The Lower Machen Festival takes audiences on an international journey this year with a theme featuring particular cities that have influenced composers. Now in its forty-ninth year, the Lower Machen Festival is a widely anticipated event in the musical calendar. Based in one of the smallest villages in South Wales, the Lower Machen Festival this year runs from Tuesday 21 June through to Sunday 26 June. The majority of the concerts take place in St Michaels and All Angels’, Lower Machen, a church dating back to the 12th century, but the festival continues to build on its relationship with The Riverfront, Newport bringing a family concert to The Riverfront.
A Festival Service will launch the week of concerts on Sunday 19 June at 11.15am at St Michaels and All Angels’, Lower Machen. The Festival concerts open on Tuesday 21 June at 7.30pm at St Michaels and All Angels’, Lower Machen in a concert which features the festival commission “Machen Forge” composed by Andrew Wilson Dickson and poet Dai George based on the industrial heritage of Machen. “Machen forge” has been written for pupils at Machen Primary School who will be performing alongside the Welsh Chamber Players and the Lower Machen Festival singers. The concert opens with Elgar’s rousing Introduction and Allegro for Strings and concludes with Faure’s requiem featuring baritone Jeremy Huw Williams.
On the eve of the referendum early music ensemble La Serenissima takes us on a journey around Europe in their performance entitled A European Union – Music for a mixed taste including music by Purcell, Vivaldi and Telemann at St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Lower Machen on Wednesday 22 June at 7.30pm. We welcome the renowned Vida Guitar Quartet to the festival on Thursday 23 June at 7.30pm in a varied programme featuring music by Vaughan Williams, Warlock, Gershwin, J.S. Bach, Nick Cartledge and Brahms. The Carducci quartet, formally resident artists at Cardiff University, performs on Friday 24th June at 7.30pm at St Michaels and All Angels’, Lower Machen with quartets by Mozart, Dvorak and Beethoven.
As part of our commitment to introducing high quality classical music to children we welcome Bach to Baby for their first concert in Wales at The Riverfront, Newport on Saturday 25th June at 11am. Bach to Baby is a critically acclaimed classical concert series for families which gives regular concerts to families in London and the surrounding area. The concert is called “The Bard in Brass” and celebrates Shakespeare’s 400th birthday featuring Andrew Kershaw who takes families on a journey to trace the music of Shakespeare’s era.
Pianist Leon McCawley returns to the festival on Saturday 25th June at 7.30pm at St Michaels and All Angels’, Lower Machen performing works by Haydn, Schubert, Hans Gal, Mendelssohn and Chopin.
We launch our first cream tea concert on Sunday 26th June at 3pm. The concert features the amazing talent of 9year old violinist Leia Zhu who at the age of 9 has already got an international performing profile having won 1st prize at the Nutcracker and International Rotary competitions and has performed for royalty. She is accompanied by pianist Louisa Lam and a cream tea follows the concert.
Pianist Lucy Parham and actor Henry Goodman bring the festival to a close for another composer portrait in their latest programme of words and music with Elegie – A Heart in Exile, which chronicles the life of composer and pianist Sergi Rachmaninoff on Sunday 26 June at 7.30pm.
Alison Esswood, Joint Artistic Director said “ We have something for everyone at this year’s festival with our Bach to Baby concert introducing our youngest concert goers to high quality classical music. Our festival commission “Machen Forge” by local composer Andrew Wilson Dickson and poet Dai George embodies the essence of the festival with Primary School children performing alongside professional musicians in a piece which reflects the industrial heritage of the area.”
Tickets start at just £1 (with early bird offers available until 7 June) and are available from the Ticketsource Box Office on 0844 8700 887 open Monday to Saturday (including credit card bookings). Tickets can be bought online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/machen. Festival events can also be viewed at the website at www.lowermachenfestival.co.uk