programme 2023

Music in nature 

In 2023, our Festival theme was Nature, which was explored in a variety of beautiful and thought-provoking ways through the our curated programmes. Our guest speaker was Professor Tamsin Edwards, renowned Climate Scientist and award-winning science communicator. She gave a talk to accompany the Festival’s closing concert at Kino Teatr.

Nature in Music

11am Sunday Sept 17, Kino Teatr

Jane Gordon (violin) & Jan Rautio (piano)

Vaughan Williams ‘Lark Ascending’

Beethoven ‘Spring’ Sonata No.5 Op.24

Nadia & Lili Boulanger Selected Pieces

Followed by ‘artists in conversation’ Q & A

Tickets £14/12


Violinist Jane Gordon joins pianist Jan Rautio, to present a special coffee concert launching this year’s Festival.

Exploring the festival’s ‘Nature’ theme,  the ever popular Lark Ascending evokes a pastoral feel with violin emulating the bird, and takes its inspiration from a poem of the same title by George Meredith. 

Beethoven’s ‘Spring’ Sonata is one of his most uplifting and joyous works. The composer often took inspiration from nature, a topic which is explored in more detail across the festival. A selection of short pieces by sisters Nadia & Lili Boulanger completes the programme which is followed by ‘artists in conversation’ and an audience Q & A. 

Described as playing with ‘glowing conviction’ (Financial Times) and a ‘ravishing tone and depth of timbre’ (The Independent), Jane’s expressive and refined performances have won critical acclaim, establishing her as one of the leading violinists of her generation.

The Felix Ensemble
Jane Gordon
Sijie Chen
Florence Cooke 
Julia Loucks
Christine Anderson 
Joanna Patrick
Christoph Richter
Gavin Kibble


Mendelssohn by Candlelight

7pm Thursday Sept 21, Christchurch

The Felix Ensemble

Mendelssohn Octet Op.20 (Original version) 

Joachim Raff ‘Andante’ from Octet Op.176

Bach ‘Art of Fugue’ Selected movements

Followed by drinks in the church ‘meet the musicians’

Tickets: £20/18/15/12


The Felix Ensemble is a newly founded ensemble of period instrument musicians brought together by violinist Jane Gordon. The players are of outstanding calibre, featuring some of Europe’s most prestigious chamber musicians. Frequently heard on BBC Radio 3 and in Europe’s finest concert halls and festivals, the players enjoy busy international tour schedules, holding principal positions with John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestras and the London Mozart Players.

At the heart of their programme is the monumental Mendelssohn Octet, composed when he was only 16 years old. The ensemble will perform his rarely heard original version, taken from an autographed score dated Berlin,1825. More commonly heard today is the version published in 1830 after Mendelssohn had made substantial revisions, removing some wild and extraordinary music. This highly virtuosic piece is utterly thrilling and displays a remarkable childhood genius that easily rivals Mozart’s.

Completing the programme is a rarely performed piece by Joachim Raff, alongside movement’s from Bach’s ‘Art of Fugue’. The Felix Ensemble will be recreating a historical sound world by performing on gut strings.

Beethoven in nature

5pm Saturday Sept 23, Christchurch

Rautio Piano Trio
Richard Waters (viola)
Marianne Schofield (double bass)

Beethoven Pastoral Symphony transcribed by J Rautio

Debussy ‘Des pas sur la neige’ transcribed for by J Rautio

Schubert ‘Theme & Variations’ on Die Forelle from the ‘Trout’ Quintet

Followed by drinks in the church ‘meet the musicians’

Tickets: £20/18/15/12


This exciting new collaboration brings together some of the UK’s finest musicians who regularly appear at the BBC Proms and tour internationally with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic and United Strings of Europe. 

The Rautio Trio are frequently heard on BBC Radio 3 and have released three critically acclaimed albums, the latest receiving 5 stars in the BBC Music Magazine. 

In a special programme featuring music inspired by nature, pianist Jan Rautio transcribed Beethoven’s programmatic symphony, The Pastoral, for the same combination of instruments as Schubert’s immortal Trout Quintet. First performed in lockdown, this is a welcome return of a hugely successful transcription. They will also perform the famous ‘Die Forelle’ theme and variations from Schubert’s Trout Quintet, and Debussy’s ‘Des pas sur la neige’ (Footprints in the Snow). The programme which will be introduced by pianist Jan Rautio with a short talk, ‘Beethoven in Nature’.

music & climate science

3pm Sunday Sept 24th, Kino Teatr
Anna Dennis (soprano)
Rautio Piano Trio
Jane Gordon (violin)
Victoria Simonsen (cello)
Jan Rautio (piano)
Professor Tamsin Edwards

Talk on ‘Climate Change’

Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok Op. 127 for Soprano & Piano Trio

Beethoven Piano Trio in E flat Op. 70/2

Tickets: £20/18



Professor Tamsin Edwards, renowned climate scientist and award-winning science communicator opens the festival’s final event. Tying in with the festival’s ‘nature in music’ theme, we look back to Beethoven’s landscape pre industrial revolution and consider what has happened since.

Internationally-acclaimed opera singer, soprano Anna Dennis joins the Rautio Piano Trio for a performance of Shostakovich’s Seven Romances. A deeply moving and powerful masterpiece, it was composed in the last years of the prolific composer’s life. A song cycle innovative in form and structure, the work is a homage to art, friendship and nature. The composer dedicated it to soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, Rostropovich’s wife, both of whom were close friends of Shostakovich.

Beethoven’s Op.70/2 piano trio opens with a gentle, intimate tone, remarkably inward and reflective. The overall character becomes lively and rounds off this year’s festival with a suitably jubilant and uplifting finale. 

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