The 2015/16 season saw the Quartet focusing on the works of Jonathan Dove, Graham Fitkin and John McCabe, culminating in CD recordings of all three composers. Their commission with Mark Padmore of Jonathan Dove’s new song cycle In Damascus, with words by Syrian poet Ali Safar, was premiered in Folkestone, Aldeburgh and London. Other highlights of last season included return performances at William Walton’s house in Ischia, Italy, and collaborations with Freddy Kempf, Charles Owen, Roger Chase, Pierre Doumenge, Miloš Karadaglić, Tim Boulton, Simon Rowland-Jones, Garfield Jackson and David Waterman. They also recorded John McCabe’s Horn Quintet, written for them and David Pyatt in 2011.
In Summer 2015 the quartet launched HEARTFELT, their most innovative project to date. A radical re-interpretation of Beethoven’s iconic String Quartet in A minor opus 132, HEARTFELT pushed the boundaries of chamber music through combining sound, light and touch, for a truly unique performance in which audience members connected with each performer’s heartbeat through holding robotic ‘hearts’. Developed in a unique collaboration with robotics designers Rusty Squid and lighting designer Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn, and funded by Arts Council England, HEARTFELT received 4-star reviews from The Guardian and The Independent, and was described by the latter as “a powerful way to experience the visceral physicality of Beethoven’s profound thanksgiving”. www.heartfelt.org.uk
Now in its tenth year, the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival in Folkestone, Kent is an established event in the cultural calendar and is expanding year on year with challenging programming and exciting collaborations.