Violinist Charlie Lovell-Jones who is to perform at the opening concert of the inaugural High Barnet Chamber Music Festival in July visited the parish church to familiarise himself with the setting and acoustics.

Three concerts have been arranged for what the artistic director Joshua Ballance hopes will become an annual festival that establishes links with local schools and works closely with young musicians.

The festival has been assisted with a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council and funding from the Cavatina Trust which will help provide free admission for eight- to 25-year-olds.

The three evening concerts – on Saturday 17 July, Thursday 22 July, and Saturday 24 July – will start what local musical and dramatic groups hope will be a summer season of events to celebrate the end of lockdown restrictions on social gatherings.

Tickets – from £10 to £15 -- are available at the festival’s website www.hbcmf.co.uk  See full programme below.

Lovell-Jones, who is studying for a master of arts in violin performance at the Royal Academy of Music, will be playing a 1777 Turin Guadagnini violin from the J&A Beare Violin Society, which is on loan from a generous benefactor.

His opening concert at 7.30 pm on Saturday 17 July will include music by Schubert, Saint-Saens, Florence Price and William Grant Still.

“It is a dynamic programme with some gorgeous classical music including the monumental Schubert Fantasy and music by under-represented composers such as Price and Grant Still.”

This was the first time Lovell-Jones had been in High Barnet and had seen inside the parish church. He agreed immediately with the organisers that the church was an ideal location for chamber music with ample space for the audience.

He is seen here with the festival artistic director Joshua Ballance (left) and the church’s Monday verger Juliet Hedges-Robinson.

“I can’t wait to play in front of a live audience once again. Except for playing with a chamber orchestra last December, this will be my first live concert since February 2020.

“Musicians are just living for the moment we can start sharing our music with the audience. I have especially missed being able to talk to the audience and tell them all about the challenges and thrill of playing monumental pieces like the Schubert Fantasy.”

Lovell-Jones comes from a musical family. His mother went to the Royal College of Music and his father was in the Jesus College Choir at Cambridge. He began playing the piano at four, and the violin at five.

His long-term teacher for the last nine years has been Rodney Friend, former leader of the London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and BBC Philharmonic orchestras.

Joshua Ballance, a composer and conductor, who is currently studying for a doctorate in music analysis at Christ Church, Oxford, hopes the festival will become part of High Barnet’s cultural landscape, able to offer important experiences for local students.

If this year’s inaugural event is a success, the festival would become an annual event and then develop its out-reach work with local schools.

“Our aim is to appoint a composer in residence with the festival, ideally a young composer who could work with local schools and help them achieve public participation.

“We are also working on a scheme for student ambassadors who could get involved in the festival and understand the importance of concerts in the development of their own performances.”

The programme of three concerts at St John the Baptist Church:

Saturday 17 July 7.30pm: Violinist Charlie Lovell-Jones performs music by Schubert, Saint-Saens, Florence Price and William Grant Still. Tickets £10. Admission free for 8- to 25-year-olds.

Thursday 22 July 7.30pm: Mad Song and Anita Monserrat perform music by Mahler, Muller-Hermann, and Schoenberg. Tickets £15, under 25 £7.50.

Saturday 24 July 7.30pm: The Mithras Trio perform music by Schumann, Boulanger, and Shubert. Tickets £15. Admission free for 8- to 25-year-olds.

Season ticket for all three concerts: £30.

For further tickets and further details: www.hbcmf.co.uk

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