Steinway is on the move for new classical season

La Serenissima.
La Serenissima.

ParkFest preparation is now under way

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Two of Portsmouth’s most precious musical assets will be brought together on a long-term basis from next month.

The Steinway grand piano is making the short move from the Third Floor Arts Centre to the Guildhall, and the Portsmouth Chamber Music concert series is combining the same journey with a switch to Monday evenings.

Colin Jagger, who as director of music at the University of Portsmouth inaugurated the series 10 years ago, says of the move to the Guildhall’s ground-floor Harlequin Room: ‘I am very excited about the prospects.

‘The Guildhall is working hard to build up its classical music offering, and there will be bar facilities during the interval.’

The Steinway’s move is supported by Margaret Roberts, vice-president of Portsmouth Music Festival. She led the 1987 campaign that raised £29,000 in 12 months to buy the instrument for the city.

She has has donated some of her allocated ‘slots’ to the chamber series and the instrument will be used in four of the seven concerts announced for the 2014-15 season, co-promoted by the university and the award-winning Music in the Round.

The Steinway will feature in Dvorak’s Piano Quintet No 2 when regular visitors Ensemble 360 return (October 27), in piano trios by Dvorak and Schubert played by Trio Martinu (February 16); in a full piano recital by Melvyn Tan including music by Chopin and Liszt (April 27); and in a duo recital by star clarinettist Emma Johnson with John Lenehan featuring sonatas by Brahms and Saint-Saens.

Principal string players from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will take part again, opening the season with Dvorak’s Terzetto and String Quintet separated by a novelty item – Rossini’s Duet for cello and double bassoon (September 22).The line-up is completed by period-instrument group La Serenissima (named after Venice and including music by Vivaldi and Albinoni, December 1), and the Benyounes String Quartet (winners of the 2012 International Sandor Vegh Competition in Budapest) playing Haydn, Mendelssohn and Brahms (January 19).

Tickets cost £16 (with concessions including 20 per cent discount for season tickets) and will go on sale in September on 0844 453 9028 (£2.50 postal charge) or in person from the Guildhall (Mondays to Fridays 9am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm). MIKE ALLEN