Composers festival returns for a second year to St Mary’s

RETURNING for a second year, the Hastings International Composers Festival brings to St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, some of the biggest names in contemporary classical music.

The festival takes place over two days - Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 7, and the philosophy behind it is to provide beautiful classical music for everyone, as well as open rehearsals, discussions, and Q&A sessions.

Members of the Osaka Concert Orchestra are flying over from Japan especially to perform, there will be 19 world premieres of pieces written by composers from all over the world, as well as performances from Hastings Philharmonic Choir, and the first public outing of the Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra.

In terms of contemporary classical music, this is without doubt a major event, and following the success of the inaugural festival last year, the spotlight is sure to be on Hastings once again.

Festival-goers will have the chance to meet composers including Oscar-winner Stephen Warbeck, who wrote the incidental music for Shakespeare in Love, Howard Blake, best known for his soundtrack to Channel 4’s 1982 film The Snowman, and former Classic FM composer-in-residence Patrick Hawes.

Doors open at 5.30 on Friday, September 6 for the festival introduction, speeches and the opening concert featuring performances from the London Gala Orchestra and Winchester Consort singers.

On Saturday (September 7) the programme begins at 10.30am, with a matinee concert, with lectures, discussions, open rehearsals, and opportunities to meet composers, throughout the day.

In the evening will be the finale concert, including performances from the Osaka Concert Orchestra, and the first outing of the newly formed Hastings Sinfonia orchestra.

Composer and pianist Polo Piatti, the festival’s creative director, will himself be performing, and said: “It is not classical music in a stuffy way. We are playing beautiful music in an exciting way.

He added: “The festival is unique in the world at the moment, and this is the reason we had over 500 submissions from all over the world.”

A day pass for the festival is £12 (£10 concessions), while a pass for the entire event is £20 (£15 concessions).

Children under 12 go free.

Tickets can be bought from Imagen Gallery, 20 Claremont or visit the website at