15.10.17

21 October: Telemann in Paris

Saturday 21 October, 7:30pm

The early music ensemble Follia mark the 250th anniversary of the death of Georg Philipp Telemenn, including a selection of his ground-breaking 'Paris Quartets', together with music by his French contemporaries.

William Summers (baroque flute/recorder)
Diane Moore (baroque violin)
Ibrahim Aziz (viloa da gamba)
Yeo Yat-Soon (harpsichord)

This is what we do best at Music at King Charles: baroque music in a baroque church, played on period instruments - the architecture and acoustics suit the music perfectly.

Tickets: £12.50 (£11 in advance from www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw)

Follia specialise in period music played in historic venues, so King Charles in a natural choice. They have recently been playing at Lauderdale House, the Handel House Museum, Garrick's Temple and Walpole's house at Strawberry Hill.  You can hear the group play some samples of this music at their website here.

Yeo Yat-Soon was born in London of Chinese parents. Between the ages of 5 and 18 he lived in Tunbridge Wells, where for many years his father owned the Hoover Chinese Restaurant in Calverley Road. He attended Claremont Primary School and then the Skinners’ School.

As a teenager he began harpsichord studies with the distinguished harpsichord maker Malcolm Rose who was then based in nearby Mayfield and was given significant encouragement in early music performance by Richard and Katrina Burnett at Finchcocks in Goudhurst... Read on...


3.10.17

October concerts

Saturday 7 October, 10:00-11:30  Piano masterclass, followed at 12:00 by a short, free recital with Michael McHale. All welcome to attend, no booking necessary, and please come and go as you please, as the church is open to the public. (Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival). Norman Lebrecht described a McHale performance as "scintillating... fascinating from start to stop." Read more about Michael here.

Friday 13 October, 7:30pm The Schubert Ensemble Hosted by the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, this is a chance to hear one of the very last performances by this world-famous piano quintet who are set to retire early in 2018 after a 34 year career. Programme: Suk Elegy, Schumann Piano Quartet, Dvorak Piano Quintet. The Sunday Times said of the Ensemble: "Seasoned eloquence, a unanimity of feeling born of deep communal consideration... they demand superlatives." Book tickets here.

Saturday 21 October, 7:30pm ‘Telemann in Paris’: chamber music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of Georg Philipp Telemann, including a selection of his ground-breaking 'Paris Quartets', together with music by his French contemporaries. This is the ideal music for the church, which has the perfect acoustics for this intricate, energetic chamber music. Performed by Follia, the Baroque ensemble directed by Yeo Yat Soon. Read more about Yat-Soon hereBook tickets

28.9.17

7 October, Michael McHale masterclass and recital

Saturday 7 October, Michael McHale

10:00-11:30 Piano masterclass
12:00-13:00 Recital.

Hosted by the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival. FREE OF CHARGE.

All welcome to attend, no booking necessary. And the church is open to the public so you may come and go as you please.


Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. 

He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the London Mozart Players, and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood Festival, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest.

2016/17 performances include concerto performances with the City of London Sinfonia and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida, and a début concert at the Tokyo Spring Festival. Future engagements include a début in the Dublin National Concert Hall's International Concert Series performing the Schumann Concerto with the City of London Sinfonia.

His critically acclaimed solo album, The Irish Piano, was released in 2012 by RTÉ lyric fm and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by the critic Norman Lebrecht. More recent solo releases include Schubert: Four Impromptus on Ergodos, Miniatures and Modulations on Grand Piano, and a first orchestral album, Irish Piano Concertos, featuring works by John Field and Philip Hammond with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Courtney Lewis, supported by a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

His discography also includes releases on Delos, Nimbus Alliance, Champs Hill, Lorelt, Louth CMS and seven duo recital albums on Chandos with clarinettist Michael Collins. Upcoming projects include a recording of Strauss’s ‘Burleske’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos, and a first album with the McGill/McHale Trio on the Cedille label, featuring world premiere recordings and special narrations by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali.

Winner of the Terence Judd / Hallé Award in 2009, Michael was also awarded the Brennan and Field Prizes at the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, the 2005 Camerata Ireland/Accenture Award, and in 2016 a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He studied at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, and his teachers and mentors include John O’Conor, Réamonn Keary, Christopher Elton, Ronan O’Hora and Barry Douglas.

Michael collaborates regularly with Sir James Galway, Michael Collins, Patricia Rozario, Dame Felicity Lott, the McGill/McHale Trio and Camerata Pacifica.  view his website for some video clips.

24.9.17

Yeo Yat-Soon

On 21 October we look forward to hearing Follia, the Baroque ensemble led by harpsichordist Yeo Yat-Soon.

Ticket information here.

Yeo Yat-Soon was born in London of Chinese parents. Between the ages of 5 and 18 he lived in Tunbridge Wells, where for many years his father owned the Hoover Chinese Restaurant in Calverley Road. He attended Claremont Primary School and then the Skinners’ School.

