Penarth Chamber Music Festival 2021

Penarth, Cardiff, online
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The 2021 Penarth Chamber Music Festival returns to Penarth Pier Pavilion for the first live classical music festival in Wales following the restrictions of the COVID pandemic. The concerts and events will be live streamed and in person from Penarth Pier Pavilion (June 24, 25 and 27) and live streamed from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (June 26). It will be wonderful to share these concerts with our audience in person, for the first time in more than a year and equally wonderful to reach our wider audience through our live streams.

The festival is really the jewel in Penarth’s crown, in its 8th year it has gone from strength to strength. After the dramatic switch to online events last year, the festival continued presenting concerts through the second lockdown, inspiring and captivating audience and musicians alike. Financial support from the Wales Cultural Recovery Fund, Darkley Trust, PRS Foundation, Cavatina Trust, festival donors and friends enabled it to flourish even through these demanding times.

There is a thrilling programme of works culminating with Beethoven String Quartet in A minor Op.132, one of the most profound and moving pieces of chamber music with the extraordinary slow movement which describes coming from the dark to the light in the most vivid way. Subtitled "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart" ("Holy song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian mode"), it was written after Beethoven had recovered from a bout of severe illness which he believed was going to prove fatal - it seems particularly appropriate in the present time. James Lea will discuss this amazing work in our “Discovering Music” session and it will be heard alongside Mendelssohn’s Quartet in A minor Op.13, a work directly influenced by the Beethoven.

For an evening of music you won’t find anywhere else join us for Saturday night’s programme at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Schumann’s Andante and Variations is a rarely heard masterpiece for 2 pianos, 2 cellos and horn, the wonderful Brahms Clarinet Trio needs no introduction, but the Korngold Piano quintet is a magnificent work which may be less familiar. The late night concert includes the virtuoso tour de force Catch by Thomas Ades, Stravinsky’s Elegy for solo viola and the groundbreaking and moving Ligeti Horn Trio.

We will present our first festival commission, a five movement work for violin and cello by Robert Fokkens. This will be an especially exciting moment for us and we are very proud to be able to leave the legacy of this new piece to future generations. We are very grateful to PRS Foundation for their support in this venture.

Lenny Sayers will be leading our Family Concert. Preceded by a creative workshop on zoom, this concert will showcase the children’s compositions and include the festival musicians playing extracts from the festival programme. The Relaxed Concert will provide an opportunity for those with special needs and their carers to hear live music, something we’ve all been missing. We all also once again present a Young Musicians’ Showcase, giving a platform to our local talented young musicians.

We have an outstanding line up of musicians joining us this year, Elena Urioste, Tom Poster, Scott Dickinson, Ben Goldscheider and Kate Gould are all visiting, with Lesley Hatfield, Robin Green, Robert Plane, and David Stark our local stars! We are looking forward to making music together in the festival’s adopted home, Penarth Pier Pavilion, a unique, dramatic and intimate venue set against the ever changing background of the Bristol Channel.

Do join us either online or in person, all the information is at

The live streams will be on Penarth Chamber Music Festival YouTube Channel

Tickets available from

Supported by PRS Foundation, Welsh Cultural Recovery Fund, Darkley Trust, Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

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