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Bollington Arts Centre programme


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Resident groups
Calendar of events

04/04/14 events

Bolly Comedy Club
8:00 PM


05/04/14 events

The Pleyel Ensemble
8:00 PM


06/04/14 events

In the Gallery...
2:00 PM


07/04/14 events

Great Shakes
10:00 AM


13/04/14 events

In the Gallery...
2:00 PM

Second Sunday Folk Club
8:00 PM


20/04/14 events

In the Gallery...
2:00 PM


26/04/14 events


27/04/14 events

In the Gallery...
2:00 PM

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05 06 07 08 09 10 11
April 2014
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Bollington Chamber Concerts

Bollington Chamber Concerts

With superb musical interpretations and an unparalleled listening environment, Bollington Chamber Concerts offer the perfect introduction to the most rewarding repertoires.

We are very privileged in Bollington to see mainly young string quartets and other ensembles at the start of their promising careers. They astonish us with virtuosity and insight that belies their tender years. Many are trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, a conservatoire with an enviable reputation. While occasionally one hears (elsewhere!) long-established quartets going through the motions with long-familiar repertoires, our visitors always have a fresh insight that carries the audience along on their voyage of discovery.

Many people consider chamber music to be a difficult genre, and in many ways it is. It requires huge concentration from both performers and listeners, and the string quartet is generally regarded as the hardest genre for both. A further feature of the Bollington Concerts is that they almost always contain a modern or unfamiliar work. But far from being off-putting, these are often a hit with a receptive and open minded audience.

Performers love their visits to Bollington. They are warmly welcomed, well fed (menus and recipe books on sale in the foyer!), and their performances are received with discernment and delight. They often have a few informal and enlightening words to say about the music, and they rave about the warmth of the acoustic and the audience. Eager to return, the only mitigation against this is that all too quickly, they become very successful and too expensive. Luckily, a new generation of equally talented young musicians are always waiting to step into their shoes.

Those of you who have never been to a chamber concert or who think this music may not be for you, give it a try. You won’t find a more friendly welcome or a better standard of performance anywhere, and you may find yourself revelling in this amazing genre of music.

To find out more about the Bollington chamber concerts, please browse the Bollington Arts Centre Events listing.


Special pricing for multiple bookings

£60.00 for five concerts ( a saving of £15, the price of a single ticket- 5 tickets for the price of four!)
£55.00 for four concerts

Concessionary price, students and claimants of means-tested benefits

£35.00 for five concerts
£28.00 for four concerts

For more information please telephone 01625 576402 or 01625 574435 or email




2013-2014 Season Bollington Arts Centre at 8p.m.


Saturday September 28th 2013 -The Erringden Ensemble:Brahms string sextets nos. 1&2.


Saturday November 23rd 2013 - The Jubilee Quartet : Haydn, Mendelsshon, Mozart.


Saturday February 1st. 2014 - Bartosz Woroch, Violin , Sam Armstrong, Piano ; Poulenc, Beethoven,R.Strauss.


Saturday March 1st. 2014 - The Zelkova String Quartet : Haydn, Pavel Fischer, Janacek.


Saturday April 5th 2014 - The Pleyel Ensemble : Piano trios by Beethoven, Mathias and Brahms.




The new season 2013/14


This season is special in several ways and a glance at the programme will demonstrate what I mean.


We have never had a sextet to play for us before – though the Mendelssohn Octet was performed in February 2009 to celebrate Mendelssohn’s bicentenary – and we are delighted that the Erringden Ensemble is playing both Brahms’ sextets on September 28th.

Many of you will remember Helen Thatcher - a founder member of the Sorrel Quartet who played for us many times before they all went their separate ways.


Helen has got together five other playing companions : Paul Barritt, Sarah Brandwood – Spencer, violins, David Aspin and Louise Williams, the viola players, and Chris Hoyle the cellist who will play alongside Helen. This will be a really wonderful as well as rare concert, so do take the opportunity to be there to experience it.


In November the Jubilee Quartet will pay their first visit to Bollington and that too will provide us with a memorable musical evening. I heard them play last summer in Blackwood, the fabulous house built for a Manchester brewer overlooking Windermere, as part of the Lake District Summer Festival and their performance is living in my memory twelve months later.


In 2014 there’s another “first” in our concert history when on February 1st Bartosz Woroch, a Polish violinist will play three sonatas, by Poulenc, Beethoven (the Kreutzer) and Richard Strauss.  Bartosz will be accompanied by Sam Armstrong, a young pianist who already, like Bartosz, has a formidable reputation as a fine musician.


One month later the Zelkova Quartet will come to play Haydn and Janacek plus a piece by Pavel Fischer a Czech violinist who used to lead the Skampa Quartet. The Zelkova was named as RNCM chamber ensemble of 2012 and despite being very young and just at the start of their professional careers have a really impressive sound and insight into the demands of the music.


The last concert on April 5th is by three locally – based musicians. Ben Holland has led orchestras accompanying the Festival Choir on many occasions and has a very busy career including a place in the Pleyel Ensemble.  He will be joined by Heather Bills a very fine cellist and Harvey Davies a staff pianist and fellow in historical performance at the RNCM. Together they will play piano trios by Beethoven, William Mathias and Brahms.


So, a sextet, two quartets new to us, a violinist and pianist forging a musical career with great success and a piano trio of exceptionally talented musicians who live “on our doorstep” and who have given me great pleasure  when listening to them in their concert series in Manchester and Alderley.


Join us then for five outstanding concerts in the friendly, acoustically brilliant setting of Bollington Arts Centre and perhaps discover for the first time how vibrant, even mind-blowing, live music can be.




