The theme of this year's Festival is 'landscapes', and our concerts and exhibitions will be a celebration of landscapes nearby and far away. I'm delighted to introduce some stupendously talented performers to Penkhull for this year's concert season. We begin on Thursday 15th September with a solo guitar recital by virtuoso guitarist Peter Black. Peter is a hugely gifted and versatile musician, and his programme is a whistle-stop tour of landscapes from around the world, featuring works by composers as diverse as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Leo Brouwer, Francisco Tarrega, and Harold Arlen, as well as some original compositions. This will be a really special opening to the Festival this year and is a concert not to be missed.
On Friday, pianist Jocelyn Freeman returns to Penkhull, this year with baritone Julien Van Mellaerts. Julien has won more prizes and competitions than can be mentioned here, and, as well as Jocelyn, he has performed with pianists such as James Baillieu and Simon Lepper. Jocelyn continues to keep a very busy concert diary, and her acclaimed series, SongEasel, established in 2018, continues to go gain in its reach and popularity. Jocelyn and Julien's programme, "Letters and Legends" will transport us to landscapes in England, Germany and France, including works by Brahms, Debussy and Ravel.
Our Saturday concert features the National Youth Chamber Choir. Not to be confused with the National Youth Choir, the NYCC features 24 young professional singers, who have trained in the ranks of the Youth Choir in previous years. Choral conductor Greg Hallam returns to Penkhull to conduct this outstanding vocal ensemble in an a capella programme entitled "Sun, Sea, Sky, Stars".
As ever, our Festival Exhibition will be expertly curated by Trent Art, and works will be available to purchase, including through the Own Art scheme.Our Artistic Festival Finale will be hosted at the gallery in Brunswick Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, on Sunday afternoon. Our education and outreach project work recommences this year, and we will welcome music students from Newcastle-under-Lyme school to perform a lunchtime concert on the Friday, which is free for invited local schools. I am please to announce that we are introducing a new event on Saturday: a Vocal Masterclass with Simon Berridge. Simon was, until recently, a member of world-renowned choral ensemble The Sixteen for many years. I am delighted to welcome him to Penkhull to give a masterclass in singing for groups and individuals.
I very much look forward to welcoming you to Penkhull Festival in September. In the meantime, please stay safe and well. If you would like to get in touch, please use the contact page of the website.