This Season’s Programme

Welcome to the 51st season of the Abbotsholme Arts Society (Patron: Steven Isserlis C.B.E.). Since its foundation by Gordon Clark, Abbotsholme Arts Society has regularly engaged some of the finest artists on the international musical scene and is today regarded as one of the foremost provincial music clubs in the country. Set in the beautiful rural setting of the Staffordshire countryside near the cathedral city of Lichfield, concerts mainly take place in the Abbotsholme School Chapel, where audiences enjoy hearing and seeing artists perform in a close and intimate atmosphere and enjoy the benefits of its superb Steinway concert grand.  Following the success of last season when Abbotsholme celebrated its 50th Anniversary an  impressive line-up of performers continues for the season 2018-19.

Ensembles include the long established Gould Piano Trio, who have been compared to the famous Beaux Arts Trio; the young and exciting Vision String Quartet from Berlin who play from memory, standing up and with infectious enthusiasm and energy; the all female guitar ensemble called Gitarrissima Quintet of Vienna who are dazzling audiences with their colourful programmes and arrangements. The return of Chetham’s School of Music promises to be another highlight as they will be bringing a rich variety of ensembles and solo items. This event is likely to provide much inspiration for any young person learning to play an instrument.

The centenary of Claude Debussy will be celebrated by the delightful combination of flute, viola and harp, collectively known as Trio Anima.

The distinguished and long established Russian pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja, who was mentored by Sviatoslav Richter, will give a recital of mainly works by Schubert whilst the recent prize-winner at the prestigious Dudley Piano Competition, Julian Trevelyan, will embrace a varied programme of major works by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Schumann and Shostakovich.

The Australian virtuoso Piers Lane will partner our own Tasmin Little in a welcome return to Abbotsholme. Their programme comprises masterpieces by Schubert and Brahms. Finally, we end the season with world famous baritone and radio personality Roderick Williams in song-cycles by Beethoven and Schubert.

Extra concerts are often added in the season as well as fund-raising events and there will be an afternoon of entertainment in the school theatre given by the Derby Dance Academy.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or you can join the society with a subscription that will provide a saving on all the concerts.

Further details including information about  subscriptions and ticket prices can be obtained from the secretary, Stuart Tetley, email:

Neil Millensted
Artistic Director.
Abbotsholme Arts Society.

  • The Gould Piano Trio

    September 26, 2018 7:30 pm
    • Benjamin Frith
    • Lucy Gould
    • Richard Lester
    • James Macmillan
      Piano Trio No. 2
    • Mendelssohn
      Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op. 49
    • Beethoven
      Piano Trio in B flat, Op. 97 'Archduke'

    The Gould Piano Trio, directly compared to the great Beaux Arts Trio for their “musical fire” and “dedication to the genre”, have remained at the forefront of the international chamber music scene for a quarter of a century. Launched by their first prize at the Melbourne Chamber Music Competition and subsequently selected as YCAT Artists, they made a highly successful debut at New York’s Weill Recital Hall, which was described by Strad Magazine as ”Pure Gould”.

    Their many appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall have included the complete piano trios of Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Schubert – plus in the 2017-18 season, a Beethoven cycle, to celebrate 25 years since their first appearance at this iconic venue. The Goulds have made extensive tours of N. America, the Far East, New Zealand and Sweden, with concerts throughout Europe. When not giving concerts, they find master-classes and coaching a revitalising part of their schedule, particularly as Artists in Residence at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where they each hold a Fellowship.

    “The only comparison that comes to mind is the old Beaux Arts Trio; the combination of jeweler-like precision and a musical fire that ignites from the first bar” The Washington Post

  • Elisabeth Leonskaja

    November 15, 2018 7:30 pm
    • Schubert
      Sonata in E major D.459
    • Schoenberg:
      6 pieces, Op 19
    • Schubert
      Fantasy in C major (Wanderer), D.760
    • Webern:
      Variations, Op 27
    • Schubert:
      Sonata in B flat major, D.960

    For decades now, Elisabeth Leonskaja has been among the most celebrated pianists of our time. In a world dominated by the media, Elisabeth Leonskaja has remained true to herself and to her music, and in doing so, is following in the footsteps of the great Russian musicians of the Soviet era, such as David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels, who never wavered in their focus on the quintessence of music despite working in a very difficult political environment.

    Her almost legendary modesty still makes her somewhat media-shy today. Yet as soon as she walks out on the stage, audiences can sense the force behind the fact that music is and always has been her life’s work. Her collaboration with Richter, who was her mentor, as a piano duo partnership was legendary and today her interpretations of Schubert in particular reflect in some measure his mesmerising sense of spacious concentration. We are delighted that Miss Leonskaja will be performing and thereby add to Abbotsholme’s fifty-year line-up of distinguished pianists.

