CHRIS CORMACK REPORTS: 

Hastings has a wealth of classical music talent, making 2018 a year splendidly rich in events that should enthuse us all.

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition (HIPCC) attracts the best young pianists from all over the world. In the early stages (from 22 February) audiences can enjoy world class performances for £4. It reaches its climax in the first weekend in March when the White Rock Theatre is guaranteed full for two evenings, so book early!

HIPCC spawns a yearlong series of high quality piano events, now to include the Oxford Lieder Festival (OLF) recitals at Fairlight Hall in mid-March. OLF Artistic Director and pianist, Sholto Kynoch, introduce exceptional
new young singers.

There are two notable recitals around Valentine’s Day from the Hastings Philharmonic stable; Marcio DaSilva and Sophie Pullen perform in a St Mary in the Castle (SMIC) fundraiser Valentine’s special following the jazz breakfast format. This format proved very successful at Kino-Teatr, St Leonards as Coffee Concerts on Sunday mornings and expect more to come including Jane Gordon of Hastings Early Music Festival fame.

Recitals by Anton Lyakhovsky, Oliver Poole and a high calibre surprise performer come up in mid-April in the hugely successful Phoenix Piano Series. The Phoenix piano at Opus Theatre has to be seen (and heard!) to be believed; it was designed by a local English retired aero-engineer and won a prestigious innovation first prize in Germany. The Opus Theatre is an exciting new development, a prime new venue facilitated by Polo Piatti, founder of The Hastings Sinfonia which offers several concerts each year including  ‘Great Film Music’ in mid-May.

Hastings Philharmonic also has some brilliant orchestral music coming up:  its Mozart/O’Meara concert in mid-March offers accessible newly-composed music inspired by the classic greats. In April, Richard Lester, praised locally for his Peasmarsh Festival in late June, plays Elgar’s beloved cello concerto with the Hastings Philharmonic. Another local orchestra, The Sussex Concert Orchestra, has its flagship concert in St Leonards in late March;
this concert is notable for its use of a talented young violinist, who came to light at the Hastings International Musical Festival (February/March).

Sussex Concert Orchestra under Kenneth Roberts is renowned for its support of Opera South East productions, who present Eugene Onegin in April at the White Rock. Hastings is awash with great opera with Jenny Miller of Barefoot Opera and Marcio DaSilva of Hastings Philharmonic. This February sees a new kid on the block, Pop-up Opera and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel at SMIC, with Chiara Vinci as Gretel.

Hastings Philharmonic Choir celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2018. Apart from two chamber choir concerts, Monteverdi in February and a selection of German composers in June, the main Choir’s pièce de résistance will be the Verdi Requiem concert in early May which it performs at the White Rock with the professional Kosovo Philharmonic Choir.

All in all, a comprehensive list of quality classical music events that Hastings could not have boasted of even five years ago.

For more detailed information on all of these, see Facebook 

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