‘…. a highlight of the Musical Year’
‘To have such easy access to such brilliant performers is really a wonderful bonus’
‘A key date in my Spring diary’
The Investec International Music Festival brings world-class artists to perform in beautiful venues in the Surrey Hills, in early May each year.
IIMF is a registered charity and in addition to putting on concerts, the Committee commits to promoting music to children and young people through special pricing for under 30’s and supporting music education for local state primary schools through the Guildford Royal Grammar School String Scheme. The Festival also provides a performance platform for top post-graduate conservatoire students and early career musicians, which is a valuable opportunity for those starting out as professional performers.
After studying at the Royal Academy of Music, Festival Founders Wu Qian and Tessa Marchington were keen to bring their musician friends back home to where they both grew up, in the area of the Surrey Hills. In 2010 they founded the Festival with three days of concerts given by artists including Nicola Benedetti and Lucy Crowe. After the first year, a management committee was set up and the Festival has expanded and gone from strength to strength. Featuring over the years artists such as Dame Sarah Connolly (Festival Patron), Natalie Clein, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Maxim Rysanov, The English Concert, London Mozart Players and many other eminent international artists and conductors. In 2019 the festival celebrated its first 10 years with the world premiere of a work specially commissioned to mark the milestone – Charlotte Bray’s Trio Concerto ‘Germinate’, performed by the Sitkovetsky Trio with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Pierre-Andre Valade – the highlight of a season which also included Nicola Benedetti (now a Festival Patron), Tenebrae and jazz superstar Clare Teal. The tragedy of Covid-19 meant that 2020 which would have been our eleventh became the ‘Lost Season’, but we were able to work quickly to produce in its place a ‘Virtual Season’ including playlists, programme notes, artist info and specially commissioned podcasts, all of which can still be accessed here.
In 2021, we are working hard to bring live music back to the Surrey Hills in our Chamber Season, featuring an incredible range of performances from lute and theorbo virtuoso Paula Chateauneuf and The Tallis Scholars, to a reprise of Wu Qian and Juho Pohjonen’s spectacular piano duo, a performance led by Alexander Sitkovetsky of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons, and ground-breaking saxophonist and star of the 2018 BBC Last Night of the Proms Jess Gillam.
Looking ahead to 2022, plans are already underway to celebrate in style the 150th anniversary of the Surrey Hills’ most renowned composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Our venues are beautiful and create a wonderful sense of closeness to the performers and to their music. Many of our audience come year after year and this creates a lovely spirit of friendship and a shared enthusiasm for the music. We are incredibly lucky to have such a loyal and supportive community around the festival, and we are told that the Festival is a highlight of the year. So, why go to Vienna, Paris, New York or even London when you can see international stars in the Surrey Hills? The Festival weekends offer visitors wonderful walking and many enjoy opportunities for pre-concert dining either at the venue or in country pubs and restaurants.
Julia Pearson, Chair IIMF
Surrey Hills International Music Festival is a Registered Charity No. 1171264, 2020 season supported by Investec