20 concerts in 16 venues

Liquid nightclub, The Colne Lightship, Dedham Assembly Rooms, St Martins’ Church in Colchester’s Dutch Quarter, le Talbooth restaurant, the Mercury Theatre, Colchester Baptist Church, the long gallery at Layer Marney Tower, the café at the Minories and Wivenhoe Church. The festival returned to Fordham, Stoke by Nayland, Fingringhoe and East Mersea churches.

This was our first experience of the Roman River Festival, and we were terrifically impressed with the quality of music we heard – you couldn’t hear better at the Wigmore Hall.

Mark Padmore and Tamsin Waley-Cohen

Festival musicians

Over 100 musicians performed at the festival, including festival débuts from Anthony Marwood, Benjamin Grosvenor, Tamsin Waley-Cohen & Mark Padmore (above), Gwilym Simcock (below), the Britten Sinfonia, Gwyneth Herbert and her band, Thomas Gould, Samuel Evans, Philip Higham, Ksenija Sidorova, Steven Devine, Rachel Beckett, the Colchester Chamber Choir, Katie Trethewey, Rachel Roberts, Nathaniel Boyd, Christopher Bucknall, Esther Brazil, Huw Watkins, Krysztof Chorzelski, Amanda Forbes, Margarita Balanas, and 2013 Kathleen Ferrier winner Gareth John.

Thank you for an absolutely terrific festival. Some stunning stuff was scheduled. the Venues, artists, programmes were all innovative and inspiring.

We welcomed back Richard Lester, Dominic Harlan (below), Philip Moore, Greg Tassell, Keri Fuge, Jennifer Morsches and Tom Poster.

Dominic Harlan leads a 2013 festival concert


Over 600 school pupils from 22 schools were actively involved in musical projects; composing, performing alongside professional musicians (our first side-by-side project), singing and being introduced to a huge variety of music by top animateurs James Redwood and Dominic Harlan. A full orchestra played a live performance of GCSE and A level set works to 150 students, narrated and introduced by Sandy Burnett.


The festival featured music by living composers John Barber, Arvo Pärt, Aziza Sadikova, Nico Muhly, Ewan Campbell, Huw Watkins, Gwilym Simcock, Gwyneth Herbert, Joseph Phibbs, Ronald Stevenson and John Woolrich, and by twentieth century greats Kodaly, Ligeti, Tippett, Charlie Parker, Stravinsky, Adams, Irving Berlin, Sibelius, Copland, Shostakovich, Bartók, Schnittke, Schönberg and Gershwin.

We celebrated the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth by performing all three solo Cello Suites played by 3 cellists, the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, excerpts from Les Illuminations, his arrangement of Purcell’s Chaconne, arias from Billy Budd and his 2nd String Quartet.

Gwilym Simcock

The 2013 festival featured the first concerto in Roman River Music’s history (Mozart’s Violin concerto no. 3 in G, played by Anthony Marwood and the Festival Orchestra), and our first evening of opera arias and duets, given by Mary-Jean O’Doherty, Gareth John and Caradog Williams.

2013 Festival supporters

Huge thanks to the following organisations and individuals whose support made the festival possible.

Arts Council England
YouGov plc
The Friends of Roman River Music
The Garrick Trust
The Azima Foundation
The RVW Trust
Mary Durlacher
Chewton Rose
The Community Initiatives Fund
Red Bird Publishing
Helan Wigan
Birkett Long
Martin and Ann Pearson

2013 Outreach Programme Supporters

Arts Council England (Lottery funding) via the Music Education Hub
Fowler Smith and Jones Charitable Trust
Essex Community Foundation
The Ernest Cook Trust
The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust

2013 Festival Partners

Mercury Theatre
Colchester Arts Centre
The Minories
Layer Marney Tower
The Pimlott Foundation

2013 Festival Artist

Many thanks to Glynn Thomas for generously allowing us to use his beautiful artworks in our 2013 publicity. Please see www.glynnthomas.com.


We are truly thankful to the amazing volunteers who gave their time to make the festival possible. Special thanks this year must go to Lindsay Wilson who organised the whole of the box office, new members of the volunteer team Brian and Wendy Bolton who did a magnificent job lighting the many venues and helping with venue management, Morlin Ellis who gave of her time unstintingly ferrying dozens of musicians around, orchestral manager Sarah Westley, and the trustees who all did far more than they are required to – Adrian Biggs, Hana Loftus, Harry Anderson and Julie Cuthbert.

List of concerts

Margarita Balanas, cello – Britten, Ligeti and Kodály 
Saturday 21st September 4pm, On board the Colne Lightship

Bach Masterpieces
Two of the great Bach Cantatas and one Brandenburg Concerto
Saturday 21st September 7pm, Colchester Baptist Church

Young Players & Singers – the side-by-side ensemble
Sunday 22 September 3pm, Mercury Theatre

Schools performance of Carnival of the Animals
Monday 23rd September 11am, Mercury Theatre Free to school parties

Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet
Tuesday 24th September 8pm, Wivenhoe Church

Gwilym Simcock piano
Wednesday 25th September 8pm, Liquid nightclub

Gwyneth Herbert
Thursday 26th September 7pm, Le Talbooth, Dedham

Benjamin Grosvenor plays Schubert, Schumann, Ravel & Liszt
Friday 27th September 8pm, Fordham Church

Fauré’s Requiem – a new chamber version
Saturday 28th September 8pm, Stoke by Nayland Church

Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht
Saturday 28th September 9.30pm, Stoke by Nayland Church

Philip Higham (cello) plays Bach & Britten
Sunday 29th September 12 midday, Dedham Assembly Rooms

Mark Padmore sings Purcell, Finzi, Britten & Arvo Pärt with the Britten Sinfonia
Sunday 29th September 3pm, Stoke by Nayland Church

Sandy Burnett’s Classical discovery – an introduction to classical music
Monday 30th September 6pm, The Minories

Great opera arias and duets
Tuesday 1st October, 7pm for 8pm, Layer Marney Tower

Beethoven Spring Sonata, Brahms & Gershwin
Tamsin Waley-Cohen & Huw Watkins
Wednesday 2nd October 8pm, firstsite

Richard Lester cello and Tom Poster piano Beethoven, Brahms & Britten 
Thursday 3rd October 8pm, Fingringhoe Church

Late night Shostakovitch quartets plus a shot of vodka
Thursday 3rd October 10pm, St Martin’s Church

Mozart, Fauré and Schumann Piano Quartets/Quintets
Friday 4th October 7pm, Fordham Church

Ksenija Sidorova accordion Thomas Gould violin
Friday 4th October 9.15pm, The Minories

Thomas Gould plays solo Bach – from Bach to Charlie Parker
Saturday 5th October 11am, Abberton Church

Anthony Marwood, Festival Choir & Orchestra / Orlando Jopling
Mozart Violin Conc & Beethoven Mass in C
Saturday 5th October 6pm, Stoke by Nayland

Handel & Purcell great hits with Katie Trethewey and Christopher Bucknall
Sunday 6th October 11.30am, East Mersea Church