Midsummer Music

Midsummer Music is an annual chamber music festival that takes place over three days in June. It was founded in 2009 by Paul Lewis and his wife, Bjørg Lewis. Their wish was to start a festival near to where they have lived for many years. They wanted to create an event that would be a significant addition to the local music-making scene, but also through the international calibre of its artists, attract a national and international audience.

As Artistic Directors, Paul and Bjørg have always had a very clear vision for the structure of the festival. No ‘star’ recitals, no theming, no different prices for some artists rather than others. Rather, equality in approach and musicians with whom they are proud to share the stage: a team of artists, a collegial atmosphere and a bringing together of great talent.

The variety in programming is hugely attractive, and comes from the heart. The composers and works chosen are those that resonate most with them.

The church in which they stage the festival is small. In this tiny chapel in a sleepy village in the Chilterns, the audience brush shoulders with some of the most significant figures in music today. Everyone packs into this intimate space and hears at the closest quarters music-making that has beauty and power and that would grace any world stage.

“While the festival has always aimed for the highest musical standards, Midsummer Music remains, as it started, very much a ‘home-made’ event. The festival has no ambition to be the biggest in the country - we all feel strongly that to keep the scale manageable and the quality high is our top priority. Looking to the future, our idea is to keep the festival small and personal in scale, but wide-ranging and long lasting in the impact it has on those it reaches. We hope that this personal quality is something that characterises our festival in a special way, and leaves our audience with a sense of having experienced something memorable and meaningful.”

Paul and Bjørg Lewis - Artistic Directors

PIANO

  • Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
  • Alasdair Beatson
  • Imogen Cooper
  • Tim Horton
  • Paul Lewis
  • Michail Lifits
  • Aleksandar Madzar
  • Alexander Melnikov
  • Steven Osborne
  • Charles Owen
  • Martin Roscoe
  • Kathryn Stott
  • Simon Trpceski
  • Denes Varjon

VIOLIN

  • Thoms Aldren
  • Lisa Batiashvili
  • Andrej Bielow
  • Berit Cardas
  • Veronika Eberle
  • Ilya Gringolts
  • Alexander Janiczek
  • Henning Kraggerud
  • Annabelle Meare
  • Priya Mitchell
  • Erik Schumann
  • Alexander Sitkovetsky
  • Valeriy Sokolov
  • Øyvor Volle
  • Tamsin Waley-Cohen
  • Antje Weithaas

VIOLA

  • David Adams
  • James Boyd
  • Berit Cardas
  • Henninge Laandaas
  • Razvan Popovici
  • Lawrence Power
  • Jennifer Stumm
  • Amy Swain
  • Lars Anders Tomter

CELLO

  • Penny Bradshaw
  • Guy Johnston
  • Bjørg Lewis
  • Gemma Rosefield
  • Alasdair Tait

DOUBLE BASS

  • Leon Bosch
  • Ha-Young Jung
  • Christoph Wimmer

CLARINET

  • Chen Halevi
  • Richard Hosford

BASSOON

  • Amy Harman

FRENCH HORN

  • Nicolas Fleury

LUTE AND MANDOLIN

  • Alon Sariel

VOICE

  • Allan Clayton
  • Ruby Hughes
  • Mark Padmore
  • Ailish Tynan
  • Elizabeth Watts

GUEST SPEAKERS

  • Alfred Brendel
  • Richard Stokes

HONORARY PRESIDENT

  • Alfred Brendel

ARTISTIC DIRECTORS

  • Paul Lewis
  • Bjørg Lewis

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR

  • Madeleine Mattar

TRUSTEES

  • Sir Jeremy Dixon (Chairman)
  • Mr Christopher Aldren
  • Mrs Bjørg Lewis
  • Dr Margie Tolstoy

 

Outreach Programme

An important part of Midsummer Music's output is a programme of outreach work with the local primary school. The culmination of this is a children's concert in St Mary Magdalene in Latimer given by the festival musicians the day before the festival starts.

The goal of the concert is to present the children with works or movements of works from the festival itself. In preparation, Bjørg Lewis spends time in the run-up to the concert presenting workshops in the classroom She helps to familiarise the children with the pieces they will hear at the concert, their composers and the range of instruments used. They are also encouraged to paint to recordings of the specific works and connect to the expressive qualities that way.

The experience of hearing fantastic musicians playing works from the core chamber repertoire in a concert venue is not normally within the reach of many children. What is clearly apparent is how riveting they find it. How the concentration and energy of the musicians is so compelling. And just how exciting it all sounds when so very close-up.

Midsummer Music hopes that over the years, the children from the school will develop a special relationship with this outstanding musical event in their community.

Midsummer Music Outreach and Education
Steven Osborne
Steven Osborne