Chester music lovers 'engaging with incredible festival'


Steve Creswell

TICKET sales have soared as the MBNA Chester Music Festival enters its second week.

The city’s town hall and cathedral are showcasing a world-class programme of chamber recitals and orchestral concerts.

The festival, which is now produced by city arts organisation Chester Performs – the company behind the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and the ESSAR Chester Literature Festival – has gone from strength to strength since its reincarnation last summer.

Andrew Bentley, chief executive at Chester Performs, said: “We’re delighted with the success of the festival so far. Ticket sales have exceeded expectations with many concerts selling out. The added intimacy of the ‘in the round’ setting in the town hall means that each concert is a truly personal and intimate experience and audiences are able to engage with the incredible music and our talented musicians like never before.”

The festival’s very own chamber ensemble, Ensemble Deva, are at the heart of the fortnight-long event.

The world-class group features some of Europe’s most gifted musicians and includes soloists and section leaders from the North West’s best-loved orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Hallé and Manchester Camerata.

Led by the charismatic violinist Giovanni Guzzo, the ensemble perform in and programme most of the festival’s 25 events, including last Sunday night’s sellout Gran Caffe Venezia.

Mr Guzzo said: “The Gran Caffe Concert was a real highlight for me. The intimate and informal setting, the opportunity to perform alongside such esteemed musicians, and the chance to programme and perform our favourite music made the concert a truly amazing experience.”

The festival has been marking two important milestones this year: the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the 150th birthday of the composer Richard Strauss.

For information on the line-up and to book tickets visit www.chestermusic

See full story in the Chester Leader

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