As a teenager he began harpsichord studies with the distinguished harpsichord maker Malcolm Rose who was then based in nearby Mayfield and was given significant encouragement in early music performance by Richard and Katrina Burnett at Finchcocks in Goudhurst.

Yat-Soon went on to study music and historical musicology at King’s College London. He continued with postgraduate studies in harpsichord and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music, during which time he won the prestigious Raymond Russell Prize for Harpsichord.

He performs widely as a soloist, specializing in concerts in historic buildings. Recent venues include Handel House Museum, Craxton Studios, the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court, Strawberry Hill House, Holywell Music Room in Oxford and the Kammersaal Friedenau and Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Berlin. Yat-Soon also specializes as a baroque opera conductor and has worked with London Baroque Opera, City of London Festival and Opéra de Baugé, for whom he conducted Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea in 2016. He plays with the ensembles Follia, The Stanesby Players and Camerata Berolinensis (Berlin), and has performed regularly at the South Bank and St John’s, Smith Square. He has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM radio, and BBC1, BBC 4 and Channel 4 television.

Yat-Soon has had a long association with education, and has been Director of Music at The Lady Eleanor Holles School and St Paul’s Girls’ School, where his predecessors included Gustav Holst and Herbert Howells. He currently teaches harpsichord and chamber music, and lectures on historical performance practice at the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research at the University of Birmingham.

Yat-Soon still very much regards Tunbridge Wells as a spiritual home-town. He first performed at King Charles the Martyr Church in 1988 and has returned on numerous occasions since. He is delighted to be coming again on 21 October with his group Follia with a programme commemorating the 250 th anniversary of the death of the German Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann, with works by Telemann and his French contemporaries.

Discounted tickets available here.



31.8.17

Venue information for concert goers

Click here for Autumn 2017 concert information.

The church of King Charles the Martyr is a grade 1 listed building in the centre of town. It offers a unique venue for concerts, particularly because of its excellent acoustics, perfectly suited for chamber music.

Audiences may sit in the body of the church or in balconies on either side. Seating is on pews; some members of the audience like to bring a cushion!

Location
See the map on the church's website. Postcode TN1 1YX.
The church is a short walk from the town's railway station.

Parking
Street parking nearby is usually possible. However, the town council may be imposing residents-only restrictions in the coming months so visitors should always check parking notices.
Nearby car parks include:
Torrington car park TN1 1DJ
Linden Park TN2 5QL

Facilities
The only WC is situated through the vestry, which is generally used as a green room for performers, and so is not easily accessible. Whenever possible, (depending on other events taking place) the WCs are made available in the nearby Church Hall during the interval.

See also:
Visit Tunbridge Wells


27.7.17

What's on this Autumn?

Saturday 23 September, 7:00pm
Verdi’s Requiem: a staged performance by Merry Opera. Verdi composed his Latin Requiem Mass as a gripping drama that has enthralled audiences ever since its premiere in 1874. This staged version by the Merry Opera Company brings the audience deep into the music: twelve powerful classical voices whispering prayers for salvation and triumphantly praising God. Book tickets

Saturday 7 October, 10:00-11:30  Piano masterclass, followed at 12:00 by a free recital with Michael McHale. All welcome to attend, no booking necessary. (Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival). To apply to take part, phone 01892 547835.

Friday 13 October, 7:30pm The Schubert Ensemble Hosted by the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, this is a chance to hear one of the very last performances by this world-famous piano quintet who are set to retire early in 2018 after a 34 year career. Book tickets.

Saturday 21 October, 7:30pm ‘Telemann in Paris’: chamber music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of Georg Philipp Telemann, including a selection of his ground-breaking 'Paris Quartets', together with music by his French contemporaries. Performed by Follia, the Baroque ensemble directed by Yeo Yat Soon. Book tickets

Saturday 11 November, 7:30pm ‘Elegies and Thanksgivings’: an imaginative programme of piano trios for Remembrance Day, including music by Schubert, Glazunov, Dvorak and others. With Robert Gibbs (violin), Adrian Bradbury (cello) and Oliver Davies (piano). Book tickets

5.6.17

The notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach

Saturday 17 June, 7:30pm
Click here for tickets: £11 in advance (£12.50 on the door)

In 1725 Johann Sebastian Bach was two years into his post as kappelmeister in Leipzig and had been married to his second wife, Anna Magdalena, for four years.  Anna Magdalena was the daughter of J C Wilcke, court and field trumpeter at Weissenfels, and a fine singer in her own right.  She was of huge assistance to her husband, looking after his children (four had survived from his first marriage) and helping him copy out parts for performances.

Two collections of music survive in her hand designed for her private music-making. Much of the music is charming verse songs written by others and presumably used by Anna Magdalena for teaching and her own entertainment, but the notebooks also contain early workings of pieces by Johann Sebastien, later to be taken and created into great works in their own right.  

