Philip R Buttall looks forward to 2012's classical events

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While most concert series and organisers take time off over the Christmas period, you can always rely on Kelly College Concert Series, now in its 52nd season, to be quick off the mark early in the New Year.

On January 18 at 7.45pm, the Bridge String Quartet takes the first slot with music by Haydn, Bartok and Beethoven, followed by the violin and piano duo of Peter Fisher and Peter Hewitt in February, and a welcome return of Plymouth-born clarinettist, Peter Cigleris in March.

If you don’t want to brave the elements and drive to Tavistock, there‘s another chance to catch up with Peter Fisher and Peter Hewitt, when they appear in the 19th International Concert Series at Sherwell United Church the week after their Kelly College recital, where the main work will be Grieg’s Violin Sonata in C minor.

Local clarinettist, Bethan Donaldson, takes the last slot in the series, the following month, as part of her Plymouth Music Accord’s Young Musicians’ Platform award.

The 20th Series starts in April, and heralds a return to Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, which will be marked by a special event featuring pianist, Mark Bebbington, who will be performing works by John Ireland, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death.

The St Petersburg-based Atrium String Quartet returns to the University of Plymouth Sherwell Centre on January 21 at 7.30pm, in the Peninsula Arts Chamber Music Series, with quartets by Arensky, Falik, Shostakovich and Schubert.

Peninsula Arts is busy again soon after, with its annual Contemporary Music Festival over the weekend of February 10-12, where one of the highlights should be a performance by the Ten Tors Orchestra, pictured above, of a number of newly-composed works.

Attesting to the orchestra’s extreme flexibility, it plays next at St Mary’s Church, Totnes, where the programme could hardly be more contrasting – music by Vivaldi, Albinoni, Pergolesi and Marcello, with counter-tenor, Rupert Enticknap, pictured above, and Andrew Knights (oboe).

If, however, you prefer your Baroque music played on contemporary instruments of the time, then Devon Baroque presents another ‘Experience Weekend’ at the Great Hall Dartington, which will include a number of individual concerts featuring The Golden Age of English Music.

Early Music fans aren’t forgotten either, with Passamezzo appearing in February, and Liam Byrne (viola da gamba) and Linda Sayce (theorbo) the following month, as part of Totnes Early Music’s current season.

Arguably, though, the musical highlight here should be the visit of the Academy of Ancient Music to the Great Hall Dartington, on February 23, with music by Bach, Vivaldi and Biber.

The BBC Concert Orchestra returns to Plymouth Pavilions on March 3, where a newly-commissioned work written especially for the Olympics will feature in the programme.

This will be followed in June, by another visit from the European Union Chamber Orchestra, featuring violinist, Callum Smart, String Winner from the 2010 BBC Young Musician of the Year.

Plymouth Symphony Orchestra has an attractive and popular programme lined up for Liskeard Public Hall, and Plymouth Guildhall later that month, including Wagner’s Flying Dutchman Overture, Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, all rounded off by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

On the choral front, after a somewhat more heavyweight pre-Christmas offering, Plymouth Philharmonic Choir, main picture, returns to the Guildhall at the end of the month with two eminently lighter works, Karl Jenkins’s Requiem, and Andrew Carter’s Benedicite.

With Welsh National Opera bringing the Marriage of Figaro, Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict, and Verdi’s La Traviata to the Theatre Royal Plymouth at the start of April, all in all there’s surely something for just about everyone’s taste, as the New Year unfolds, and even for those who are more into crossover, with return Pavilions visits by Katherine Jenkins, pictured above, early in February, and Russell Watson in June.

Full details of these and other events appear in this column nearer the time, but to start planning now, just go to Plymouth Classical Music Concert Diary. Click here to read my review of the classical year 2011.


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