21 September: Harps in Harmony

ConChordae 94, King Charles the Martyr Church, 3.30 pm, September 21.

What could possibly out-romance a harp? Two harps of course, which is why lovers of this most ethereal of instruments should not miss the chance to hear Tunbridge Wells harpist Ellen Smith joined by internationally acclaimed friends Danielle Perrett (harp) and Michael Grant (clarinet and saxophone). They are ConChordae94.

Tunbridge Wells’ most intimate music venue, the church of King Charles the Martyr, will host an informal afternoon programme for this unusual instrumental combination, including Purcell, Handel, Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock and a premier of Michael's Celtic Concerto.


What's on this autumn

Booking is now open for another great series of concerts, coming up this autumn. It is a privilege to join forces again with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, and the line-up for this series is as impressive as ever.

Tickets for all concerts can be bought online here www.mkctw.ticketsource.co.uk or by emailing us at kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk. Please also email us if you would like to be put on our mailing list to receieve occasional email notices of forthcoming events. Or you can 'follow' this site by email (see right-hand column of this page.)

Dulcinea Quartet
Saturday 13 September, 19:30
The Dulcinea Quartet - a wonderful range music from the string quartet repertoire by this innovative young ensemble. They will beplaying music by Mozart, Glass and Bartok. Buy tickets.

Sunday 21 September, 15:30
Ellen Smith and friends Danielle Perrett and Michael Grant - music for not one but two harps, with the added spice of saxophone and voice. Theirs is an entertaining programme for a Sunday afternoon, including music by Purcell, Handel and Schubert and some new folk song arrangements for this unusual combination. Buy tickets.

Schubert Ensemble
Thursday 16 October, 19:30
The Schubert Ensemble return to King Charles after a triumphant performance two year ago. This top international group play with huge enjoyment and skill, and are not to be missed. Their programme includes Dvorak's 2nd Quartet and the much-loved Brahms Piano Quintet. Buy tickets.

Thursday 23 October, 1930
Michael Collins has been described as the world's greatest living clarinettist. He is brought to King Charles thanks to our partnership with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival. Programme to be announced. Buy tickets.

Saturday 1 November, 19:30
The RPO Soloists - more internationally-acclaimed players take the stage, as we present the RPO Soloists; six principal members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra taking time out to enjoy some chamber music. This promises to be a tremendous evening. Their programme includes Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence. Buy tickets.

Saturday 8 November, 19:30
The King's Violin - the climax of our series this year is a very special concert indeed for Tunbridge Wells, featuring the last surviving violin from Charles II's court orchestra. This historic instrument will be played by Margaret Faultless, as we reflect some of the music that might have been played on the King's visits to the Wells in 1663. With Baroque specialists Kate Semmens (soprano), Robin Jeffrey (lute) and Steven Devine (harpsichord). Buy tickets.

Saturday 13 December, 18:30
Christmas concert with the King Charles Singers and the Pentagon string ensemble. We present a family concert of carols and entertaining arrangements of seasonal favourites. Buy tickets.

We'll be posting more details nearer the time.


La Récréation de Musique, and 1764

Our concert on Saturday 14 June commemorates the 250th anniversary of the death of two French composers, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Jean-Marie Leclair. It's given by the exciting Baroque group "Follia", led by harpsichordist Yeo Yat Soon, who was brought up in Tunbridge Wells.

To book tickets at the discounted price of just £10, click here http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/109190.

It was on or about 23 October 1764, in Paris, that the renowned violinist and composer Leclair was found mysteriously murdered, at the age of 67. Six weeks earlier, Rameau has died of a fever. And among the other deaths in Paris that year were those of Madeam de Pampadour, Louis XV's mistress, described by Voltaire as "a beautiful woman, in the midst of a splendid career", and the Parisian poet Pierre Charles Roy, who had made an enemy of Rameau by writing a critical poem about him.

In the same year, Voltaire published bu Philosophical Dictionary, and Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto. Mozart visited Bach's youngest son, Johann Christaian, in London. Haydn, by then vice-kappellmeister for the Esterházy family, composed his 22nd symphony. Gluck wrote his most successful comic opera La rencontre imprévu in Vienna, a few years before moving to Paris for a while. And in Rome, Edward Gibbon was deciding to write a long book.

It may seem strange now, but in 18th century Paris music and what constituted 'good taste' were the subjects of enormous controversy and national argument, involving kings, philosophers, poets and musical theorists. Perhaps little of this is evident from the music itself in isolation, but I am sure that the music of the time will be brought to life in this concert, fresh as the day it was first heard. 


Concerts for Spring 2014

As ever, there is a great variety of high-quality music on offer at King Charles in 2014.

Coming up, the church is hosting an event organised by Ken Aiso as part of his "Soundness Festival", and we look forward to an autumn packed with talent.

Tuesday 22 April, 19:30
Nana Mzhavanadze (voice), Martin Fogel (guitar), Ken Aiso (violin) present Baroque music, and traditional songs from Scotland and Georgia. See Soundness Festival.

Saturday 26 April, 19:30
The Pentagon String Ensemble: music by Mozart and Haydn, and the Arensky Quartet for Violin, Viola and 2 Cellos.

