Hertfordshire Festival of Music (HFoM) takes place from Thursday 4th to Friday 10th of June. Postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, HFoM 2021 is particularly special as for many people it will be the first time they have enjoyed live music in over a year.
Now in its fifth edition, Hertfordshire Festival of Music has grown rapidly from a small weekend event to a major summer celebration of classical music, based in and around the attractive historic county town of Hertford.
An established part of the summer classical music calendar, under the direction and vision of co-Artistic Directors conductor Tom Hammond and composer James Francis Brown, HFoM is now one of the UK’s major music festivals, featuring international artists and ensembles alongside innovative outreach and educational projects. This
year’s Festival showcases a diverse range of artists and music.
HFoM is delighted to present prodigiously talented violinist Chloë Hanslip as this year’s Principal Artist. Praised for her “warmth and clarity” and “simply spellbinding” playing, Chloë Hanslip (b. 1987) has already established herself as an artist of distinction on the international stage. During this year’s Festival, Chloë will perform as a soloist with the Hertfordshire Festival Orchestra in music by Pärt and Sibelius. She will also give two recitals with pianist Danny Driver and masterclasses at Queenswood School in partnership with Future Talent.
Judith Weir, CBE, is this year’s Featured Living Composer. Appointed Master of the Queen’s Music in 2014, Weir’s richly communicative music is “consistently imaginative” and “genuinely ravishing” (Tom Service, The Guardian). Festival audiences will be able to enjoy performances of Judith’s music as well as gain insights into her creative life in an “in conversation” event with HFoM Artistic Directors Tom Hammond and James Francis Brown.
HFoM 2020 featured Artists/Ensembles:
- Violinist Chloë Hanslip (“…wholly infectious conviction, spontaneity and panache… superbly accomplished performances…” Gramophone)
- Pianist Danny Driver (“….a delight to hear performances as radiant as these” Seen & Heard International)
- Albion Quartet (“The playing, by the excellent Albion, is masterly in its vividness, freedom and sensitivity” Sunday Times)
- Matthew Sharp, cello/voice (“extraordinary cellist, virile baritone and compelling actor” Daily Telegraph)
- Fontanella Recorder Consort (“Such beautiful playing, fabulous ensemble…what’s not to like?” Frome Concerts Group)
- Pianist Florian Mitrea (“a mixture of phenomenal technique and ravishing musical intelligence” Cambridge Independent)
- Hertfordshire Festival Orchestra, conducted by Tom Hammond
ZRI (“unique and endlessly captivating…combining the raucous energy of an impromptu pub session with the style and sophistication of the concert hall” – Cambridge Music Festival)
- Tom Hammond, conductor (“A serious contender for most promising maestro of his generation.” Musical Opinion
The Festival opens with two concerts by Albion Quartet which celebrate Hertfordshire’s ‘Haydn Connection’ (read more here) as well as showcasing music by Judith Weir, CBE.
In addition to more traditional concert settings, ZRI will play an informal “brewhouse session” at McMullen’s Brewery in Hertford, and there will also be an opportunity to watch a full concert orchestra at work in a “relaxed rehearsal” with the HFoM Festival Orchestra.
From talks and guided walks to storytelling events for children with “virtuoso of the arts”, cellist and actor Matthew Sharp, a celebration of the Friends’ Meeting House in Hertford (the oldest still in use) and a festival finale including two of Beethoven’s best-loved sonatas for violin and piano, Hertfordshire Festival of Music brings together some of the finest international musicians in a varied range of creative and imaginative programmes. It promises to be a delicious, generous feast for music lovers who have been bereft of live music over the past year.
Hertford is just over twenty miles from central London, easy to get to by rail and road but nestled in the beautiful countryside of the Lea Valley. Concerts generally take place within a ten minute stroll of the town’s centre, which boasts excellent restaurants, many independent shops and accommodation.
Since its launch in 2016, the Festival has presented concerts that have inspired extraordinary audience responses to artists such as Tasmin Little OBE, Dame Emma Kirkby, Stephen Hough CBE, Steven Isserlis CBE, the Carducci Quartet, the Galliard Ensemble and The Prince Consort. HFoM is fortunate to receive major support from Arts Council England and a number of charitable trusts and foundations, county, district and town councils, while a growing Friends Scheme allows individuals to play an important role in supporting the Festival and furthering its scope and potential.
The Festival offers affordable ticket prices, multi-event discounts, some free events, and a ticket scheme for under 18s and those in full-time education. The organisers have gone to every length to ensure that all venues are COVID-secure for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of audiences, performers and Festival staff.
HFoM exists to celebrate and nurture exceptional music-making, featuring some of the world’s finest performers. The Festival also supports professional and young musicians from Hertfordshire, presents fascinating music by living composers and devises major, innovative projects for education and participation.
Partner organisations: Queenswood School, Hertfordshire Music Service, Mudlarks Garden Café, Benslow Music Trust, Future Talent
Funders and supporters: Longmores Solicitors, Queenswood School, Handelsbanken, Harpenden Music Foundation, East Herts District Council, Hertford Town Council and Herts County Council, McMullen Brewing and Pubs.
HFoM is grateful to Arts Council England for its generous support of the Festival for 2021 and 2022.