Bollington Chamber Concerts: Review of the Jubilee Quartet 23.11.13

            It is always a pleasure at the Bollington Arts Centre to welcome to the yearly season of chamber concerts a quartet whom we have not heard before and whose quality is being recognised by established musicians and judges in the world of music.

            Such an ensemble is the Jubilee Quartet, four young ladies from the Royal Academy in London who have already made their mark by winning first prize in International Competitions and by receiving awards of Fellowships at the Academy and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in the last few years. They are indeed gifted musicians, with that extra something which gives a distinguishing element to their performance.

            In choosing Haydn, Mendelssohn and Mozart, they faced a testing programme. Haydn's Quartet in C, op.54 No.2 perhaps needed a little more verve from them in the opening movement, but in the movements that followed, their inspiration and quality opened up into a most expressive account of the Adagio. If the first violin took the lead in its rich adornment, the support of the other instruments was no less fine. An atmosphere of quiet rapture emerged as the movement went on. They attacked the Menuetto with spirited precision and came to the Finale where they were well up to the unpredictable invention of Haydn's darting mind: good humour, melodic, now fast, now slow - it was all there for the players to enjoy and for the audience to be pleased.

            Mendelssohn's Quartet in F minor, Op. 80 followed this. Here they opened up the current of nervous intensity that charges all through the piece. The Allegro and the Scherzo had an amazing attack by all four players, which was instantly dropped in the Adagio. Here they couched the gentle, tender beginning with increasing tension as the emotion became more pressing and forceful. The final Allegro returned to the powerful drive of the first movement, though it included one or two passages of delicate feather work. It was a very robust and dynamic conclusion. This quartet was well played all through. It was exciting to hear, even though the private tragedy of Mendelssohn's loss on the sudden death of a beloved sister was the motive force behind it.

            Finally they came to Mozart quartet no.15 in D minor, K421. As always, Mozart's music tests any musician or singer, and especially this particular work. The Jubilee did very well here. They played without exaggeration or mannerisms, showing an exactitude in ensemble and timing that was very satisfying. The Andante was just that - the music allowed to speak for itself. The first violin was again in the foreground in this quartet, especially in the Allegretto, with the viola prominent as well. Both were extremely eloquent. The variations came across in fine control and the phrasing was beautiful. The pace and changing rhythms were excellent throughout and their quiet ending brought the work to a feeling of steady calm at the end.

            This writer has been informed that this Jubilee Quartet has been chosen by the renowned Belcea Quartet as one of only three quartets for further study with them. The Belcea came to Bollington early in their career and gave an unforgettable concert before rising to a status - as Polonius would say - out of our stars. If this is to happen, then the quality of that distinguishing element will be fully explored, to the benefit of their audience and to music.

Joan Houlihan


Review of the concert by Bartosz Woroch and Sam Armstrong

Bollington Chamber Concerts 1st. February 2014

This recital was superb. From the first movement it was clear that just the quality of the sound alone signalled that something special was happening. Beyond this initial impact came the degree of artistry and inspiration immanent in these two young players whose separate careers have lifted them already to solo concert performances in the most important venues in the world of music. The Polish violinist Bartosz Woroch and the pianist Sam Armstrong were giving a concert of piano sonatas by Poulenc, Richard Strauss and Beethoven, Woroch playing on a Guarneri and Armstrong on a Fuerich piano (courtesy of Shackleford Pianos, Macclesfield - the sole suppliers in the U.K. of these excellent pianos.)

It was Beethoven who in composing the ‘Kreutzer’ sonata entitled it ‘for piano and violin’ and not ‘for violin and piano’ and thereby gave equal responsibility to both instruments. Before this, the piano was usually an accompanist only. This element of balance was vividly apparent in the whole performance and created a very satisfying awareness of the structure of the music. The piano did not take command and overpower the lovely voice of the Guarneri: Armstrong lifted the notes from the score with a style so clean and transparent that is revealed a clear definition of its own voice in all the sonatas but without aggression. The Guarneri in the hands of Woroch brought its own unique beauty and eloquence to the voice of the violin. Thus each had the measure of the other, and each was sensitive to the other. This relationship was very pleasing indeed. The degree of their technique and judgement was of the highest quality throughout.

In the Poulenc Opus 119 the cool clarity of the piano contrasted well with the more disturbed emotion of the violin as the sonata moved from lyrical, quiet passages to darker intensity of theme The programme note referred to the ‘furious fiddling’ required of the violin, but the extreme range of expression in both instruments integrated with ease.

The Richard Strauss Opus 18 required technique and judgement of the highest quality: and with that, the capacity to fulfil all the elements so characteristic of this composer. The amplitude and bravura of the opening statement onward to lyrical passages, all calm and poised, and the tumultuous sweep throughout needed each player to have the capacity of a virtuoso. The account given by these two musicians was brilliant. The violin rose to Grand Opera and the piano had the expanse of a full orchestra. The effect of this expressive playing was stunning. The audience went into the interval full of wonder – and the need to recover.

The final sonata, the ‘Kreutzer’ of Beethoven had the two players exposed to one of the greatest works in the sonata repertoire. Music critics class this piece as ‘fiendishly difficult’ for both instruments, with the piano ‘given more weight’. The first movement was a tour de force. The passion, conflict and depth was all there, inspiring the players from moment to moment.: and in the Andante, the variations took over and spoke for themselves, order and grace, giving way eventually to the vigour of the final Presto.  A great account of this exacting work.

And so, the audience came to the end marvelling at the wonderful music and the justice done to it by these two young players who showed such virtuosity and musicianship. It was an inspired evening.




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Reservations for tickets can be taken via our website. Start by browsing our Events listing where you'll find all the necessary information about performances, or go straight to our Bookings page to make a reservation.