Peasmarsh Festival 2023

2023 Guest Artists

Guest artists are invited to perform in the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival by Festival Co-directors, Anthony Marwood and Richard Lester, collaborating in different ensembles across the long weekend of concerts.

In 2023 we look forward to welcoming:

Stefan Cassomenos, piano

Stefan CassomenosInternationally praised for his clarity, depth of expression, virtuosity and versatility, Melbourne-born Stefan Cassomenos is regarded as one of Australia’s leading concert pianists. His concerto repertoire now exceeds forty works, and has led to performances with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Opera Australia Orchestra, and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist at Tonhalle Zurich, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Beethoven Festival Bonn, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, and at concert halls across Germany, Netherlands, England, Italy, Malta, Greece, Slovenia, Poland, Estonia, Russia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

In 2013, Cassomenos was a grand finalist and recipient of both the Second Grand Prize and the Chamber Music Prize at the International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition Bonn. He studied on full scholarship at Melbourne University and the Australian National Academy of Music, mentored by Stephen McIntyre, Margarita Krupina, Ian Munro, and Michael Kieran Harvey.

Cassomenos is a founding member of acclaimed ensemble PLEXUS, which since launching in 2014 has commissioned and premiered over 110 new works. Cassomenos began composing at an early age, giving the premiere of his own Piano Concerto No 1 with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at age 16. He has composed for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Victorian Opera, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, and for the Festival Neue Musik Rockenhausen.

Cassomenos is currently co-Artistic Director, together with violinist Monica Curro, of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.

Cassomenos is generously supported by Kawai Australia.

Simone van der Giessen, viola

Simone van der GiessenSimone van der Giessen was born in Amsterdam and left in 2002 to study violin and viola in Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music. It was there, that as a founding member of the Navarra String Quartet, chamber music became the centre of her musical life.

After graduating in June 2006 with First Class Honours she won the RNCM’s Cecil Aronowitz Prize for viola and performed Walton’s concerto for viola with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra.

After 16 inspiring and fantastic years with the Navarra quartet Simone is now a member of the Elias quartet which also formed at the RNCM. They are ensemble in residence at the RNCM and regularly go back there to teach and perform. This season they are touring the US and performing the complete Beethoven cycle in Tokyo.

Outside of the quartet, Simone is in much demand as a chamber musician and is frequently invited to perform with chamber orchestras and ensembles such as the Aronowitz Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Simone’s biggest influences came from her professors Jan Repko, Predrag Katanic and Chris Rowland at the RNCM and David Takeno at the GSMD. Other very inspiring musical influences came from Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Thomas Riebl, Gyorgy Kurtag, Eberhard Feltz and Ferenc Rados. Simone was grateful for the generous support of both the Prince Bernard Cultural Foundation of Holland and the Martin Music Scholarship Fund throughout her studies.

Aleksandar Madžar, piano

Aleksandar MadžarAleksandar Madžar was born in Belgrade in 1968. He started playing the piano with Gordana Malinovic at the age of six, and later studied with Arbo Valdma, Elisso Virsaladze and Daniel Blumenthal in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Moscow and Brussels. He won prizes at the Geneva, Leeds, Ferrucio Busoni and Umberto Micheli International Piano competitions, and gave his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and Iván Fischer in 1990. Since then he has performed regularly throughout Europe, enjoying a rich and varied career giving solo and chamber music recitals, as well as performing concertos with conductors André Previn, Marcello Viotti, Paavo Järvi and Andris Nelsons. He also occasionally tours to North and South America, South Africa, the Far East and Australia.

Aleksandar Madžar is a frequent guest of Wigmore Hall, the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, the Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels and Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and his regular chamber music partners include the Takács Quartet, Anthony Marwood, Vilde Frang and the soprano Juliane Banse. He teaches at the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Brussels and at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg.

Samuel West, actor

Samuel WestSamuel West is an actor and sometimes a director. He’s played Hamlet and Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Jeffrey Skilling in Enron in the West End and the voice of Pongo in Disney’s 101 Dalmations II.

Television work includes Slow Horses, The Crown, Small Axe, Mr Selfridge and W1A; films include Darkest Hour, Suffragette, Van Helsing and Howards End. He plays Siegfried Farnon in the new TV adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small.

As narrator, he has appeared with all the major British orchestras and at the Last Night of the Proms. Sam is an Associate Artist of the RSC.

In his spare time he grows chillies and goes birdwatching.

Kleio Quartet

Kleio QuartetYume Fujise, violin
Katherine Yoon, violin
Jenny Lewisohn, viola
Eliza Millett, cello

First Prize and Commission Prize winners at the Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition 2023, the Kleio Quartet are quickly establishing themselves as an internationally-recognised quartet.

