The Regis School Of Music Summer Festival celebrates the genius of Beethoven with an enticing and varied programme of events.
Festival director Alexander Levtov, principal of Bognor’s Regis School of Music where the festival is based, is delighted to offer three professional concerts this year, alongside events including competitive and non-competitive classes.
The first of the concerts is a lecture-recital by Oxana Shevchencko on Sunday, June 23 at 3pm featuring Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 106 Hummerclavier. Born in Kazakhstan and the winner of the first prize in the
Scottish International Piano Competition 2010, Oxana will play and talk about one of Beethoven’s piano masterpieces.
The second concert sees Evgenia Startzeva offer Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4, accompanied on the second piano by Yuri Paterson-Olenich, on Sunday, June 30 at 3pm.
Completing the trio of professional events, Dame Anne Murray will be accompanied by Terence Allbright in a performance of songs by Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann and Fauré on Saturday, July 6 at 3pm.
Also key to the festival will be the Performers’ Platform - Junior Section on June 22 and 23 and the Performers’ Platform - Senior Section on June 29 and 30. The festival concludes on July 7 with the festival exhibition, concert and awards ceremony at 7.30pm.
This year is the festival’s 17th outing, and Alexander sees the need for it as just acute as ever, if not more so - with youngsters now so tempted by computers and social networking. The festival, as always, gives them the chance to experience first-hand first-class musicianship and also take part themselves.
In the festival’s early years, the festival took a range of different countries as its theme, and then different musical centres including Venice and Vienna. Now the focus switches to individual composers.
“Now it is Beethoven. Last year we had early classics, the predecessors to Beethoven, people like Mozart and Haydn. But it was Beethoven who was the turning point of the whole musical world. By Beethoven’s time, music had reached the complexity of form that was able to describe the modern world in all its sophistication. Beethoven was the great genius.
“Before, Bach’s music was inspired so much by religion in a very broad sense, but in its own time it didn’t have such a profound influence on the human race. But by Beethoven’s time it did. The technology was available. The piano was developed enough, and most important of all the orchestra was in full swing, and that made a tremendous different. The orchestra gave Beethoven the great platform, and in so many ways Beethoven was the great turning point.”
The question then becomes, of course, how can you do justice to such towering genius in a relatively-short festival: “The answer is that you try to do it symbolically,” Alexander says.
Alexander admits there have been tough times, but the festival keeps going: “We started because we needed to provide extra stimulus for our students and we wanted to provide a thematic group of concerts. We needed that awareness. We have now got a queue of people that would like to come. Now we find that it is a question of finding decent audiences more frequently.”
The key element of participation, however, remains at the heart of it all.
Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23 offer classes for juniors, musicians and family groups, including non-competitive; June 29 and 30 caters for senior amateur musicians in beginners, intermediate
and advanced categories.
All the events will take place at Regis School of Music, 46 Sudley Road, Bognor Regis, PO21 1ER; 01243 866462; www.regisschoolofmusic.co.uk.