Our second big success of 2016 was October’s Little Venice Music Festival, based at St. Saviour’s, Warwick Avenue – right next to the tube station. This was the fifteenth in the festival’s history, and we had the pleasure of performing on two occasions in the past. This year saw us take full responsibility for the weekend, from the programme and artists to tea and cake.
Building on the existing format of three weekend evening concerts, we included a family concert on the Saturday morning which was the culmination of a short education project in local primary schools – more about that tomorrow! We also invited the dynamic Ensemble Perpetuo to perform at the YAA centre, a short walk west of St. Saviour’s, and had an extraordinary late-night solo violin recital from Fenella Humphreys at the Waterway Restaurant (below), a very short walk from the church. Fenella brought us the London première of one of the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s last works.
The main evening concerts featured such thrills as a brand new festival opening piece by Toby Young (played by us, the Berkeley Ensemble, alongside Beethoven’s Septet and Ferguson’s Octet, one of our favourite works to perform and available on our debut album), a fascinatingly eclectic programme of songs with Anna Huntley and Nicholas Merryweather accompanied by Libby Burgess, and Adrian Brendel and Christopher Glynn joining the Berkeley Ensemble for Schubert and Mozart respectively, as well as giving the London première of one of Michael Berkeley’s latest compositions.
A huge amount of work went into making this weekend happen and we are hugely grateful to the many people who helped us in different ways. As this was our first time organising anything on this scale, we were unsure of what to expect in the way of audience numbers. We were pleasantly surprised to find the audience more than doubled compared with last year’s festival. The feedback has been extremely encouraging and we look forward to many more music-packed in Little Venice in the years to come.