Festival International et Académie


December 2021: winter concerts in Kent

Musique-Cordiale in Kent:
WINTER CONCERT SUCCESS performed to a sold-out audience

Musique Cordiale Festival Choir & Ensemble, conductor Graham Ross
Vivaldi – Four Seasons

Emma Purslow, solo violin

+ Handel – Dixit Dominus

Helen Sotillo, soprano; Alexandra Osbourne, alto; Matthew Cooke, tenor; Benjamin Weiland, bass

The Assembly Rooms, Faversham Kent, GB 7PM, 4 December 2021.

As these videos illustrate, the show continued  in 2020-2022 after initial Pandemic lockdowns… and our events managed to retain something of the convivial  and musical feel of Musique-Cordiale – but on a different scale, in a more challenging climate… and without most of our usual pan-European musicians & audiences.

Vivaldi Four Seasons Final notes of closing Concert, 4 August 2021, Musique-Cordiale in Kent: Emma Purslow, violin, Musique-Cordiale Festival Ensemble, conductor Graham Ross, Doddington Place Gardens, Kent, GB

Summer 2021

The summer festival (reduced but exciting and mostly open-air) took place in GB instead of France this year.

Organising a 2-week annual international festival in Provence always took months of planning and lead-time (it will be slightly shorter in 2023). Each year since 2005, we have arranged venues, travel & accommodation, enrolled singers, recruited and transported musicians with instruments and sometimes opera sets and costumes, booked soloists, ordered music, prepared posters, banners and printed programmes as well as setting everything up on our website. We manage everything from catering to lighting and ticketing to the details of a diverse programme that excites performers and audiences alike. And we budget early to achieve this and to try to fund what we plan.

With the ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic situation in Europe in 2020 and 2021 – and restrictions on travel as well as a vaccination schedule that could not reach everyone for a while, we realised (in mid-April 2020, sometime after our usual Easter Box Office opening) that we had, quite simply, run out of time to produce a full festival 2020 in the Pays de Fayence that summer. And even if we did, we could not insure it or be confident that our audiences would flock from all over Europe to the beautiful venues where we usually perform musical delights, not only in vineyards and the Fayence amphitheatre but also in closely-packed medieval churches. SO… the Festival shrank and also moved to Kent GB pro tem! And it was just as well as, in the end, we would not have been allowed to put on the festival in France in August 2020 – or in 2021 – at the time we usually have. And the logistics (closed ports and airports, travel restrictions, covid passes, infection rates) meant that we could not have brought our musicians and singers from all over Europe to Provence anyway. Even in Britain, we had to accept (though many tried till the last moment) that non-UK-based musicians and audiences simple could not participate. And we still had to turn away recently-infected people and exercise special care and social distancing. Indeed, most concerts have had to take place out-of-doors and we could not accommodate singers as compactly (or affordably) as usual. But we DID manage to dodge the English weather. We put on a single concert (free-no box office) in September 2020 … and successfully staged a shortened week-long series of 7 summer Concerts in 2021 (+ rehearsals, outdoor catering and conviviality). This proved a great success, reaching new audiences and attracting new choir and orchestra members as well as providing an outlet, at least, for many of our longer-standing musicians and singers though WE MISSED OUR FRENCH & PAN-EUROPEAN AUDIENCES. But, unlike so many other festivals and concert series, our SHOW DUID GO ON, maintaining our uninterrupted 17-year record of successful and popular festivals of classical and choral music. Our international festival in Provence, of the kind we have proudly offered in the past, was this year still yet within our reach. But everyone who could come to Kent, both in summer and in December 2021, was happy – and we are happy to have reached new music-starved appreciative audiences – to whom we also plan to be loyal in future!

Mozart REQUIEM, 31 July 2021, Musique Cordiale Festival Ensemble & choir, 31 July 2021, Doddington Place Gardens, Kent, GB

Click below for some other brief 2021 concert excerpts:

We missed our loyal supporters in France but we are trying to be positive and creative at a time of great challenge for culture and music. We are so pleased that some of you, based in Britain, could join us for our concerts in 2020-22, in Kent, GB and that we have attracted new enthusiastic audiences in Kent (see feature article HERE) … and, with luck, something may prove viable in France again in summer 2023 too.

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