Message from the Artistic Director
Welcome to the 2013 Harwich Festival of the Arts.
Our wonderful town of Harwich lies at the very edge of the land. Almost in the North Sea, we find that our vision looks seawards as well as landwards giving us a sense of freedom and a permission to explore. ‘Edge’ features strongly in our exhibition at the Mermaid this year and a feeling of juxtaposing different edges and presenting things in a fresh context lies behind much of this year’s planning.
First of all you will meet a grand piano in the sea. Celebrated New York-based sound artist and composer Annea Lockwood brings her ‘Beached Piano’ installation to Harwich. The Festival opens around it on Wednesday June 26th. Afterwards, Brass Volcanoes – so popular at last year’s festival – will lead us to the Quay and the Mermaid for the opening of the art exhibition and following this, all the other little galleries in the town will throw open their doors to the public. A feast of art and music for everyone.
We are delighted to welcome two visiting groups of stunning young musicians to the festival. Konservatorietspigekor, a girls’ choir from Esbjerg, will perform a concert of music from all over the world and the Yehudi Menuhin School Orchestra will play a programme of glorious string pieces before setting off on a tour of Europe. Our own young musicians, children from the local schools, will give us a staged performance of ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ – a fun and tuneful evening in St. Nicholas’ Church.
Besides our always popular series of lunchtime, afternoon and evening concerts, look out for five events in the Electric Palace. One of these is this year’s festival commission, an experimental film and music work called ‘Heroes’ by innovative polymath Anton Lukoszevieze. We are also delighted that the celebrated director Tony Palmer has agreed to show his new film on Britten, give a talk on it and answer questions. Look out too for The Great Big Brass Band Food and Drink Festival, an all-day event at the Redoubt with three bands, locally produced food and ale, culminating in a massed bands performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with fireworks. And be sure not to miss the community performance of Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’ in which you are invited to take part. If you’ve always wanted to tread the boards, this is your chance!
Early music combined with jazz improvisation, contemporary dance mixed in with the sound of a folk-band, the piano in the sea, a pianola in the Electric Palace, some ‘Outrageous Performers’ on board the LV18 Lightship, a euphonium quartet in the back room of the Alma…..all this and much, much more.
I hope you will find that this year’s festival is fresh, colourful and surprising, and, as ever, celebrates the best of our local talent as well as those who are internationally known.
Diana Burrell – Artistic Director