Our concerts and events from previous years have been so well received that tickets sell fast as soon as they go on sale! In fact, most years the concerts are almost all sold out.
But it’s not just all the fantastic feedback (see 'Quotes' page) from our concert goers that makes it such a special event in our calendar - numerous performers and artistes have complimented us on our lovely village hall, our organisational skills and the warm welcome they receive right from the initial phone call through to the last curtain call.
Here are just some of the concerts that we’ve all enjoyed bringing to our audiences in previous years:-
In 2022 the four concerts were:
The Budapest Café Orchestra - an evening of joie de vivre and awe-inspiring music with the indefatigable Chris Garrick leading this marvellous quartet in an evening inspired by the music of Eastern Europe with plenty of surprises thrown in. The band have been described as “The Hot Club of France via the Orient Express”. “The music is magic in their hands”. Sean Rafferty (BBC Radio 3)
The Complete and Utter History of Jazz (without the boring bits!) - the Jazz Repertory Company presents the follow-up to the highly successful 100 Years of Jazz in 99 Minutes. Once again going back to the beginning of jazz and coming right up to date. The multi-instrumentalist sextet swap instruments around with indecent haste and the band members take it in turns to fill in the short gaps with fascinating facts about the music and musicians who made the music magnificent. It’s hugely fascinating and not to be missed. “Amazingly, PIte's small but perfectly formed ensemble does exactly what it says on the flyer. Their pell-mell virtuosity enables them to cross the decades and vault the stylish hurdles with ease. Genuinely needs to be seen to be believed. Don’t miss out!”. (Peter Vacher (Jazz UK)
Piers Lane - solo piano - London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane has a worldwide reputation as an engaging, searching and highly versatile performer. His programme for Sarratt included some of the classics of the piano
Mozart – Man and Music A portrait in words and music - English Piano Trio and Friends - Mozart composed six magnificent piano trios and two piano quartets. He also wrote letters to family, friends and colleagues. These letters are not only accounts of his work and travels, but also a revelation of an inner world of his joys, worries and emotions. They portray his humour and wit, and make compulsive reading and listening. These readings were woven around movements from the trios and quartets. The English Piano Trio was joined by Susie Meszaros, violist of the world renowned Chilingirian Quartet, and actors Christopher Ravenscroft and Ann Penfold. "The EPT’s programmes are always a joy to listen to, combining insightful readings with superb ensemble playing". (The Times)
In 2019 the festival concerts were: --
The 30 voice Choir of Christchurch College Oxford - Although Christ Church Cathedral Choir is 500 years old, it is justly famous for the youthfulness of its sound and its daring and adventurous musical programming. Unique in the world as both Cathedral and College choir, the intimate acoustic of its musical home, Oxford’s twelfth century Cathedral, has given it a relationship with early sacred music and the rhythm and vigour of contemporary idioms which is second to none.
Virtuoso guitarist Craig Ogden - Australian born guitarist Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting artists of his generation. He studied guitar from the age of seven and percussion from the age of thirteen. In 2004, he became the youngest instrumentalist to receive a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. One of the UK’s most recorded guitarists, his recordings have received wide acclaim. Craig Ogden has performed concertos with many of the world’s leading orchestras.
Chris Garrick, Peter Fisher and friends - The 1970’s saw two giants of the violin world, Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli, join forces for one of the most unlikely, yet memorable and globally successful classical/jazz crossover collaborations of all times. Between the years of 1972 and 1985 they recorded 100 tracks across seven different albums for EMI. It stands undeniably as one of the most enduringly popular cross-over ventures ever in the history of music. The unique and unforgettable partnership of two of the 20th Century’s most celebrated violinists is the major focus for this concert. Sarratt Festival of Music regular, jazz violinist Christian Garrick, returned for this performance of the pieces arranged especially for Menuhin & Grappelli by Nelson Riddle and Max Harris. He was joined by Peter Fisher - a long time associate of Christian’s who masterfully took on the role of maestro Menuhin, accompanied by John Horler, piano, Alec Dankworth, double bass, Tom Hooper, drums.
The final concert was given by John Lill CBE, our Sarratt Festival of Music patron, who closed the Festival with a fabulous concert of solo piano works including Schumann and Beethoven.
In 2018 the concerts were:
Jazz at the Philharmonic with Pete Long and his 9 piece band - a recreation of the legendary concerts featuring the greatest jazz musicians of the day in joyous jam sessions and wildly exciting cutting contests.
Voces8 ‘Sing Joyfully’ - juxtaposing renaissance music with jazz and pop, creating a rare mix of the ethereal and angelic, along with pure foot-tapping fun.
