Audiences cheered and stamped their feet in appreciation at this year’s Whittington Music Festival.

Organisers at the festival have said this year has been the most successful since Covid with sell out crowds revelling in the award-winning classical musicians.

The festival, which took place at various locations over from Thursday (May 16) through until Sunday, was described as a huge success.

One of the organisers of the event Debi Lumley-Edwards said: “This year has been filled with crowd favourites that have had an amazing reaction.

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“On Thursday, Braimah Kanneh-Mason who has played at the proms and at event across the world, performed the finale in Vivaldi’s winter and it just brought the house down.”

Saturday saw a jazz afternoon as well as workshops being offered by the musicians to talented local youngsters.     


The Friday night was a more intimate concert at Whittington Church that was curated by musical director Sophia Rahman.

The pieces were based on the idea of a ‘circle of friends’ with composers who were all friends or family in the 19th Century.

Border Counties Advertizer: Sophia Rahman and cellist Laura Armstrong opened the Friday performanceSophia Rahman and cellist Laura Armstrong opened the Friday performance (Image: Ruairi Walsh)

The night opened with a piece by Robert Schumman played by Sophia and the phenomenally talented young cellist Laura Armstrong who showed her incredible virtuosity in the piece.

This was followed by a solo piano piece by Sophia who played Nocturne in G Minor by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, sister of the famous composer – which was a favourite of Queen Victoria.

Border Counties Advertizer: Violinist, Roman Lytwyniw and cellist, Shakira Segalla-Humbert Violinist, Roman Lytwyniw and cellist, Shakira Segalla-Humbert (Image: Ruairi Walsh)

The first act was then finished off by Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio which was played by Sophia, violinist, Roman Lytwyniw and cellist, Shakira Segalla-Humbert whose outstanding performance seemed to bounce off one another – leading to huge ovation from the crowd seeing them having to take a second bow.

The second act started with Felix Mendelssohn’s song without words a short piece which was exquisitely played by violinist Rosa Hartley.

This all came before the dramatic finale Brahm’s Piano Quintet. The piece was performed by Rosa, Sophia and they were joined by David Shaw, Nina Kiva and Ami-Louise Johnson in an absolutely barnstorming performance.

The five shot along in an energetic performance that wowed the audience. Every pause saw absolute silence and tension before it started again in big bursts of energy that lived up to its billing of being a piece that “spans ranges between tenderness -  and an almost unrestrained fury”.

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This led to a huge standing ovation from the crowd. One audience member said: “I’m almost glad they stopped there. It really was a question of how on earth would you top that?”

After the performance Sophia said: “I’ve loved it. This group here were just amazing. We rehearsed and you think this is just how it goes and you get on stage with them and they are so confident in being spontaneous.

“The colours and timing were very different. It’s great to play with, you can activate or just ride the waves someone else provides for you.

“This audience really helped us create that atmosphere. I noticed just how still they were.”