    “… perfect weight and balance, miraculous rhythmic articulation, the right sense of space and freedom, and the ability to see where a line or a movement is going” The

  • Tasmin Little with Piers Lane

    November 27, 2018 7:30 pm and
    • Schubert
      Sonatina no. 2 in A minor D.385
    • Brahms
      Sonata no. 3 in D minor Op.108
    • Brahms
      Sonatensatz (from the F.A.E. Sonata)
    • Schubert
      Fantasy in C major D. 934

    We are delighted to welcome Tasmin Little back to Abbotsholme. This popular artist has firmly established herself as one of today’s leading international violinists. She has performed on every continent in some of the world’s most prestigious venues. Tasmin’s multi-award winning and varied career encompasses international concerto and recital performances, master classes, workshops and community outreach work. She plays a 1757 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin.

    London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane stands out as an engaging and highly versatile performer, at home equally in solo, chamber and concerto repertoire. His concerto repertoire alone exceeds ninety-five works and has led to engagements with many of the world’s great orchestras and conductors, including 5 performances at the BBC Proms.

    “….their long familiarity with both the music and each other pays dividends…….relishing in the generosity of Brahms’ full textures.” Gramophone

  • Gitarrissima Quintet of Vienna

    December 10, 2018 7:30 pm
    • Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Gershwin, Copland and others.
      ‘A Christmas Celebration’

    This unique ensemble of five young female guitarists from Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Japan and Austria has been enchanting a steadily growing international audience with sensitive musical interplay and virtuoso performances. In 2014 they won 3rd Prize and the special Audience Prize at the 3rd International Competition for Guitar Ensembles in Aschaffenburg, Germany, when they excited both the professional jury and the audience with their performances. They create a refreshingly original sound which gives a new dimension to popular classical works as well as less well known compositions. The Quintet is characterised by a wealth of musical colour and an orchestral density which is rarely heard. Their arrangements combine cleverly balanced voicings with an airy transparency and make ingenious use of the entire range of playing techniques including percussive effects. Their Christmas programme will include movements from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.

    “Another striking contrast came with Gitarrissima, an all female guitar quintet from Vienna, who played well-known and some lesser-known works arranged for guitar (including the intriguing baby “octave” guitar) with great brio, virtuosity and individuality”. The Cross-eyed Pianist

  • The Coull Quartet
    (replaces The Vision String Quartet, cancelled due to injury)

    February 25, 2019 7:30 pm
    • Roger Coull
    • Philip Gallaway
    • Jonathan Barritt
    • Nicholas Roberts
    • Mozart
      Quartet in F, K.590 (Prussian)
    • Kodaly
      Quartet No. 2 Op. 10
    • Beethoven
      Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2 (Razumovsky)

    “‘…the magnificent, seasoned ensemble of the Coull”. The Strad

    Formed in 1974 by students at the Royal Academy of Music under the guidance of renowned quartet leader, Sidney Griller, they rapidly achieved national recognition, and were appointed Quartet-in-Residence by the University of Warwick in 1977, a post which they still hold today. The Quartet, which includes two of its founder members, has performed and broadcast extensively throughout the UK, and has made tours of Western Europe, the Americas, Australia, China, India and the Far East.

    Since the mid-1980s the Coull Quartet has made over 30 recordings featuring a wide selection of the repertoire closest to their hearts, from the complete Mendelssohn and Schubert quartets to 20th century and contemporary British chamber music. Their CD of quartets by Maw and Britten on the Somm label has received universal acclaim; in addition to being featured in ‘Editor’s Choice’ in The Gramophone, it was also described as the ‘Benchmark Recording’ by BBC Music Magazine. Their recordings of music by Sibelius and Ian Venables have also received excellent reviews in the major musical publications.

    Their impressive and unusual list of commissions includes works by Sally Beamish, Edward Cowie, Joe Cutler, David Matthews, Nicholas Maw, Robert Simpson and Howard Skempton. These include string quartets, quintets with piano or wind player, works with solo voice or choir, and even a piece for quartet and table tennis players!

    The rare combination of maturity and freshness which characterises the Quartet’s performances is often singled out by reviewers:

    “Here the playing is so brimful with enthusiasm and commitment, and at the same time so infused with the accumulated wisdom of three decades, that the music simply reinvents itself as it should”. The Strad


  • Julian Trevelyan

    March 26, 2019 7:30 pm
    • Bach
      Prelude and Fugue in G sharp minor, BWV 887
    • Mozart
      Sonata in A minor, K.310
    • Chopin
      Etude in C major, Op. 10 no. 1
    • Liszt
      Transcendental Study no. 5 “Feux Follets”
    • Rachmaninov
      Etude-Tableau in E flat minor, Op. 33 no. 5
    • Schumann
      Humoreske, Op. 20
    • Shostakovich
      Sonata, Op. 12

    As part of its regular support towards emerging musical talent, Abbotsholme is delighted to welcome the young English pianist Julian Trevelyan. Last year, he was finalist and prizewinner, including the audience prize, in the prestigious Dudley International Piano Competition having, in 2015, secured the highest award in the Long-Thibaud-Crespin Grand Prix when still only sixteen years of age. In 2016, he was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician. Since then, Julian has performed in many European countries and with the St.Petersburg Symphony Orchestra for his debut in Russia. His repertoire is extensive, ranging from Bach to Boulez and his Abbotsholme programme is especially eclectic and one that will be much anticipated. Julian is currently pursuing a degree in music at Oxford.