Vertavo String Quartet - internationally regarded as one of today’s most masterful string quartets, the Norwegian Vertavo presented Haydn quartet op.103, Schubert’s mighty ‘Death and the Maiden’ quartet, and finally Dvorak’s joyful piano quintet. In this they were joined by pianist Alasdair Beatson.
Nocturne - The Romantic life of Frederic Chopin, with pianist Lucy Parham and narrators Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul - Lucy Parham’s trail-blazing concerts in which she fuses music and words with the help of some of our most distinguished thespians, have become one of the must-see events on the musical calendar.
Children’s concert - Travelling by Tuba. This dynamic duo made a return visit to the children of Sarratt School during the Festival period.
In 2017 the opening concert on Friday 22nd September was the virtuoso violinist Tasmin Little performing works by Brahms, Arvo Pärt and Beethoven with pianist n Andrey Gugnin (winner of the Sydney International piano competition 2106).
The concert on Saturday 23rd of September featured the Heath String Quartet with pianist Hannes Minnaar in works by Haydn, Schubert and Shostakovich. The Quartet is one of the most exciting British chamber ensembles.
The following Friday 29th September was O Duo, the sparkling and original percussion ensemble playing a highly entertaining programme.
The grand finale on Saturday 30th September was the Budapest Café Orchestra, led by the brilliant violinist Chris Garrick.
Sarratt’s Friday Night is Music Night
with singers Bonaventura Bottone, Jennifer Dakin and Aoife Miskelly. The programme included solos, duets and trios from the operas of Verdi, Mozart and Puccini and lighter numbers from Strauss, Lehar, Gershwin and Gilbert and Sullivan.
“Misbehavin” The life and times of Fats Waller
with the Keith Nichols Band - a celebration of the great master of stride piano who was also a great comic personality and prolific composer of shows and hit songs.
The Nash Ensemble
Internationally acclaimed as one of the finest chamber music groups,
the Ensemble brought a programme of contrasting wind quintet music to Sarratt
which included Neilsens’ wind quintet and works by Debussy and Malcolm Arnold.
Comprising outstanding international performers from classical, world, folk and jazz, Joglaresa has a sound that is at once traditional and contemporary – combining intoxicating elements of Medieval, Middle Eastern and Celtic music, they created a unique sound that was both intimate and extrovert.
The Navarra String Quartet with Chris Richards (clarinet)
The Navarra Quartet has received many awards since its inauguration in 2002 and is internationally recognised as one of the most exciting young quartets today. Chris Richards has a distinguished career as soloist and orchestral player and is currently principal clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Georgina Jackson with the Pete Long Quintet “Peggy, Duke and Benny”
An evening devoted to the music of three jazz greats – Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. A memorable night!
The 10-piece London Brass - trumpets, trombones, French horns and tuba - making a ravishing sound in our Hall. The programme ranged from the 16th to the 20th century and included arrangements of popular classics, as well as Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" and Chick Corea's "Spain".
The Locrian Ensemble “From Russia with love”
The acclaimed Locrian Ensemble (musicians from the score of BBC TV's Wolf Hall) returned to Sarratt with another programme marked by colour and charisma. We were delighted that this concert also included an appearance by Djordje Gajic the world renowned Serbian accordionist. Djordje has won many International Competitions, amongst them Tropheo Mondiale in 1988 and the Grand Prix 1987. He played several works specially composed for accordion. This was a magical evening!
Children’s concert 2015
SFM again organised a musical event at Sarratt School during the Festival period with the London Myriad Ensemble - consisting of 3 windplayers who gave a day of music workshops at the school -- they were a great success and the children loved the day!
In 2014 the concerts were:
The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet
Recognised as one of Britain’s leading chamber music groups, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a dynamic and innovative ensemble known for its extraordinary ensemble in performance, expansive repertoire and ground-breaking work in developing the guitar quartet medium.
In 2014 we were very pleased to welcome our distinguished patron John Lill again. This was a very special year for John who celebrated his 70th birthday. The all Beethoven programme consisted of four of his most famous sonatas – the “Moonlight”, the “Pathetique”, the “Waldstein” and the “Appassionata”. It was absolutely brilliant!
The Vertavo String Quartet
The Vertavo Quartet is internationally recognised as one of the most masterful string quartets playing today. Since their formation in Norway in 1984, their dynamic and deeply thoughtful performances have captivated audiences.
The Hilliard Ensemble
Unrivalled for its formidable reputation in the fields of both early and new music, the Hilliard Ensemble is one of the world’s finest vocal chamber groups.
