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.


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.