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This year’s RNCM Chamber Music Festival is taking place at Manchester CathedralSt Ann’s Church and Chetham’s School of Music

For more information please click here to download the RNCM Chamber Music Festival leaflet 

Welcome to this year’s RNCM Chamber Music Festival, devoted to the music of one of the most influential composers of all time – Johann Sebastian Bach.

For the first time ever, we bring the Festival to the centre of Manchester, with concerts taking place in Manchester Cathedral and St Ann’s Church, religious buildings akin to those in which Bach’s music itself would have first been heard.

Bach’s The Art of Fugue, 90 minutes of exquisite music based on just one four-bar theme, is at the very heart of this year’s Festival. Its multiple fugues and canons appear throughout the weekend in new arrangements by RNCM composers, showcasing chamber music in all its forms, with striking combinations featuring strings, wind, brass, and chamber choir.

We present all six Brandenburg Concertos in the daytime concerts, performed by RNCM students alongside guests from the Gould Piano Trio, the Talich Quartet, tutors from the RNCM and Chetham’s School of Music, and the RNCM Junior Fellows in Chamber Music, the Sitkovetsky Piano Trio. We feature music by Bach’s extended family of composers, and in particular, Johann Sebastian’s son, CPE Bach, in this his 300th anniversary year. The programme also includes two sacred choral works as part of services at Manchester Cathedral, featuring the Cathedral Choir alongside RNCM musicians. We also warmly welcome musicians from Chetham’s, St Mary’s Music School, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Junior RNCM.

In the evenings, we are delighted to welcome Roger Hamilton with The Band of Instruments who perform together with the soprano and RNCM Head of Vocal Studies Lynne Dawson, and on Saturday evening, the magnificent Academy of Ancient Music, with the harpsichordist and director Mahan Esfahani. The Festival then closes as it begins, as the violin of the Talich Quartet announces for a second time the opening theme of The Art of Fugue and the Quartet proceeds to perform the entire work through to its sudden end, in itself marking the end of an extraordinary era.

Petr Prause artistic director

Supported by the Albert and Eugenie Frost Trust

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