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Monday, April 15, 2024

Chiltern Arts Launches Exciting 2024 Festival: Delving into ‘Human Stories’ via Music, Literature, and Cinematic Narratives, Plus a Novel Youth Engagement Programme

Chiltern Arts is ecstatic to present the ‘Human Stories’ theme for its eagerly awaited 2024 festival, happening from 10th to 17th May. The event will showcase a splendid mix of musical concerts, mesmerising poetry readings, and compelling literature discussions. Renowned musical talents like The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini, violinist Fenella Humphreys, and the Carducci String Quartet will perform alongside contemporary literary figures Roger McGough and James Runcie. This edition of the festival is particularly focused on capturing the imagination of young attendees, aged 9 to 14, through the groundbreaking ListenUp & ListenIn initiative, designed to foster the next wave of cultural enthusiasts.

ListenUp & ListenIn seamlessly integrates with the festival’s varied agenda, upholding the charity’s core principle of making music accessible by eliminating the barriers of concert etiquette and musical knowledge, thereby attracting a wide and inclusive audience. This effort is supported by the ‘Sponsoring a Seat‘ programme, which allows patrons to contribute to expanding the initiative’s reach to include more young participants.

Naomi Taylor, the visionary Founder and Creative Director, shared her excitement: “We’re so excited to be in the pilot phase of this project, taking steps to nurture a love of culture in young people that is so essential for a resilient cultural sector. I always try to plan thoughtful programmes with human experience at their heart — programmes that are designed to spark curiosity and inspire creativity. I hope that integrating literature into our events, and developing enjoyable and interesting online resources will offer new perspectives, both for our new young audiences, and our existing audiences.”

This year, Chiltern Arts adopts an innovative approach by dedicating two days each to the towns of Henley-on-Thames and Princes Risborough, along with their neighbouring villages, before concluding the festival in Hughenden and Marlow. This immersive strategy provides a novel festival experience, with ‘Festival Passes’ for these specific locations offering a 20% discount on ticket purchases for either the Henley or Risborough Passes.

The festivities commence in Henley on Friday, 10th May, with a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea on The New Orleans, Hobbs of Henley’s premier vessel, accompanied by Roger McGough’s poetic brilliance. The evening will see an energetic performance by a trio of chamber musicians, delivering a varied musical and poetic repertoire.

Saturday, 11th May promises an array of musical delights, starting with the Brompton Quartet’s renditions of Mozart and Haydn in the morning, followed by the Natrio Trumpet Trio’s performance in the afternoon, and culminating with The Gesualdo Six’s evening concert featuring French compositions and Fauré’s Requiem, in collaboration with the Chiltern Arts Festival Chorus, under Owain Park’s leadership. Applications for the Festival Chorus are open until March 31st: register today to be part of this fabulous event.

The festival then transitions to Princes Risborough on Sunday, 12th May, beginning with a performance of French Fables at Bledlow’s Holy Trinity Church, followed by a cinematic portrayal of Fanny Mendelssohn’s life, starring pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason. The day ends with an immersive exploration of Bach’s world through music and literature by violinist Fenella Humphreys and novelist James Runcie.

The following day, Monday, 13th May, offers a guided poetry walk amidst nature, an afternoon session on Dimitri Shostakovich by BBC’s Stephen Johnson, and an evening concert intertwining Shostakovich’s letters with his evocative string quartets, performed by the Carducci Quartet and featuring actor Anton Lesser.

The festival’s concluding days will feature poetry and spoken word in Hughenden on Thursday, 16th May, and a performance by the Alinde Wind Quintet, celebrating Czech music. The festival’s grand finale in Marlow on Friday, 17th May will be marked by a performance from I Fagiolini, showcasing Italian choral masterpieces from the 17th Century, including works by Monteverdi and Orazio Benevoli.

Don’t miss this cultural extravaganza at the Chiltern Arts Festival. For more information and to book tickets, please visit chilternarts.com.

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