Described by Alina Ibragimova as “a wonderfully dedicated group of musicians who bring assuredness and freshness to everything they play”, the Kleio Quartet was formed at the Seiji Ozawa International Chamber Academy in 2019. They consist of individually acclaimed musicians Yume Fujise, Katherine Yoon, Jenny Lewisohn and Eliza Millett.

They have performed in major international venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Victoria Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the DR Koncerthuset and many others.

The Kleio Quartet is particularly grateful to have received support and mentorship from Alina Ibragimova, as well as from John Myerscough thanks to ChamberStudio’s Mentorship Scheme. They have also received coaching from world-renowned chamber musicians Sadao Harada, Nobuko Imai, Pamela Frank, Oliver Wille, Pinchas Zukerman and Eckart Runge.

This season they have held a Residency at Snape Maltings’ Britten-Pears Festival in Aldeburgh and look forward to a series of residencies hosted by the Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam from 2023-25. They are delighted to have been selected both for the Tunnell Trust’s Music Club Awards Scheme 2022/23 and as Kirkman Concert Society Young Artists for 2023/24. They have also been selected to join the MERITA platform from 2023-25.

The Kleio Quartet are City Music Foundation Artists and are grateful for the ongoing support of Le Dimore del Quartetto.

Valo Quartet

Valo QuartetMaria Włoszczowska, violin
Tim Crawford, violin
Lilli Maijala, viola
Amy Norrington, cello

Launched at the beginning of this season, the Valo Quartet was created out of a mutual desire to delve more profoundly into the string quartet repertoire. The members (originally from Poland, the UK and Finland) have come together and often collaborated in various formations at festivals and series across Europe, such as Festival Resonances in Belgium. A shared spirit of spontaneity became the perfect starting point to develop a sense of enduring growth, the guiding light (Valo – ‘light’ in Finnish) being the union of meaningful exploration of the score and trust in the individual player’s musical instincts.

Maria Włoszczowska
Polish violinist Maria Włoszczowska is recognised for her versatile musicianship, performing as soloist, director/concertmaster, and chamber musician. She appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and began the 2022/23 season with her solo debut at the BBC Proms with the Royal Northern Sinfonia whom she leads and directs in a number of programmes.

Tim Crawford
Currently a violinist of the Esbjerg Ensemble in Denmark, Tim Crawford also plays with the Teyber Trio, a string trio he formed with Timothy Ridout and Tim Posner. He’s in demand as a chamber musician across Europe and regularly appears at international festivals in the UK and Switzerland.

Lilli Maijala
Based in Amsterdam, violist Lilli Maijala’s diverse chamber music activities take her around the world. She is also a professor of viola at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and regularly appears as soloist with orchestras in her home country of Finland.

Amy Norrington
Cellist Amy Norrington enjoys a varied career as soloist, chamber musician, teacher and Artistic Director of the International Chamber Music Festival Resonances where she brings together musicians of the highest calibre.

Britten Sinfonia

Britten SinfoniaFor 30 years Britten Sinfonia has been pushing the boundaries of what a chamber orchestra can do. It is rooted in the East of England, where it is the only professional orchestra working throughout the region, while it also has national and international reputation as one of the best ensembles playing today.

“One of our most innovative and vital ensembles.”
– The Guardian

Britten Sinfonia is known for its adventurous programming and stunningly high-quality performances, but also for its acclaimed nurturing of new talent and work with schools, hospital patients and communities across its home region.

Britten Sinfonia is defined not by the traditional figurehead of a principal conductor, but by the dynamic meeting of outstanding individual players and the broad range of their collaborators – from Steve Reich, Thomas Adès and Alison Balsom to Pagrav Dance Company, Father John Misty, Rufus Wainwright, and Anoushka Shankar.

Today Britten Sinfonia is heralded as one of the world’s leading ensembles and its philosophy of adventure and reinvention has inspired a new movement of emerging chamber groups. It is an Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican, Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Essex and has residencies in Norwich and Cambridge. It performs an annual chamber music series at London’s Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh, Brighton, Norfolk & Norwich Festivals and the BBC Proms. The orchestra has performed a live broadcast to more than a million people worldwide from the Sistine Chapel, and toured to the US, Asia and much of Europe. It is a BBC Radio 3 Broadcast Partner and has award-winning recordings on the Hyperion and Harmonia Mundi labels.

