This Season's Programme - September 2017 - May 2018

Introducing our 50th Concert Season

22nd September Steven Isserlis
10th October Alexander Gavrylyuk
3rd November The Wihan and Sacconi Quartets
29th November Nicholas Daniel with the Haffner Ensemble
14th February Florileglum
2nd March The Prodanova Trio
16th March Paul Lewis
20th April Sheku Kanneh-Mason with Isata Kanneh-Mason
26th April Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir
20th May Derby Academy of Classical Dance

Welcome to Abbotsholme Arts Society, which will be celebrating its 50th Season in 2017-2018. With its idyllic setting in the Staffordshire countryside, Abbotsholme has proved to be one of the most attractive provincial concert societies in the land. Since its foundation in 1967 by Gordon Clark, who was also Director of Music at Abbotsholme School, world renowned artists have been drawn by the intimate nature of the venue, its fine acoustic and outstanding concert pianos.

The line up of artists over the past 50 years has embraced a veritable galaxy of international classical musicians.. The Society has been honoured to have distinguished Patrons, including Lord Platt,Paul Tortelier and curremtly,Steven Isserlis. It is therefore appropriate that our current Patron will be starting the 50th season with a cello recital of works by Bach and  Kurtag. Following Gordon  Clark's early death, a Trust Fund  was set up  in his name to support the  training of talented young artists at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove where Steven Isserlis is Artistic Director.

In our 50th season we are delighted to be engaging young recipients of this annual scholarship in a chamber concert. Apart from the formidable line-up of other artists in this season's programme we are presenting a special concert in St.Oswald's Church, Ashbourne, given by composer and conductor Paul Spicer. He will conduct his own Birmingham Conservatoire Choir and will include a specially commissioned new work in celebration of our 50th Season. The names of all the artists who have performed at Abbotsholme have been expertly collated along with a history of the Society in a booklet which can be purchased at the Concerts. We look forward to you being part of our festive season.

Details of membership for the season and tickets for individual concert can be made by applying to the Society’s Secretary, Claire Tetley Tel: 01543 - 263304.

Neil Millensted
Artistic Director.
Abbotsholme Arts Society.


Friday, September 22nd 8.00pm


Steven Isserlis Cello

Bach   Suite 1 in G major BWV 1007
  In memoriam Ferenc Wilheim
Kurtag   Pilinszky János: Gérard de Nerval
Bach   Suite 5 in C minor BWV 1011
Kurtag   Az Hit
Bach   Suite 6 in D major BWV 1012

Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. His worldwide career embraces concertos with the world’s leading orchestras along with solo and chamber music. He also is a pioneer of contemporary works and active in educational projects. Abbotsholme is honoured to have Steven as its Patron and delighted that he will be opening our 50th season with a recital of works by Bach and the Hungarian composer György Kurtág. This recital will be followed by a drinks reception.

…...''.Isserlis is one of the top cellists in the world, up there in the stratosphere of solo excellence

….. his intensity, his technical mastery and the sensual relationship with his cello, are thrilling.''        
       The Telegraph



Tuesday October 10th 8.00pm


Alexander Gavrylyuk piano

Bach Busoni  
Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Haydn   Sonata in B minor No. 47 XVI:32
Chopin   Etudes Op. 10 No. 11, No. 9, No. 12, No. 10, No. 3 & No. 8
Scriabin   Sonata no. 5, Op.58
Rachmaninov   Preludes Nos.1, 5, 2 op.23
Rachmaninov   Sonata No. 2 (2nd edition)

Born in 1984, the Russian born Australian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk began his piano studies at the age of seven and gave his first concerto performance when he was nine years old.  He won First prize at the 1999 Horowitz International Piano Competition, and, in 2005, the Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition.

He is increasingly in demand for his noble and compelling interpretations, and has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. In 2009 he made an acclaimed recording of the complete Prokofiev Concerti with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Sydney Symphony which was recorded live at the Sydney Opera House.  His most recent recording, featuring Brahms & Liszt, has been widely praised.

...'' a  brilliant technician, who stuns with his agility across the keyboard; his ferocity generating irresistible deluges of sound, an underpinning urgency that can make his interpretations authoritative and novel.''The Sydney Morning Herald



Friday November 3rd at 8.00pm


The Wihan and Sacconi Quartets


String Quartet in G major, K.387
String Quartet in F major  Op.96 'American'

In 2015, the Wihan Quartet celebrated 30 years since its formation and over the years, has developed an outstanding reputation for interpretations that stand in the great Czech tradition of chamber groups.

The award-winning Sacconi Quartet is recognised for its unanimous and compelling ensemble, consistently communicating with a fresh and imaginative approach. Performing with style and commitment, the Quartet is known throughout the world for its creativity and integrity of interpretation.

This event affords the rare opportunity of being able to hear two of today's leading string quartets playing together in the wonderfully life-affirming string octet by Mendelssohn

' ...the Saconni's fine balance and near flawless ensemble in the Mozart provided the bedrock for a graceful yet rhythmically vital interpretation' The Guardian

'The Wihan are consummate instrumentalists in the great Czech tradition, as they show by their richly expressive account of the Dvorak.' The Sunday Times



Wednesday November 29th at 8.00pm


Nicholas Daniel oboe with the Haffner Ensemble


Beethoven/Rechtman   Quintet in E flat major, Op.4
Fazil Say   Wind Quintet
Mozart   Adagio and Allegro in F minor, K.594
Samuel Barber   Summer Music
Jean - Michel Damase   17 Variations

The Haffner Wind Ensemble is one of Britain’s leading chamber ensembles and one of the most established wind quintets in Britain. Each member of the ensemble is a chamber musician and a soloist as well as a principal of the Britten Sinfonia.

