Penarth's Chamber Music Festival Returns to the Pier Pavillion

  Posted: 25.06.19 at 18:19 by The Editor

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Penarth Chamber Music festival starts this Thursday. Join the organisers and musicians for this eclectic four day programme of classical music.

12 events, with a variety of instrumentalists, span over the duration of the chamber festival.

Nub News spoke to the founders Alice Neary and David Adams about what the festival encompasses.

1) What inspired you to start the festival?

We have been attending chamber music festivals around the world in beautiful settings for our whole careers.

When we moved here we immediately thought Penarth Pier would be an ideal for a festival of its own and when it was renovated we were lucky enough to try out the acoustic before it was even finished.

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It is such a unique building in such a wonderful location we thought it would be the perfect place for the intimacy of chamber music combined with the magic of the natural world, with the sea literally on the doorstep. 

2) Why Penarth?

We’ve lived here for 10 years and as musicians you spend quite a lot of time on the road. To able to perform concerts in our home town is a real luxury and an opportunity we couldn’t resist. 

3) What is the thinking behind this year programme? 

The programmes are always put together with lots of aspects in mind. We like to bring some works which may not be so familiar whilst hopefully breathing new life into the classics.


We don’t have an overarching theme for the whole festival but each programme has a thread running through it.

For instance, on Saturday night we have either Russian music or music with Russian influence, the Beethoven and Arensky actually share the same theme.

The Festival Finale on Sunday evening is made up of pieces which we really love and has more of a gala concert feel.

4) What would you say are the highlights of this years festival? 

Hopefully, there will be lots of highlights.

Our musician friends are all looking forward to the late night concert on Saturday which include Strauss Metamorphosen, possibly the connoisseurs concert.

And, of course, we always love working with our patron Rebecca Evans, her performances are sure to be thrilling. 

6) Do you get audiences attending from outside of Penarth? 

Yes we do, quite a few of our audience visit Penarth for the whole festival, staying in local hotels and enjoying the pleasures of Penarth.

7) What is the range in sizes of the groups performing?

Victoria Primary School Orchestra are performing in the family concert on Saturday morning. The largest group of adults is 7 musicians and the smallest is 1.

8) What are your personal musical backgrounds?

Alice’s father was organist and master of the choristers at Winchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and David’s father Principal Viola of the Halle Orchestra. We have both grown up passionate about Chamber music.

Now, David is the Leader of the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera and Alice is Principal Cello of BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Alice spent the previous 16 years as the cellist of the Gould Piano Trio with whom she recorded over 30 CD’s, performed regularly at the worlds prestigious venues and festivals and broadcast on Radio 3.

She has appeared with many of the UK symphony and chamber orchestras as a concerto soloist and also as guest principal cello. 

Since 2017, David has been the violinist for the London Bridge Trio. The trio’s first CD with David is released this weekend featuring the works of the Leipzig circle, Robert and Clara Schumann and Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn.

He has also appeared as guest leader of many of the UK’s symphony and chamber orchestras.

Both Alice and David teach at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

8) Which musicians do you most admire and why? 

There are many musicians’ we admire.

In particular, we have both been influenced by Sandor Vègh. Not only by his performances but he was also the founder of International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove which are very inspirational.

His dedication to finding the “truth” behind the music is second to none.


Click the red button below for more information about the festival, the programme and tickets.

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