Outside the concert hall, Britten Sinfonia musicians work on creative and therapeutic projects with pre-school children, teenagers, young carers, people living with dementia, life-time prisoners and older people at risk of isolation. The orchestra has new music in its DNA and has commissioned almost 250 works to date from some of the world’s most famous figures and from composers whose successful careers it has helped launch. Britten Sinfonia runs two talent
development schemes for composers: Opus 1 for those aspiring to become professionals, and Magnum Opus for composers who have achieved some success and are looking for more support to take the next step in their careers.

Sam Glazer, animateur

Sam GlazerSam Glazer is a composer, cellist and creative leader. He is co-creator of Spitalfields Music’s RPS-shortlisted Musical Rumpus, making operas for babies and toddlers, touring London, nationally and internationally (2012-2017). His choral score for circa’s Depart (LIFT/ Spitalfields Music/ Hull UK City of Culture 2017/ LeftCoast/ Brighton Festival) premiered in an East London Victorian woodland cemetery, and toured the UK in 2017. In 2018 he was commissioned by the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival to compose a new song cycle for children’s voices and string quartet, inspired by the commedia dell’arte. His latest commission, for Den Jyske Oper, was Hjerte Lyd, a new opera for babies and toddlers, which toured Denmark in 2019.

Sam has been involved for over ten years with Wigmore Hall’s pioneering Music for Life project, working creatively with people living with dementia, and subsequently went on to co-found Raise Your Voice Opera, Glyndebourne’s group for people with dementia and their carers living in the community. Since 2005 he has been teaching at the Royal Academy of Music, mentoring young musicians who are studying Music in the Community, and he is currently lead mentor for Spitalfields Music’s Trainee Music Leader programme. He has led projects for The Sixteen, Saffron Hall and Sinfonia Viva and developed creative learning programmes for the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival, the Winchester Chamber Music Festival and the Mid-Wales Music Trust. He is director of Seaglass Arts, working with families, musicians and teachers to create enriching artistic experiences for babies, toddlers and their adults.

Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival 2023 poster2023 Programme


Thursday 22 June, 8pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Stefan Cassomenos, Simone van der Giessen, Lilli Maijala, Amy Norrington, Kleio Quartet, Valo Quartet

  • Boccherini – String Quintet in E major, Op. 11 No. 5, G 275
  • Robin Ireland – Fantasia for two violas
  • Britten – String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 25
  • Schumann – Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47

Our 25th Anniversary Festival begins with some wonderful celebratory music – Boccherini’s upbeat and energising quintet in E major was written in 1771 and includes his famous Minuet, while Britten’s first published String Quartet was composed in the summer of 1941 as Britten stayed with friends in Escondido, California and first performed in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, contemporary composer Robin Ireland celebrates the viola at its most virtuosic in his Fantasia. The concert concludes with Schumann’s beautiful piano quartet, with its mesmerising slow movement.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh


Friday 23 June, 12:30pm

As in previous years, we are thrilled to be working with children in five local primary schools. Participating pupils will have the opportunity to work with members of the Kleio Quartet and our expert workshop leader Sam Glazer to compose their own songs. They will be performing these songs here, accompanied by the Kleio Quartet who will also be playing some examples of String Quartet repertoire. In many cases this will be the first time the children will have heard a live performance of chamber music. Do come and join us.

Venue: St Mary’s Church, Rye


Friday 23 June, 8pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester (soloists)
Britten Sinfonia

  • Stravinsky – Chamber Concerto in E flat major, Op. 8.v.38 ‘Dumbarton Oaks’
  • Mendelssohn – Concerto in D minor for violin and strings, MWV 03
  • Adès – Shanty ‘Over the Sea’ (2020)
  • Saint-Saens – Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33

‘I played Bach regularly during the composition of the Concerto, and was greatly attracted to the ‘Brandenburg’ Concertos. Whether or not the first theme of my [first] movement is a conscious borrowing from the third Brandenburg, however, I do not know.’
– Igor Stravinsky

Our orchestral concert opens with Stravinsky’s Chamber Concerto, commissioned by US Diplomat Robert Bliss and named after his elegant home in the Georgetown district of Washington DC. Written when he was just 13 years old Mendelssohn’s concerto in D minor for violin and strings is less famous than his ‘other’ violin concerto, but is an exquisite and highly inventive work from the young genius. Thomas Ades’ short ‘Shanty’, co-commissioned by Britten Sinfonia, is written for fifteen individual voices, sometimes together and sometimes divergent, creating a widening seascape – and was described by the Guardian as ‘hypnotic, captivating’. The programme concludes with Saint-Saens’ dramatic first cello concerto, described by Rachmaninov as the greatest of all cello concertos.

