Music festival to celebrate 10th anniversary in historic Hatfield venues

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival director Guy Johnston.

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival director Guy Johnston. - Credit: Kaupo Kikkas

A music festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in historic surroundings in Hatfield.

The Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival returns to the Hertfordshire stately home and nearby St Etheldreda’s Church in Old Hatfield, with five full days of concerts, masterclasses, talks, schools events, and a family concert.

Hatfield House was a filming location for Agatha Christie's Marple series five episode The Secret of Chimneys

Hatfield House will once again host the Chamber Music Festival with concerts in the Marble Hall, Armoury and Old Palace. - Credit: Alan Davies

The programme for this special year will look back at the past decade while also celebrating the present and looking to the future with contemporary works and new commissions.

The line-up of performers from Wednesday, September 29 to Sunday, October 3 features both regular festival artists sitting alongside new additions to the line-up of international chamber musicians who come to visit Hatfield each year.

Marble Hall at Hatfield House

Marble Hall at Hatfield House - Credit: Supplied by Hatfield House

Musically, the festival plans span the wealth of musical history connected with Hatfield House, with performances of pieces from the archives right through to the present day with two new commissions specially written for this anniversary.

Cellist Guy Johnston said: “I am absolutely thrilled to announce the plans for our 10th anniversary year. I can’t wait to celebrate this momentous occasion for the festival.

"The festival has come such a long way over the last decade, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the wonderful administrators, board of trustees, sponsors, volunteers, friends of the festival and audiences.

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"We, of course, owe a huge debt of thanks to Lord and Lady Salisbury for continuing to open their doors and for enabling us to share music in their beautiful and historic home.

"What started as a seed of an idea has grown beyond what I could have imagined back in 2011 with such an array of esteemed artists appearing and performing many memorable concerts during that time.”

The Carducci Quartet will perform at the 2021 Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival.

The Carducci Quartet will perform at the 2021 Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

The 2021 Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival opens on Wednesday, September 29 with a piano quartet line-up of cellist Guy Johnston and festival regulars Magnus Johnston (violin), Brett Dean (viola) and Tom Poster (piano).

The programme includes works by Schumann, Brahms and is also a platform for a world première of a cello sonata by Joseph Phibbs.

The other new commission in 2021, a solo cello suite written specially for Guy by Matthew Kaner, will be performed as part of a performance in The Armoury on Saturday, October 2.

The juxtaposition of old and new will be very evident in this concert with this new piece alongside an organ recital performed by William Whitehead which explores Hatfield House’s musical archives.

Orsino Ensemble will perform at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2021.

Orsino Ensemble will perform at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2021. - Credit: Supplied by Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

The 2021 Festival resident musicians also include the Carducci Quartet, the Orsino Ensemble, featuring star wind players and festival regulars, flautist Adam Walker and oboist Nicholas Daniel.

Julian Bliss Quintet will perform at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2021.

Julian Bliss Quintet will perform at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2021. - Credit: Greg Helgeson

Another regular performer in Hatfield, clarinettist Julian Bliss, will appear in his other guise as he brings his quintet for a Saturday evening of jazz in the Marble Hall.

Guest artists coming for the first time to Hatfield in 2021 include world-renowned but locally-based soprano Carolyn Sampson in a song recital accompanied by pianist Joseph Middleton.

Carolyn Sampson. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Soprano Carolyn Sampson will perform at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival. - Credit: Marco Borggreve

Organisers are delighted to host a performance by IMS Prussia Cove musicians as part of their annual concert tour.

On the final day of the festival vocal ensemble VOCES8 will be joining the line-up, inspiring local young choral singers in a singing masterclass in the morning and performing as part of the finale concert in The Old Palace.

Not only will VOCES8 enjoy a solo spot displaying a huge range of vocal repertoire in this final concert, but they will be joining the festival's resident musicians for performances of Britten’s Rejoice is the Lamb and Lili Boulanger’s Vieille Prière Bouddhique.

Running alongside the public concerts there will also be plenty of activity for local schoolchildren – to listen, take part and perform themselves – and on the Saturday afternoon families are invited to come to experience Holst’s Planet Suite being wonderfully brought to life through storytelling and painting by acclaimed artist James Mayhew.

Tickets are now on sale for live in-person audiences via

Organisers also plan to record selected performances and release them shortly after the live festival events.

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2021

Full Programme

All performances take place in venues within Hatfield House or in St Etheldreda’s Church, which is adjacent to Hatfield House.

Wednesday, September 29
7.30pm – 9.30pm, Marble Hall
Opening Concert

Thursday, September 30
11.30am – 12.30pm and 1.45pm – 2.45pm, St Etheldreda’s Church
Schools performances by invitation only.
Purcell School Musicians.

5pm – 6pm, Marble Hall
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Joseph Middleton, piano

7.30pm – 9.30pm, Marble Hall
IMS Prussia Cove

Friday, October 1
5pm – 6pm, Marble Hall
Carducci Quartet with Matthew Hunt, clarinet

7.30pm – 9.30pm, Marble Hall
Orsino Ensemble
Carducci Quartet

Saturday, October 2
11am – 12pm, The Armoury
William Whitehead, organ
Guy Johnston, cello

2pm – 3pm, St Etheldreda’s Church
Family Concert
Festival Resident Musicians with Purcell School Musicians, and James Mayhew illustrator.

5pm – 6pm, Marble Hall
Orsino Winds

7.30pm – 9.30pm, Marble Hall
Julian Bliss Quintet

Sunday, October 3
11am – 12.30pm, Old Palace
VOCES8 singing workshop with Hertfordshire Youth Chamber Choir and Cantate Youth Choir.
Open for audience to attend.

12pm – 1pm, Marble Hall
Carducci Quartet

2pm – 5pm, St Etheldreda's Church
Young Musicians Showcase

7.30pm – 9.30pm, Old Palace
Finale Concert
VOCES8, Hertfordshire Youth Chamber Choir, Cantate Youth Choir, Festival Resident Musicians.

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