Welcome from the Music Director, Adrian Brendel

This season I have joined forces with Harrison Birtwistle to curate our most ambitious programme to date. An exceptional line up of musicians will visit Plush to perform a range of music, from the earliest polyphonic composers through classical masterpieces to modern jazz and a select group of contemporary works.

András Schiff returns this year for our annual piano recital, featuring a composer he has championed like no other. Bach is a central theme this year, and his enigmatic ‘Musical Offering’ will be performed by the Plush Ensemble, directed by Jonathan Cohen in September.

Mark Padmore and Andrew West take to the stage for late Schubert songs alongside a completed Birtwistle song cycle, while one of Harry’s particular wishes was also to include the motets of Machaut with Medieval Organum plainchant music. This can be heard in July with vocal ensemble Gothic Voices and our own arrangements for saxophone quartet and cello.

Look out for our new ‘Insights’ events offer a unique chance to discover how music is conceived, before hearing the piece performed. Harry will be in discussion with Michael Berkeley, a great composer in his own right. This unfolds on our Festival Day which features an open rehearsal, film screening, and three events full of new music and masterpieces.

Continuing our celebration of jazz pianists, Kit Downes joins Hayden Chisholm to lead a night in memory of late pianist John Taylor, while our Emerging Artist concert concludes the festival with two inspiring young string players at the forefront of the evening.

Harrison Birtwistle

“Choosing music is quite different from writing it. That might sound obvious, but as a composer you have relationships to other music from a very young age – and I’ve been doing this for more than 60 years. I found that Bach and pre-Bach medieval music was far more important to me than music of the 18th and 19th centuries. Then I jumped straight to the 20th century and Stravinsky.

The unique nature of Plush, the openness of the audience and of the musicians, means you can mix repertoire in a way you wouldn’t dare, or which wouldn’t work, in mainstream venues. So I like the fact that Bach’s Musical Offering is alongside a work of my own: ‘Orpheus Elegies’ for oboe and harp. ‘Songs from the Same Earth’ are next to Schubert. The Machaut mass has ‘tropes’ which I’ve reworked for saxophone. There’s a generosity of mood, a sense of family – listening or playing and helping put plans into action to create a wonderful festival.”