Violinist Harriet Mackenzie returns to the Festival of Chichester

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Amici series in Chichester

Violinist Harriet Mackenzie is delighted to be performing once again at the Festival of Chichester, this year with the Karolos Ensemble with guest guitarist Amanda Cook as part of the Amici Concerts series at St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square. Harriet, Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola) and Graham Walker (cello) recently recorded two discs of chamber music by the late Stephen Dodgson. Their festival programme includes Dodgson’s first string trio alongside gems of the repertoire by Schubert and Beethoven (Wednesday, July 13, 7.30pm).

“The Amici Series is so exciting,” Harriet said. “Meg Hamilton (violin and viola player) and Amanda Cook (guitarist) are the artistic directors. They are both fabulous players themselves and perform all over the world with the best, most exciting musicians, so they are able to bring those amazing personal contacts to perform in Chichester, making a really innovative series. It’s not just a pleasure, but really an honour to be part of it again. This time I’m here with my string trio – the Karolos Ensemble.”

Harriet added: “I have really come to love Stephen Dodgson’s music – witty, beautifully written, technically demanding, but very rewarding. I hadn’t known his work before. Stephen apparently loathed PR and publishers and so sadly most people are unaware of his compositions. Having discovered the works, I am now not only a convert, but really an evangelist for his music and believe that he should be upheld in the canon of great British composers alongside Walton, Britten and Vaughan Williams. It was wonderful to record these works with such great musicians and friends (Sarah-Jane and Graham) which has been the birth of the Karolos Ensemble and also to have the advice and support of Stephen’s widow Jane, giving us insight into his life, his music and telling us his metronome markings are not to be taken too seriously! We are really happy that Jane will be at the concert in Chichester when we perform one of the trios we recorded. We are programming this alongside one of the greatest Beethoven trios and a short, but truly gem-like Schubert trio, which makes it a varied and extremely musically satisfying concert and we hope the audience will enjoy the great variation in the repertoire.”

Adding to the pleasure is the fact that Harriet feels a special affinity with Chichester: “I have been lucky to perform here so much. I have performed here with my group Kosmos, my duo Retorica and with guitarist Morgan Szymanski. I certainly do feel a special connection with the place. It is a lovely church with a great acoustic, and the audience is extremely warm and it is always a pleasure to return. Having played in the first Amici concert, I can really see how the series is growing over the years and it is something that is really bringing great attention to Chichester.”

“It has been an extremely busy time for me. One of the highlights is that I have recently recorded Christopher Gunning’s violin concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with the composer conducting. It is a wonderful work – emotional, melodic and very much inspired by nature. The recording is out on the Discovery Label, and it was such an honour to be working with such a great orchestra and composer. Another exciting solo project that I have coming up is the recording of five works for violin and orchestra which I will be recording with the English Symphony Orchestra. The works are An Eventful Morning in East London which was written for me by Robert Fokkens, Paul Patterson’s double violin concerto (which I will be performing with Philippa Mo, who plays with me in our duo Retorica, which was featured in the Amici Series in 2014), falling still by Emily Doolittle – something like a modern Lark Ascending depicting a blackbird singing in the rain, Romanza by David Matthews and Wall of Water which was written for me by Deborah Pritchard.”

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