2013 Festival Firsts with Roman River Music

Roman River Music’s 14th Festival ran from 21st September to 6th October 2013 along the Stour and Roman River valleys in coastal Essex.

Apart from appearances by well-know musicians Mark Padmore, Anthony Marwood, Britten Sinfonia and many others at the stunning Stoke by Nayland Church, we presented several Festival Firsts for 2013.

Mercury Prize nominee and jazz talent Gwilym Simcock (pictured above) plaed the first acoustic performance since the second world war in Colchester’s Liquid nightclub, housed in an original 1904 horseshoe theatre with both balconies and many original architectural details still intact.

Our first recital to sell out was on board the 1950s Hythe Lightship at the quayside docks; a debut from the 18-year-old Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas playing solo sonatas by Britten, Ligeti and Kodaly. “She has a big, warm sound and virtuosity to make your hair stand on end” said Artistic Director Orlando Jopling. A second performance is being organised to cope with the demand.

Stunning Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova performed alongside Thomas Gould at the Minories art gallery in Colchester, three concerts given by Thomas Gould, “one of the most unusual and talented young musicians on the UK scene” said Festival Director Zélie Jopling. Gould is also featured in late-night Shostakovich quartets with a free shot of vodka in the candlelit St Martin’s Church in the historic Dutch Quarter of Colchester, and a solo recital ‘from Bach to Charlie Parker’.

We presented the first violin and piano recital to be held in the auditorium at firstsite gallery, specially designed for live music by architect and keen pianist Rafael Vinoly. This was be given by our musician-in-residence Tamsin Waley-Cohen, described by The Times as “a violinist who held us rapt in daring and undaunted performances and by The Guardian as “a performer of fearless intensity”.

Essex born Benjamin Grosvenor played a solo recital in the perfect intimate acoustic of Fordham Church in the idyllic Colne Valley, where comfortable seats have replaced pews and the church is heated and renovated.

Gwyneth Herbert, “A singer songwriter who continues to redefine and defy expectations, with one foot in the jazz world and one somewhere in the future”, performed at the stunning riverside setting of Le Talbooth, one of the most wonderful resturants in East Anglia.

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