Venue: St Mary’s Church, Rye


Saturday 24 June, 11:30am

Aleksandar Madžar, Kleio Quartet, Valo Quartet

  • Mozart – String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K575 ‘Prussian No. 1’
  • Webern – 5 Satze for String Quartet, Op. 5
  • Schubert – Four Impromptus, D. 899 (Op.90)

Mozart’s charming D major String Quartet, written in 1789, was dedicated to Friedrich Wilhelm 11, King of Prussia, and is a well loved pillar of the quartet canon. Written in 1909, and comprising five very short but intense movements, Webern’s ‘5 Satze’ see the composer breaking new ground. By contrast, Schubert’s four impromptus (the first four of eight that he composed) showcase the composer’s lyrical Romantic style and are considered by many to be some of the finest examples of the genre.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul’s, Peasmarsh


Saturday 24 June, 6pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Stefan Cassomenos, Tim Crawford, Simone van der Giessen, Aleksandar Madžar, Samuel West, Valo Quartet

  • Beethoven – String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 7 4 ‘Harp’
  • Schoenberg – Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, Op. 41
  • Ravel – Piano Trio in A minor

This varied programme takes in Beethoven’s ‘Harp’ Quartet, named by his publisher for the pizzicato sections in the allegro of the first movement. Schonberg’s dramatic Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, set to a poem by Lord Byron, was written in 1942 as an impassioned protest against tyranny. We conclude with Ravel’s mighty Piano Trio, which was written in 1914 and completed quickly so that the composer could enlist. Composed whilst Ravel was staying in French Basque territory in the deep south west of France, the trio is influenced by Basque dance rhythms.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul’s, Peasmarsh


Saturday 24 June, 9:30pm

Kleio Quartet, Valo Quartet, Samuel West

Fanny and Felix: a programme of music for strings by Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny, interspersed with readings from their letters read by celebrated actor Samuel West.

Including movements from:

  • Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel – String Quartet in E flat major
  • Felix Mendelssohn – String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13
  • Felix Mendelssohn – Scherzo from String Octet in E flat major, Op. 20

Musical siblings Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn grew up in Berlin in the 1820s, performing music together and advising each other on their compositions – even when they were apart through the medium of letters. Although Felix Mendelssohn’s music has a much higher profile and received much greater acclaim in his lifetime, Fanny’s compositions are equally accomplished and original. Some of her work was published under Felix’s name during their lifetime, including the song ‘ltalien’ which was specially requested by Queen Victoria for a performance at Buckingham Palace.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul’s, Peasmarsh


Sunday 25 June, 11:30am

Anthony Marwood, Stefan Cassomenos, Valo Quartet

  • Chopin – A selection of mazurkas
  • Haydn – String Quartet in B minor Op. 64 No. 2
  • Adès – Märchentänze (original version for violin and piano)

Chopin’s famous mazurkas are based on a traditional dance form from his native Poland and are among his most popular works for piano. These upbeat works are perfectly complemented by Haydn’s tranquil Quartet in B minor (one of his Tost quartets, written at Esterhazy), and juxtaposed with Thomas Adès’ Märchentänze (Dances from Fairytale), which include a depiction of an ‘exaltation’ of skylarks, as can be heard in the hills and fields of England in the spring.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh


Sunday 25 June, 4:30pm

Richard Lester, Simone van der Giessen, Kleio Quartet

  • Rameau Six Concerts en Sextuor

Our Sunday afternoon concert is a feast of Rameau focussing on his Concerts en Sextuor – transcriptions of his Pieces de Clavecin en Concert for six string players. Join Richard and his colleagues as they discuss and perform some of these wonderful works.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh


Sunday 25 June, 7pm

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester, Stefan Cassomenos, Tim Crawford, Simone van der Giessen, Lilli Maijala, Maria Włoszczowska

  • Janáček – Sonata for violin and piano
  • Hiller – String Trio in C major, Op. 207
  • Dvořák – String Quintet in E flat major, Op. 97

The 2023 Festival comes to a close with some stunningly virtuosic pieces from 19th and early 20th century composers. Like Ravel’s piano trio, Janacek’s violin sonata was written in the summer of 1914 and the composer was very aware of the looming conflict, writing that he “could just about hear sound of the steel clashing in my troubled head”. Ferdinand Hiller may be less familiar to modern audiences, but he was a close friend of Mendelssohn and succeeded him as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The final notes of 2023 are entrusted to Dvořák, whose quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello was composed in Iowa in 1893, directly after his more famous ‘American’ string quartet.

Venue: Church of St Peter & St Paul, Peasmarsh