Prodigies return to perform at festival

The Delmege Quartet featuring former Romsonian, Hannah Rose Innes, 21 on cello

Organist Tom Leech

Viola player Rachel Maxey

First published in Arts

An array of home-grown classical musicians are among artists who have signed up for this year’s Romsey Festival in July.

Half a dozen talented young performers are returning to the Romsey stage after leaving the town to pursue their musical careers elsewhere.

The youngest is 19-year-old Rachel Maxey, who is now studying at Oxford University.

She took up the violin almost as soon as she entered school, but five years later her musical direction changed.

Her mother, local music teacher and choir leader, Marion Maxey, says: “Rachel was playing with the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra on their annual Easter course in Dorset. The conductor handed her a viola to try and she never looked back.”

Rachel went on to play the viola for the National Youth Orchestra and is now forging a career as a soloist, with a string of musical awards to her name, including the premiere trophy at last year’s Mid-Somerset Festival.

She will perform a free lunchtime recital at Romsey Abbey on Thursday, July 10.

Another former Romsonian, Hannah Rose Innes, 21, is the cellist with the Delmege String Quartet, all of them final-year students at the Royal Academy of Music.

A graduate of Halterworth and Thornden schools, Hannah has gone on to play at a number of classical music festivals, as well as London’s Wigmore Hall.

The Quartet’s free lunchtime concert on Wednesday, July 9, features works by Mozart, Tippett and Brahms.

No stranger to the Romsey stage, flautist, Jenna Gover, is the daughter of an Abbey organist and choirmaster.

After studying in London, she has returned to Romsey to raise a family and continue her career as a music teacher and performer.

She will play a programme of flute duets in the United Reformed Church on Monday, July 7, with Anna Ter Haar, who now lives in London.

Also returning to his home town is the organist, Thomas Leech, who has numerous recording, broadcasting and recital credits.

He now directs the Diocese of Leeds Schools singing programme and is musical director of Bradford Choral Society.

He is partnered for a concert in Romsey Abbey with David Hewett, the Abbey’s first organ scholar.

This recital will be a fitting final musical concert for the festival, once again celebrating the talent which the town has produced over the recent years.

The festival runs from July 4-20. Details and ticket information for all events can be found on the festival website, romseyfestival.org.

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