Saturday 14 June, 19:30
Récréation de Musique: music by Rameau, Leclair, Forqueray and Telemann performed by Follia: William Summers, Baroque Flute; Diane Moore, Baroque Violin; Ibrahim Aziz, Viola da Gamba; Yeo Yat-Soon, Harpsichord.

Looking further ahead, in June Matchbox Opera will be putting on The Marriage of Figaro in the church. And then plans are nearly finalised for concerts in the autumn including a harp extravaganza, members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, another welcome collaboration with the Tunbridge Wells Interntional Music Festival, and a unique event featuring the last surviving violin from King Charles II's court orchestra, to be played by none other than the wonderful Baroque violinist, Margaret Faultless.


Récréation de Musique

Récréation de Musique: Music from 18th Century Paris by Rameau, Leclair, Forqueray and Telemann.
Saturday 14 June, 7:30pm

This concert by Baroque group Follia commemorates the 250th anniversary of the deaths of Jean-Philippe Rameau and Jean-Marie Leclair.

William Summers: Baroque Flute
Diane Moore: Baroque Violin
Ibrahim Aziz: Viola da Gamba
Yeo Yat-Soon: Harpsichord

Tickets: £12.50 (£10 in advance) available by emailing kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk or online via

FOLLIA is a baroque ensemble with a flexible combination of instrumental and/or vocal musicians as appropriate to the repertoire being performed. It is made up of experienced specialists in their respective fields. Programmes are based on specific themes drawing on the fascinating links between the music of each period and the historical context of contemporary thoughts, events and developments in the other arts. The music performed ranges from the early 17th century to the late 18th century.

Yeo Yat-Soon studied at King’s College London and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won the prestigious Raymond Russell Prize for Harpsichord. Yat-Soon has specialised in baroque opera and has conducted major productions for London Baroque Opera, the City of London Festival and Opéra de Baugé. Yat-Soon works widely as a harpsichordist, performing regularly at the South Bank, Handel House Museum and the Philharmonie in Berlin. He is a member of Follia, The Lovekyn Consort and the Berlin-based Camerata Berolinensis and has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. Yat-Soon also has a long association with education, having been Director of Music at The Lady Eleanor Holles School and St Paul’s Girls’ School, during which time he conducted orchestras of national repute which toured China and the USA and broadcast for BBC and Channel 4 television.


Pentagon Ensemble 26 April

Saturday 26 April, 7:30pm

Mozart: Divertimento No 4 in D
Martinu: Duo No 1 for Violin and Cello
Bridge: Three Idylls
Haydn: Duo for 2 cellos
Arensky: Quartet for violin, viola and 2 cellos

This tremendous programme is presented by the Pentagon String Ensemble, a flexible string group consisting of players who have performed together for many years. This is their second visit to King Charles.

TICKETS: £12.50 on the door, £10 in advance email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk (no charge for under-18s)

Individually the members have performed as Principal players with orchestras including London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Halle Orchestra and Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra.

As chamber musicians they have collaborated with such artists as Alfred Brendel, Thomas Zehetmair, Ruth Killius, Heinz Holliger, Christian Zacharias, the Soloists of the Philharmonia and the Soloists of the LPO. Previous programmes have consisted of performances from solo repertoire through to String Sextets and they can collaborate with colleagues of the highest calibre to perform larger works or repertoire with piano.


Polychoral masterpieces by Bach, Schutz and Schein

The Temenos Chamber Choir, with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, present Polychoral masterpieces by Bach, Schutz and Schein, directed by Charles Vignoles.

Saturday 1st March 2014, 7:30pm

Following the huge success of their Gabrieli concert in 2012, Temenos and the superb English Cornett and Sackbut ensemble join forces once again to perform double choir masterpieces by Baroque genius Heinrich Schutz. The extraordinary 14-voice motet 'Saul, Saul' and the moving 'Nunc Dimittis' from the 'Deutsches Exequien' are perfectly suited to the lovely galleried interior of the church. At the heart of the programme will be Bach's majestic motet 'Komm Jesu, Komm'.

Tickets: £12.50 (£6 students) from 01959 523765, or visit Hall's Bookshop, or Sevenoaks Bookshop



Series finale 2013

Sunday 24 November 5:30pm
King Charles' organist Michael Bacon ends his journey through the complete Bach organ music - over 300 pieces - with a short recital including the great Passacaglia in C minor.
This is a short recital of around 35 minutes.
Free admission: retiring collection towards the new fund for renovation of the church's Walker organ

Read on

See details of other concerts we have presented this series here

Information about concerts in 2014 will be available soon!


Photos and programme from 26 Oct

Click here to download programme notes from the Stravinsky / Messiaen concert on 26 October

Many thanks to all the performers for a thrilling evening!

"It was wonderful to play the Messiaen in such a special setting, with such an attentive audience" (Tim Gill, cellist)

Audience comments: "Absolutely fantastic concert. Still buzzing from it all"; "we felt privileged to be able to attend such a performance, literally down the road from where we live"; "the best yet at King Charles, and so moving".