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Arts & Entertainment

The Queen is coming to Marlborough

Helen Mirren is The QueenHelen Mirren is The QueenThe Queen is coming to Marlborough, as Kennet Valley Arts Trust prepares to bring world class live theatre to the Town Hall, via the magic of the big screen.

On Thursday, May 16, Marlborough Downs Live will stream This House, by James Graham, live from the National Theatre, followed by The Audience, broadcast from the Gielgud Theate in the West End, starring Helen Mirren, on Thursday, June 13.

Jo Del Mar, of Kennet Valley Arts Trust, explained: “The idea to live screen theatre, opera and ballet was initiated by KVAT looking to develop its current film audience  and provide an alternative cultural offering.

“We hope people will attend and show support for what KVAT is providing for Marlborough.

“The longer term plan is to provide a cinema in Marlborough and with evidence  that audience numbers are increasing for film and live screening, KVAT can prove a need for a cinema.”

Full event details can be found on our What's On calendar.


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Singing sensation takes another step towards stardom

Rachel AllderRachel AllderTeenage singing sensation Rachel Allder has taken another step towards performing onstage at the 02 Arena in London, in a competition which aims to find Britain's next big music star.

Rachel (13), who performs under the name Rea, flew through the regional finals of the Teen Star competition at Fareham last Saturday, with a self-arranged acoustic version of the dance anthem Titanium by vocalist Sia and producer David Guetta, which reached number 1 in the charts in 2011.

The St John's schoolgirl will now compete at the regional final at the Guildhall Theatre in Portsmouth on Saturday, May 18.

And success on the south coast will win Rachel, who lives in Burbage, a place in the final at the 20,000-capacity 02 Arena in London in front of a judging panel made up of big names from the music industry.

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Second Marlborough series of Brilliant Young Pianists goes international

Photo: Rainer KoehlPhoto: Rainer KoehlAt the age of five she was accepted at Moscow’s renowned Gnessin School of Music. In November the young Russian pianist Anna Zassimova will be playing at St Peter’s Church, Marlborough in the second series of Brilliant Young Pianists.  

She will be one of the second series’ virtuoso pianists each of a different nationality and all from the new generation of international recital stars.

Made possible with renewed sponsorship by Oare businessman Robert Hiscox and Hiscox Insurance, the series will present four young pianists and a recital by Charles Owen who has worked with Dr Nick Maurice to secure these top-flight performers.

Like the first series – which ends on June 30 with a recital by twenty very young Suzuki piano students from London – the second series will be put on by Dr Maurice and David Du Cros of the St Peter’s Trust. The Marlborough Brandt Group and the Peter’s Trust will share the proceeds.

For these recitals St Peter’s holds about 180 people. And it has a Yamaha grand piano that draws praise from performers and audiences alike.  It was reconditioned by Bath Pianos before the first Brilliant Young Pianists series.

The first series has proved very popular – for one concert extra chairs had to be put out, but no one was turned away.  The audience has been drawn from as far away as Guildford.

Leading off the second series on Sunday, September 29 will be the outstanding young Chinese-American pianist Jessica Zhu.  Born in Shanghai, she moved with her family to Texas when she was eleven.  

She made her orchestral debut in 2006 playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 she won warm praise for her Wigmore Hall debut.

She is currently on a Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying under Paul Roberts and Ronan O’Hora. Go to her website to hear Jessica playing.

The second recital in the new series (Sunday, November 10) will be by the young Russian virtuoso Anna Zassimova.  She gave her first public recital aged fourteen and a year later gained the certificate of honour at the 1st Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in Moscow.

She has played with Moscow Philharmonic Society and given solo and chamber music concerts in Minsk, Prague, London and Warsaw.

In 2009 she released a CD of ‘Russian music at the turn of the twentieth century’ under the title ‘Forgotten Melodies’. In 2011 she followed it with her CD featuring a variety of Chopin’s piano music, and last year with a recording of Brahms sonatas for clarinet and piano.

For a preview of this virtuoso pianist you can hear – and watch – Anna playing Chopin’s Polonaise No 1 in C sharp minor Op. 26 in the Baroque splendour of the Kloster library at Bad Schussenreid.

The audience at St Peter’s Church on Sunday, January 26 will hear the young Azerbaijani pianist Gunel Mirzayeva (pictured left). Now aged twenty-six, Gunel was born in Baku, Azerbaijan.  She is based in London.  In 2006 she began her Bachelor of Music studies under Ronan O’Hora at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is now studying there for a Master’s degree.  

Gunel is especially interested in Bach’s keyboard music. She has performed throughout Europe – including performances at the House of Commons and the Barbican Hall.  On her website you can read her repertoire and hear her play.

The next concert (Sunday, March 9) will be a break from the Brilliant Young Pianists, featuring a slightly older brilliant pianist who started out as a young pianist in Marlborough:  Charles Owen.Charles OwenCharles Owen

He was the founder of the St Peter’s Brilliant Young Pianists series and at some time has taught all the pianists in the second series except Anna Zassimova.

Charles first played in Marlborough when he was nineteen.  He is now firmly established as one of Britain’s foremost concert pianists and is Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School.

He wants to give his most brilliant students the chance to perform before the kind of Marlborough audiences he relished when he was starting out as a solo recitalist.

The final recital of the second series (Sunday, May 11) will be given by the South African born pianist Ben Schoeman (pictured left) who is already regarded as one of his country’s foremost pianists. Ben received his Master of Music (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria.

