Press release provided by Hastings International Piano Festival

The Hastings International Piano Festival will run from 26th February – 8th March 2020 at White Rock Theatre and St Mary in the Castle.

Full Line-Up

Week One: White Rock Theatre

Wednesday 26th February 2020 – An Evening with Guy Chambers.
Thursday 27th February 2020 – Reuben James and Band plus Glastonbury Emerging Artist Marie White Support.
Friday 28th February 2020 – Rufus Wainwright and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Saturday 29th February 2020 – BBC Young Musician of The Year Martin James Bartlett and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Classical Gala Concert).
Sunday 1st March – Patricia Hodge and Alex Jennings Actors with Lucy Parham. 

Week Two: St Mary in the Castle Arts Centre

Wednesday 4th March 2020 – Mark Kermode, Dodge Brothers and Silent Movie Band and Film.
Thursday 5th March 2020 – Claire Martin Jazz with Liane Carroll, Alex Garnett and The Swedish Trio.
Friday 6th March 2020 – An Evening with Oscar winning film composer and songwriter Rachel Portman.
Saturday 7th March 2020 – The Puppini Sisters with The Pasadena Roof Orchestra.

Full programme

The Inaugural Hastings International Piano Festival will host an exciting array of music concerts, featuring some of the most celebrated artists including headliner Rufus Wainwright, one of the world’s most revered singer-songwriters, composers and performers of his generation. Rufus will be joined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday 28th February at The White Rock Theatre on Hastings’ iconic sea front, for a spectacular evening of songs from his eclectic discography.

Rufus Wainwright, photo by Tony Hauser

The festival opens on Wednesday 26th February with a concert by one of the UK’s most successful songwriters of all time – Guy Chambers, whose 50 year career has seen Guy write and produce for some of the world’s most popular artists including Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Mark Ronson and Rufus Wainwright to name but a few. Performing songs at the piano including tracks taken from his new album Go Gently Into the Light.

The festival continues on Thursday 27th February with Reuben James, one of the UK’s most exciting young singer-songwriters and performers best known for his on-going collaborations with Sam Smith. Reuben co-wrote the title track from Sam Smith’s most recent album The Thrill Of It All, as well as the song Him. The festival is delighted that he is bringing his 10 piece band, which explores the boundaries between jazz and pop. Opening for Reuben will be Hastings’ very own Marie White, who recently won the prestigious Glastonbury Emerging Artist Award and has just returned from supporting Keane on their UK tour.

The festival welcomes Claire Martin OBE, the Queen of British Jazz, on Thursday 5th March at St Mary in The Castle with a stellar line-up of Claire’s music friends, including some of the jazz world’s great artists including Liane Carroll, Alex Garnett and The Swedish Trio.

Oscar-winning composer and songwriter Rachel Portman OBE will perform and be interviewed about her extensive career during this unique production on Friday 6th March at St Mary in the Castle, specially created for Hastings International Piano Festival. Rachel has written over 100 scores for television and film and is the first woman to win an Academy Award for film music (for the score in Emma) and she went on to be nominated twice more for Cider House Rules and Chocolat, which also earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Rachel’s performance will include special collaborations with local pianists giving them a rare opportunity to perform with a globally renowned artist.

Hastings International Piano Festival Classical Gala Concert with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra takes place at The White Rock Theatre on Saturday 29th March with a spectacular programme of piano concertos performed by an array of artists including the illustrious pianist and BBC Young Musician of The Year Martin James Bartlett. Martin will be joined by the winner of the 2019 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition Fumiya Koido and Prizewinner Sylvia Jiang.

Two of our most respected British actors Patricia Hodge and Alex Jennings join pianist Lucy Parham on Sunday 1st March at The White Rock Theatre for Nocturne: The Romantic Life of Frédéric Chopin – an evening of words and music scripted and adapted from letters and diaries chronicling the romantic life of one of the greatest and most popular composers for solo piano.

Silent Movie Night Beggars of Life with live accompaniment from The Dodge Brothers featuring Mark Kermode and Neil Brand takes place at St Mary in the Castle on Wednesday 4th March. Revered Film critic Kermode joins his band mates and acclaimed pianist Brand for this film extravaganza.

Closing the 2020 festival The Puppini Sisters, the Queens of Close Harmony Swing and The Pasadena Roof Orchestra take to the stage at St Mary In The Castle on Saturday 7th March. Delighting the festival audience with their trailblazing re-workings of pop and classical songs, the performance will have the audience dancing in the aisles.

Managing Director & Curator of The Hastings Piano Festival – Ian Roberts says “We are delighted that so many world-renowned artists are coming to Hastings to perform, some of whom have never visited our creative town. We are happy that we will attract new and bigger audiences from around the UK and Europe who are keen to support the great music educational opportunities that this festival will provide for young people, and we are committed to providing at least 10% of our festival tickets for free to young people”.

Tickets for both The White Rock Theatre and St Mary in The Castle go on sale today (Wednesday 20th November) and are available from The White Rock Theatre Box office or visit 





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