This programme, based around the 1725 notebook of Anna Magdalena offers a charming view to the more domestic side of the Bach household. Kate and Steven will perform sequences of short songs and preludes interspersed with longer pieces including ‘Ich habe genug’ and ‘Schlummert Ein’ as well as solo harpsichord music from the French Suites. 

Kate Semmens is a soloist with many leading groups and opera companies, and has sung with some of the UK's finest choirs with conductors including Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh, John Butt and Eric Whitacre.  Her opera performances have included Cupid (Venus and Adonis), Mycene (Isis), Suzanna (Le Nozze de Cherubino), and Mrs P (The Man who mistook his wife for a hat). Kate is a regular performer for New Chamber Opera, with whom performances include Galatea (Acis and Galatea), Second Woman (Dido and Aeneas), Orgando (Amadigi), Atalanta (Xerxes), Semira (Artaxerxes). She was the title role in Mozart's 'Il Re Pastore' and most recently played Asteria in Handel's 'Tamerlano'. She created the role of Euridice in Caldwells' The Story of Orpheus.  Of her Ciro, in their production of Stradella's Il Trespolo Tutore, Opera Magazine wrote "the clarity and charm of Kate Semmens' soprano was dissarming".

Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians. Since 2007 Steven has been the harpsichordist with London Baroque in addition to his position as Co-Principal keyboard player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is also the principal keyboard player for The Gonzaga Band, Apollo and Pan, The Classical Opera Company and performs regularly with many other groups around Europe.

He has recorded over thirty discs with other artists and ensembles and made six solo recordings. His recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations (Chandos Records) has been received critical acclaim - including Gramophone magazine describing it as "among the best".

Kate and Steven have been giving day workshops for Early Music Fora across the country based on Restoration Music in the church and on the stage 'The secrets of our hearts' and also based around the music created for the Pleasure Gardens of London.

Their recording of the Notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach is available from www.devinemusic.co.uk.

29.5.17

Anna Magdalena Bach

In 1725 Johann Sebastian Bach was two years into his post as kappelmeister in Leipzig and had been married to his second wife, Anna Magdalena, for four years.  Anna Magdalena was the daughter of J C Wilcke, court and field trumpeter at Weissenfels, and a fine singer in her own right.  She was of huge assistance to her husband, looking after his children (four had survived from his first marriage) and helping him copy out parts for performances.

Two collections of music survive in her hand designed for her private music-making. Much of the music is charming verse songs written by others and presumably used by Anna Magdalena for teaching and her own entertainment, but the notebooks also contain early workings of pieces by Johann Sebastien, later to be taken and created into great works in their own right.   This programme, based around the 1725 notebook of Anna Magdalena offers a charming view to the more domestic side of the Bach household. Kate and Steven will perform sequences of short songs and preludes interspersed with longer pieces including ‘Ich habe genug’ and ‘Schlummert Ein’ as well as solo harpsichord music from the French Suites. 

Find out more on 17 June! Kate Semmens (soprano) and Steven Devine (harpsichord) present a concert including music from the notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach.

1.5.17

Mediterraneo: the inland sea

Saturday 27 May, 7:30pm

This is a musical evening full of sunshine and salt water; the programme wanders through the varied cultures of the Mediterranean Sea, taking in mediaeval Spanish ballads, Greek songs of the Islands and Asia Minor, Italian lute songs and madrigals, instrumental music of the Renaissance, the Arab lands and the Ottoman Empire, romantic songs from the Bay of Naples and the music of the exiled Sephardi Jews.

Italian singer Alessandra Testai is accompanied by Robin Jeffrey on the lute and its eastern relatives, the Arabian oud and Greek laouto, on the Spanish and Baroque guitar, and hand percussion.

Click here for ticket information, available in advance at £11 (£12.50 on the door). No charge for under-18s.

Alessandra was born in the port city of Livorno, Tuscany. She began her singing studies at the age of 16 at Liceo Musicale Pietro Mascagni, subsequently attending the University of Pisa. She continued her singing studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alessandra has her musical roots in the varied traditions of Italian song – opera, classical recital repertoire and the popular songs of the street and countryside. She has sung as a soloist in opera and oratorio in several international festivals throughout Europe; roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Cortona, Italy), Eve and Gabriel in Haydn’s Creation (Cyprus) and various roles in Cavalieri’s Rappresentazione di Anima e di Corpo (La Chaise-Dieu, France, and Southwark Festival, London), Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, The Island Princess and Dido and Aeneas, Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Cimarosa’s  Amor Rende Sagace.

Robin Jeffrey studied at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. A versatile performer on instruments of the lute and guitar families, he has played and recorded with many of the well-known names in the early music field, including The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, the Purcell Quartet and Red Byrd.