    ” The quality and interpretation of the performance was what might be expected from a performer with far more maturity.“  The Herts Advertiser

  • Trio Anima
    * new date *

    April 3, 2019 7:30 pm
    • Matthew Featherstone
    • Rosalind Ventris
    • Anneke Hodnett
    • Debussy
      Sonata in G minor for flute, viola and harp (1916)
    • François Couperin
      La Superbe
    • Fauré
      Après un rêve - from Trois Mélodies,
      op. 7, no 1
    • Debussy
      En bateaux (from Petite Suite) (1888)
    • Ravel
      Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917)
    • Debussy
      Syrinx, for solo flute (1912)
    • Richard Rodney Bennett
      Sonata: After Syrinx (1982)
    • Debussy
      Children’s Corner (1908)

    “I do not know whether one ought to laugh or cry at it. Perhaps both”. These were the words of Claude Debussy, describing his ‘Sonate’, the most famous flute harp viola trio ever written. In 2018, Debussy’s centenary year, this programme of tribute explores the music of Debussy, his influences, and music inspired by the ‘Sonate’.

    Trio Anima was formed in 2006 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has been delighting audiences with its distinctive combination of flute, viola and harp. The trio won the Elias Fawcett Award for Outstanding Chamber Ensemble at the 2012 Royal Overseas League Competition and First Prize at the Camac Harps Chamber Ensemble Competition in 2007. The members have been Live Music Now Artists, and were awarded a Chamber Music Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011. Three outstanding musicians of their generation form this fine chamber ensemble and we look forward to a varied programme that, apart from Debussy, includes music by Couperin, Fauré and Ravel.

    ‘audacious and simply magnificent’ La Republique du Centre, France

  • Chetham’s School of Music

    April 24, 2019 7:30 pm

    Chetham’s is the largest specialist Music School in the UK, being a national and international resource for music education – welcoming teachers, professional players, composers and conductors, community groups, school children and other young musicians, both experienced and novices, to come together and make music. The network of partnerships with professional orchestras and organisations extends across the music industry, and alumni populate orchestras and ensembles around the world.

    Distinguished alumni have included the cellist Guy Johnstone and world famous pianists Peter Donohoe, Steven Hough and Paul Lewis. Abbotsholme is fortunate that Chethams forms part of this season and we look forward to a wide variety of musical genres and styles from its pupils.

  • Derby Academy of Classical Dance

    May 19, 2019 7:30 pm

    Present an evening of imaginatively conceived and expertly performed dance, choreographed by the Academy’s Director, Eve Leveaux with piano accompaniment arranged and performed by John Rooks.

    Tickets £10 Includes a cold buffet.

    Wine is available for purchase.

    This is a fundraising event and not part of the concert series

  • Roderick Williams and Susie Allan

    June 5, 2019 7:30 pm
    • Beethoven
      An die ferne Geliebte Op. 98
    • Schubert
      Schwanengesang D. 957

    Roderick Williams encompasses a wide repertoire, from baroque to contemporary music, in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital. He won the Singer of the Year Award in the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards and was awarded the OBE for services to music in June 2017. He enjoys relationships with all the major UK opera houses and is particularly associated with the baritone roles of Mozart. He has also sung world premieres of operas by, among others, David Sawer, Sally Beamish, Michael van der Aa and Robert Saxton.

    His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos. Roderick Williams is also a composer and has had works premiered at the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, the Purcell Room and live on national radio. He was Artistic Director of Leeds Lieder+ in April 2016. For his Abbotsholme recital he will sing Beethoven’s only songcycle and Schubert’s last. Susie Allan is best known for her work as a vocal accompanist and has partnered many established singers. I n Britain she has performed at most of the major recital venues and many festivals including the Three Choirs, Covent Garden, Harrogate, Spitalfields, Aldeburgh and Mananan. She appears regularly on BBC Radio Three, especially the Voices programme.

    “Mr. Williams proved a natural and expressive communicator, conveying the drama and anguish in the songs without ever resorting to excessive vocal or theatrical gestures.” The New York Times

    This concert is supported by the Patrons of Abbotsholme Arts Society