an academic assessment.

Andrew Benians, Director of Music at St Dunstan’s said:

“Both girls have worked extremely hard to get into Salisbury and are to be thoroughly applauded for their achievement.  They have been extremely loyal and committed members of the junior choir and though we will be sorry to see them move on from St Dunstan’s, an extraordinary musical journey awaits them at Salisbury and we are all delighted for them.

“Their departure is September will leave something of a gap and we would welcome interest from both boys and girls from the age of six who have a love of singing”.

Salisbury Cathedral made history in 1991 by becoming the first English Cathedral to form a separate and independent foundation for girl choristers and the few candidates who are successful in gaining a place in the Cathedral Choir can look forward to singing the daily choral services at the Cathedral together with other commitments such as concerts, BBC broadcasts, CD  recordings and overseas choir tours.