City of Newcastle gets its first EVER piano festival

14 August 2023
By Ellie Palmer
The Newcastle Piano Festival will take place from Fri 29 Sept - Sunday 1 Oct at Newcastle's Jesmond United Reformed Church. Watch the official trailer below


Newcastle is set to host its first ever piano festival this Autumn!

The three-day long festival features live piano music combined with candlelight, Yoga, listening lying down and poetry plus a free “Meet the Piano” event so people can play the festival piano and have their questions answered by a group of friendly concert pianists.

The Piano Festival has chosen to highlight women pianists for its inaugural year. They say they want to "make space by providing a platform for female concert pianists and to inspire the next generation of musicians". The headline performer at the festival will be former BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist Sarah Beth Briggs, who will be playing four pieces by Clara Schumann. 

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Other pianists set to perform include Annie Ball, Ieva Dubova, Alison Gill, Yoshie Kawamura and Victoria Robinson and Luca Rutherford.

Festival Director Annie Ball comments, "It has been a dream of mine for years to produce a piano festival in Newcastle since there is such a thriving classical music and piano community here with many amateur orchestras and piano groups. As I was researching similar festivals I was alarmed at the gender imbalance and as I dug deeper into statistics I saw there was an urgent need to redress the balance and so made the decision to create a management team of women (myself and Victoria Robinson) with the help of Semibreve CIC directors who produce their own festivals (Wylam Winter Tales and the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival) and only book female concert pianists to provide the platform, empowering and inspiring our future pianists."

Indeed, while women in classical music is generally on the up, there is still a long way to go. Just last year, the top five orchestras in the world played just 5% of music written by women. The Newcastle Piano Festival hopes to start commissioning female composers in the coming years.

Tickets and more information can be found here.