Camarilla Wind Ensemble at the Festival of Chichester

Camarilla Wind Ensemble
Camarilla Wind Ensemble

A new venture sees the popular Chichester Chamber Concerts make their Festival of Chichester debut with a family concert in the Assembly Room, North Street on Saturday, June 30 at 3pm.

Promising music and fun for children aged five to 11, it will feature the Camarilla Wind Ensemble – a chance to meet the musicians and their instruments: flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon and horn.

The programme will feature lots of lovely music familiar and not so familiar, including pieces from Bizet’s Carmen and a dash of Bernstein.

To mark the Bernstein centenary and the Bernstein in Chichester Festival, the afternoon will include songs from West Side Story and music from the Bernstein’s Candide Overture.

Chichester Chamber Concerts chairman Anna Hill said: “It will be our debut at the festival, and we are delighted to be part of the festival. We were always wanting to do something to introduce children to music, but the reason we have not done a concert in the festival before was that really our season is autumn, winter and spring. My experience is that it is really hard to sell a one-off concert outside our season. People buy their season tickets and they see the whole thing as a package. But we wanted to do something.”

And Anna is delighted with the performers they have got.

“We approached a number of schools to see if they would like to have a concert where we could organise funding and organise the concert, but schools seem to be so busy with their regular lessons and activities and exams that they just didn’t seem to have time to do something extra like that. But we have a good relationship with the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust which is funded to introduce children to classical music in a way that they would find suitable for them. They have these young ensembles who deliver concerts to schools and play concerts. The trust will help fund it, which was an attraction to us, and their young ensembles are all very good.

“But we chose this one because they are five wind players. The alternatives were either a string quartet or a piano trio, but I felt that the good thing about a wind quartet would be that all the instruments are different. Each player introduces their instrument and talks about it, and I thought it would be more fun with five different instruments.

“We are selling family tickets, and we have decided to sit the children on the floor at the front so that they get a good view and can get up on their feet and do things as it progresses. The adults can sit on the chairs behind. It will be quite informal.

“The pieces will all be quite short and before each piece one of the performers will talk about it and encourage the children to do something, either get up and clap or conduct them. They will explain to the children that there is a beat ‘and that if they get quicker, we will have to follow you!’ It is great fun. It is an entirely different atmosphere.”

The quintet features flute – Julian Sperry; oboe – Rachel Harwood-White; clarinet – Nicholas Ellis; horn – Katie Pryce; and bassoon – Louise Watson.

The ensemble has firmly established itself on the UK music scene since its formation in 2001.

After being awarded a Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellowship for two years at the Royal Academy of Music, Camarilla has gone on to make many festival appearances, including the Edinburgh Festival, Bryn Terfel’s Faenol Festival in Wales and Musique Cordiales in Seillans, France. In 2009, the ensemble won first prize in the Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Competition and has since performed in many of the UK’s leading concert venues.

Tickets £10 family: two adults, two children; adults £5; students £2; children (five to 18) £2.

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