Festival concerts - 16 and 23 October

In partnership with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, we are delighted to present:

Thursday 16 October, 7:30pm
The Schubert Ensemble
Works by Schubert, Dvorak and Brahms played by this wonderful, internationally acclaimed group who were such a hit with our audience a couple of years ago.
Booking information

Thursday 23 October, 7:30pm
Michael Collins (clarinet), fresh from his tour of Asia and Australia’s great concert halls, accompanied by pianist Nigel Clayton.  Michael and Nigel will play works by Poulenc, Saint-Saens, Finzi, Arvo Part and others in what promises to be a fabulous musical tour de force.
Booking information

There is much more on at the Festival, which culminates in our concert on 1 November with the Soloists of the RPO. See the full schedule at the Festival's own website here.


RPO Soloists - 1 November

Don't miss this chance to hear six principal members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra present three Romantic masterpieces for strings:
Strauss: Capriccio
Brahms: B Flat Sextet
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence

Saturday 1st November at 7:30pm
Booking information

Tchaikovsky's Opus 70 sextet is one of his latest works, and is deeply expressive. It originated from a theme jotted down in Florence, but the disinctly Russian melodies of its latter movements make its Italian genesis something of a distant memory.

This concert is presented in partnership with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival.


The King's Violin - 8 November

Court music in England, 1630-1700, with Margaret Faultless (violin), Kate Semmens (soprano), Robin Jeffrey (lute), Steven Devine (spinet/harpsichord)

Saturday 8 November 2014, 7:30pm
Booking information

This concert will be attended by the Mayor, Cllr Julian Stanyer and Mayoress, Mrs Anne Stanyer.

Two years after his coronation in 1661, King Charles II paid a visit to the restorative spa of Tunbridge Wells, staying locally with his court. It is known and documented that he brought with him his band of musicians who will have provided both private and public entertainment. The violin - pictured - which is known to be the last surviving instrument that was played in his violin band makes a guest appearance in tonight’s concert.

Before the civil war, musicians had been in regular employment through the court of the King. When the revolution came, most of the King’s musicians went into private teaching, or employment in noble men’s houses, although some were conscripted and died in battle. At the restoration of the Monarchy, King Charles II re-gathered his musicians, and music once again thrived.

The King’s musicians then consisted of those who had played in the court of Charles I, and also new musicians who were emerging at that time. This concert features composers that were important in the King’s court both before the time of the Restoration, and also resulting from the Restoration. It looks at the kind of music that is likely to have been played for the king during his visit to Tunbridge Wells, and also looks forward to the music making that developed out of this period of change.


Music @ Malling

Music at King Charles is friends with other music societies in Kent also working to promote the highest standard of classical music for local audiences.

Take a look at our friends in Music@Malling http://musicatmalling.com/current-festival.php, which opens this week. Looks like a great programme!


21 September: Harps in Harmony

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

Updated 18th September: Tunbridge Wells harpist Ellen Smith will be joined by Michael Grant (clarinet and saxophone), and pianist Paul Clark for an entertaining afternoon's concert. 

Their varied programme has a wide appeal, and provides a rare opportunity to hear the most ethereal of instruments, with music by Purcell and Handel, and Schubert’s evocative Shepherd on the Rock.

With great regret, harpist Danielle Perrett has had to withdraw from our concert owing to completely unforeseen circumstances that make it impossible for her to be with us, and despite great efforts to overcome an impossible situation. We send her our very warmest wishes. Music at King Charles is enormously grateful to Ellen and Michael for adapting their programme (largely unchanged), and to Paul for stepping in, to present what will be a wonderful concert despite this setback.


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 (note earlier time)
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.