He is now studying for his doctorate at London’s City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Christopher Wiley and Ronan O’Hora. He has played in many of the most prestigious concert halls from Lisbon to Berlin via the Wigmore and Barbican halls.

There is more about him on his website and hear him and cellist Anzél Gerber play Strauss’ Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Major Op 6.

That’s another outstanding musical festival for Marlborough – with five dates for the diary and all of them full of promise.

In our What’s On calendar Marlborough News Online will carry details of the programme for each recital and when tickets go on sale - as soon as they are known

(Click on photos to enlarge them.)

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Car boot sales will keep air ambulance flying

A season of monthly charity car boot sales is returning to Marlborough Common, starting this Sunday (April 21).

All proceeds go towards the Wiltshire Air Ambulance charity appeal.

Last year the Marlborough Supporters of Wiltshire Air Ambulance were able to donate £2,800 to keep the air ambulance flying.

Pitches cost £8 for cars and £10 for vans. Keep an eye on our What's On calendar for forthcoming events.  

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Major London art exhibition to be shown on Marlborough cinema screen

Le Chemin de Fer (The Railroad) by Édouard ManetLe Chemin de Fer (The Railroad) by Édouard ManetArt lovers can see the work of the 19th century painter Édouard Manet – considered the founding father of modern art­ – in Marlborough this month, thanks to the magic of the Town Hall's versatile silver screen. 

The first-ever major show of Manet's work at the Royal Academy of Arts, Portraying Life, opened at the end of January and, due to demand, has been extended until midnight on April 14.

But for fans not lucky enough to get a ticket, there's an opportunity to see the artist's work at Marlborough Town Hall, as the exhibition is brought to the big screen by the Kennet Valey Arts Trust.

The High Definition film of the exhibition, which will be shown on Tuesday, April 11 from 6.30pm and again on Tuesday, April 16 from 1pm, also includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the show’s preparation, interwoven with a superbly crafted biography of Manet and 19th-century Paris.

Tickets cost £13 in advance from, Sound Knowledge or White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough. 

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Record Store Day will be celebrated with film and, of course, music

Graham Jones, author of Last Shop StandingGraham Jones, author of Last Shop StandingThe rise, fall and rebirth of the independent record shop will be charted during a screening of the film Last Shop Standing next week.

There were 2200 independent record shops in the 1980s, by 2009 there were only 269 left.

Last Shop Standing features the likes of Johnny Marr, Paul Weller and Fatboy Slim as it attempts to find out why so many shops have closed – and how those last remaining stores are managing to survive in the age of the digital download.

The documentary – the official film of Record Store Day 2013 – will be shown at Marlborough Town Hall on Wednesday, April 17 as part of wider celebrations by record store Sound Knowledge to mark the occasion.

And meeting music fans to sign copies of the book and DVD, and to answer questions about the documentary, will be Graham Jones, the Chippenham-based Liverpudlian music fan who wrote the 2009 book that inspired the film.

Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £5 from Sound Knowledge, which is located in Hughenden Yard, Marlborough.

Roger Mortimer, owner of Sound Knowledge in his shopRoger Mortimer, owner of Sound Knowledge in his shopSound Knowledge will be opening from 8am on Saturday, April 20 to sate the appetite of vinyl fans – a selection of limited edition records have been pressed to promote the day.

And on Sunday, April 21, from midday, a festival atmosphere will come to Hughenden Yard, with live performances from Nick Harper, Port Erin, Tallulah Rendall, The Suburbians, and Peter & the Mountain. Attendance is free. 

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Lord of the Flies to make its debut as a major musical at the Oxford Playhouse in July

Sir William GoldingSir William GoldingThe Lord of the Flies, the first novel by Nobel prize-winning author Sir William Golding, who grew up in Marlborough, is to become a major musical due to be given its premiere at the Oxford Playhouse in July.

It is a significant and exciting event for admirers of Golding, a pupil at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father was a teacher, since it has immaculate talent behind the Playhouse initiative.

The musical, which calls in students from Magdalen College School in Oxford to play the roles of the boys stranded on an island, is being directed by Adrian Noble, former chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the winner of numerous theatrical awards, receiving some 20 nominations for Olivier awards during his career.

He has also worked for the noted Peter Hall Company, The Manhatten Theatre Club, Kent Opera and directed a productions of Giovanni in a Paris circus tent.

And the music for the production, co-directed by Joanne Pearce, is by the award-winning Irish composer Shaun Davey, who has composed for the concert hall, the stage and TV, his work performed round the world.

His compositions have included the theatre scores for The Lion, The Witch And the Wardrobe, and the TV and film scores for Ballykissangle, The Tailor of Panama, David Copperfield and Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night.

He received the People of the Year award for his contribution to Irish culture, an Ivor Novello Award for his score for The Hanging Gale, and this year was nominated for a Tony award for his music for the hit Broadway version of James Joyce’s The Dead.

The Oxford Playhouse production of Lord of the Flies – the novel about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results was a flop when it was published in 1954 – will run from July 5 to 7.

The novel subsequently twice adapted as a film, in 1963 and 1990, and became an international best seller, chosen by The Times newspaper as third in the list of the greatest British authors since 1945.

And Golding, who lived on The Green, in Marlborough, in his early days – there is a commemorative plaque on his home there – went on to win the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980, was made a Nobel laureate for literature in 1983 and knighted in 1988.

He died in 1993, aged 81.

The Lord of the Flies musical Oxford Playhouse tryout could become a significant West End and international production if it proves a major success.

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