For the Festival they sang their exquisite “Songbook” programme, a fascinating journey from the Italian Renaissance to the 21st Century.
The Budapest Café Orchestra
Chris Garrick – the Budapest Café Orchestra play powerful and driving folk-based music from Eastern Europe based on the music of European gypsies; a wide-ranging programme of impassioned Hungarian Czardas, tender Russian folk melodies, rollicking dances from Romania and Moldova, bitter sweet Jewish laments.
David Pyatt (French horn) Peter Schoeman (violin) Leon McCawley (piano)
An evening of sublime chamber music, culminating in Brahms’ achingly beautiful Horn Trio. David Pyatt was educated at Watford Grammar School and has carved out a career as one of Britain’s leading horn players.
In 2012 we had:
Paul Lewis (solo piano)
A concert comprising Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” alongside Liszt and Bach.
The Haffner Ensemble
As one of the UK’s leading chamber ensembles, the Haffner Ensemble enjoys an enviable reputation for its skill in juxtaposing classical and contemporary music and in its delivery of outstanding musicianship. At our festival, the Haffner Ensemble was a wind quintet plus piano - the pianist was Charles Owen. Their programme included the Mozart Quintet and the Poulenc Sextet.
“100 Years of Jazz in 99 Minutes” -The Jazz Repertory Company
Interspersed with fascinating stories from the history of Jazz and by the inimitable humour of the band including Pete Long, Richard Pite and Enrico Tomasso - six jazz virtuosi created a highly entertaining journey through the decades of Jazz.
Australian-born Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting and talented guitarists of his generation; he has performed with all the principal UK orchestras plus several world-wide and appears regularly as a soloist and chamber musician at major London venues. At our Festival, Craig performed a range of pieces, both traditional and contemporary, as well as engaging with the audience in a question-and-answer session!
Children’s Events with Travelling by Tuba
As usual, the Festival included special children’s events: “Travelling by Tuba” and the events were held at Sarratt School during the school day; it was open to all Sarratt School pupils, and they thoroughly enjoyed it! The children's comments: "Travelling by Tuba was brilliant. The best instrument was Tuba. It was loud. It was cool. I like the Tuba because it has a high tone. I like the Alpine Horn because it is big."
Emma Johnson and Friends
A former Young Musician of the Year, Emma was joined by another talented musician, cellist Guy Johnson and pianist Leon McCawley, to perform a delightful programme of Brahms, Schumann and Zemlinksy.
On the Danube with Timothy West CBE and the English Piano Trio
In a specially-commissioned piece, Timothy, one of the UK’s finest actors, along with members of the English Piano Trio, presented a highly entertaining (and fictional!) musical diary along the Danube, featuring music by such greats as Schubert, Haydn and Strauss.
Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford
Hailed as “one of the finest choirs on Earth” we were delighted to welcome the world-famous 28 voice choir who performed renowned pieces, from John Taverner to William Walton. A truly unforgettable experience.
Tribute to Benny Goodman
Pete Long, well-known for his accurate and loving recreations of the Benny Goodman sound, led his quartet in a dazzling tribute to one of our jazz greats. It was a fabulous evening for jazz fans and for everyone who enjoys great music played with verve and style.
John Suchet “Beethoven – the Last Master”
John Suchet, well-known broadcaster and author and a life-long fan of Beethoven, accompanied on the piano by Simon Mulligan, held his audience spellbound with a series of fascinating anecdotes about the composer, bringing his music to life.
Classic tangos from Piazzola and others and a chance to see the choreography of real Argentinian tango close up. The dancers were sensational, our audience mesmerised!
“Fanfare” – Family Concert: The Royal Academy of Music Brass Ensemble
A very impressive sound indeed and perfect as a Sunday afternoon treat, James Watson and his players delivered popular classics to astound and impress. It made you want to take up the trumpet.
As brilliant as their name, this percussion duo formed of Claire Hasted and Emily Morris tackled everything from dustbins to goats’ toenails!
The Festival’s patron and world-renowned pianist returned for a second time in 2009 with a programme that included Haydn’s and Beethoven’s last great piano sonatas, as well as works by Chopin and Prokofiev.
For nearly four decades, the Chilingrian String Quartet has thrilled critics and audiences around the world with its vibrant, virtuosic performances of classic and contemporary music. Theirs is a sound that is both powerful and precise.
Claire Martin and her Jazz Musicians
The First Lady of British jazz, has won Best Vocalist at the British Jazz Awards on five separate occasions.