A world-renowned early music group will transform itself into an imaginary gypsy band at a top festival.
The Red Priest quartet will relive the wild virtuosity of early Baroque masters when they star at the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral at 7.30pm on Friday, September 22.
Their return visit to the festival will see them take the audience on an extraordinary musical journey – all in their own inimitable high-octane style.
The festival, which starts on Saturday, September 16, and ends on Saturday, September 30, is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Tŷ Cerdd and the Colwinston Charitable Trust.
Among the other stars of the festival will be singers from Welsh National Opera with the festival community chorus, vocal group VOCES8, Italian pianist Federico Colli, composer Robat Arwyn, tenor Rhys Meirion, resident orchestra NEW Sinfonia, Ensemble Cymru, the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, violinist Ye-Eun Choi and the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet.
Formed in 1997 and named after the flame-haired priest, Antonio Vivaldi, Red Priest comprises of recorder player Piers Adams, violinist Adam Summerhayes, cellist Angela East and harpsichordist David Wright.
Piers Adams, an original founding member of the group, explained band members were looking for new ideas and turned to early East European Gypsy music at the suggestion of the newest member of the group, violinist Adam Summerhayes.
Adams said: “What we have always done is bring lots of new ideas together and blend them. Adam is a multi-talented violinist and one of his big skills is early Gypsy music. It’s an incredible sound which we decided we would record for our seventh album, Baroque Bohemians.
“It’s based around traditional Gypsy dance music from 1730 onwards but we have incorporated our own ideas into the music which is something we have always experimented with.”
Adams says their interpretation of early music and their theatrical performances means their audiences tend to be a real mix of older classical music lovers and a younger element that are looking for something a little bit different.
He said: “Traditionally classical music concerts seem to attract an older audience but we deliberately try to aim our performances so we attract a younger audience too.
“We are so looking forward to making a return visit to the North Wales International Music Festival, our Gypsy Baroque Fantasy will really deliver something new for anyone who enjoys early music.
“It’s going to be great evening and we are looking forward to meeting the North Wales audience once again.”
Ann Atkinson, the festival’s artistic director, said: “Their programme includes work by Telemann, Castello, Biber, Van Eyck, Handel and Vivaldi as well as some traditional works, the composers of which have been lost in the mists of time.
“The concert is going to be a real joy and one not to be missed.”
The theme of this year’s festival is Journeys and Ann Atkinson says some of the other performers will also deliver some remarkable performances.
She said: “We have the amazing South Korean violinist Ye-Eun Choi, who has also performed with some of the world’s very best orchestras, playing a concert with our resident NEW Sinfonia orchestra.
“Ye-Eun Choi’s journey from East to West in pursuit of violin excellence is a remarkable story in its own right and she will perform during what will be a wonderful and magical evening of classical music.
“We also have world class classical guitarists The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, who will be performing a concert of music from around the world as well as concerts featuring Welsh National Opera soloists, a cappella group VOCES8 and Italian concert pianist Federico Colli, who will perform alongside NEW Sinfonia.
“It’s going to be a truly wonderful and amazing festival. The programme this year is so varied and there really is something there for everyone.
“I really would encourage lovers of classical music to visit our website and get tickets as soon as they can for what is going to be an amazing and joyful festival of music.”
To find out more about the North Wales International Music Festival please visit www.nwimf.com. Tickets are available online and from Theatr Clwyd on 01352 701521 or Cathedral Frames in St Asaph on 01745 582929.