The breadth of their musical experience creates a secure and fluent ensemble, one which plays with freshness and vivacity and which excels not only in the classics of the wind repertoire but also in contemporary music. As a founder member, we are delighted that Nicholas Daniel, one of the UK's most distinguished soloists and an important ambassador for music will form part of the Haffner.

Their varied programme is likely to provide enchantment and excitement in equal measure

''Some of the best wind playing you will hear anywhere'' BBC Record Review

Preceded by the Society's AGM at 6.30pm



Wednesday February 14th at 8.00pm




'Merchants of Venice' – music by Corelli,Vivaldi, Handel, Scarlatti and Legrenzi.


Florilegium is an early music ensemble based in London. It was founded in 1991 by the harpsichordist Neal Peres Da Costa and the flautist Ashley Solomon who is now director of the group. It gave its first performance at the Blackheath Concert Halls and has since performed at the Wigmore Hall and in many countries worldwide, specializing in period performance of Baroque and early Romantic chamber music.

A recording of the cello sonatas of Antonio Vivaldi with Pieter Wispelwey as soloist won an award, as did a recording of the chamber music of Georg Philipp Telemann, whom they championed in concert tours during their 25th anniversary last year.

Florilegium wll be giving an afternoon workshop.

''Fine,incisive playing, honest and heartfelt.
Imaginative and individual.'' The Independent



Friday March 2nd at 8.00pm


The Prodanova Trio

Mihai Ritvolu piano
Samuel Staples violin
Yoanna Prodanova cello



We are delighted to welcome to Abbotsholme, three young artists who are on the brink of their international performing careers, two of whom, Yoanna Prodanova and Mihai Ritivoiu, being the latest recipients of the Gordon Clark Trust Fund.

They have won several competitions and already have extensive concert careers that embrace venues across Europe and the UK. They are currently students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and it is here that they met the exciting young violinist Samuel Staples with whom they have formed The Prodanova Trio. Their  programme, to be confirmed, will include works by Schumann and the wonderful Piano Trio in D minor by Gabriel Faure.



Friday March 16th at 8.00pm


Paul Lewis piano

Beethoven   Eleven Bagatelles op. 119
Haydn   Piano Sonata in E flat major Hob XVI/49
Haydn   Piano Sonata in B minor Hob XVI/32
Brahms   4 Klavierstücke op.119

Paul Lewis CBE is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. He has accumulated numerous awards including the Royal Philharmonic Society's instrumentalist of the year.

He performs regularly as soloist with the world's great orchestras and is a frequent guest at the most prestigious international festivals, including Lucerne, Mostly Mozart (New York), Tanglewood, Schubertiade, Salzburg, Edinburgh, and London’s BBC Proms where in 2010 he became the first pianist to perform a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in one season.

Particularly noted for his interpretation of the Viennese classics we are delighted that his Abbotsholme programme includes Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms.



Friday April 20th 8.00pm


Sheku Kanneh-Mason cello with Isaka Kanneh-Mason piano


Bach   Gamba Sonata No. 2 in D Major
Poulenc   Cello Sonata
Debussy   Cello Sonata
Brahms   Sonata for cello and piano No.2 in F Major, Op. 99

Since winning first prize in the 2016 BBC Young Musician prize, the sensational 17 year old Sheku Kanneh-Mason from Nottingham has had a meteoric rise to fame, embracing a busy concert schedule, television and radio appearances and a recording contract with Decca. Still at school he has won numerous other prizes and and a scholarship to the RAM where he will study with Hannah Roberts.

Sheku regularly performs with Chineke!, Europe’s first BME (black and minority ethnic) orchestra and is the Junior Ambassador for the music education charity, London Music Masters. He is partnered  at Abbotsholme by his talented sister, Isata, who was a former Young Musician finalist and studies full time at the Royal Academy of Music.

This concert is supported by the Patrons of Abbotsholme Arts Society



Thursday April 26th at 7.30pm
St. Oswald's Church, Ashbourne


Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir conducted by Paul Spicer




Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir is a group of auditioned student singers who form an expert and flexible group. They perform with sensitivity, energy and panache and are gathering an enviable reputation for their musicianship partly through their increasing recording presence which reflects the specialist interest of their conductor, Paul Spicer, in 20th and 21st century British music.

Paul is a well-known musical figure and has built a strong reputation as a composer, teacher, producer and choral conductor. Works performed will be largely a capella and for this final concert of the series, Paul has composed a specially commissioned piece that aptly celebrates the work and achievement of Abbotsholme Arts Society. Please note the venue

This concert is supported by the Edward Saunders Legacy



Sunday May 20th 8.00pm


Welcome again to the
Derby Academy of Classical Dance


For an evening of passionately conceived and expertly performed dance-choreographed by the Academy’s Director,Eve Leveaux with piano accompaniment by John Rooks.

Tickets £10
Includes a cold buffet. Wine is available for purchase.

Fundraising event in Abbotsholme School Theatre