The Anniversary Season got off to a tremendous start, with all the seven concerts being sold out before a note was played. Generously supported by a number of local sponsors, we were able to keep ticket prices as low as possible, even though some of our international artists are quite expensive! Our audiences are passionate about their music and I receive lovely feedback after each concert, which I am able to share in the regular e-letters.

The season started in October with the talented young pianist Lara Melda. She played a blisteringly difficult programme of Brahms, Liszt and Chopin with a maturity which belied her youth.

The second concert in November featured the violinist Callum Smart, pianists Martin Roscoe and the Allegri String Quartet. Callum performed Beethoven’s Spring Sonata before the Allegri performed a Haydn quartet. They all joined forces in the second half for a riveting and dramatic performance of Chausson’s Concert a Cinq.  Martin Roscoe bore the brunt of the musical weight, making the incredibly tricky piano part seem perfectly normal – amazingly it was the first time in his long career that he had played it.

In December we were visited by the leading Australian Quartet – the Goldner. They had flown over specially to perform in Galway and at Vinehall.  They performed quartets by Shostakovich and Schubert before being joined by fellow countryman Piers Lane. They played Elgar’s Piano Quintet with enormous understanding. Composed in Sussex exactly a hundred years before, they demonstrated the emotional depths felt by Elgar after the end of the First World War.

In February we managed to avoid snow for the afternoon concert by the English Chamber Orchestra Wind Ensemble. They performed two works by Beethoven and then in the second half played the famous Serenade ‘Gran Partita’ for 12 Winds and Double Bass by Mozart. In the interval the audience consumed vast amounts of cake made by Vinehall children (and parents!) raising £460.00 in support of Rwanda Aid.

In March the young Trio Isimsiz performed piano trios by Mozart, Faure and Brahms. The audience really appreciated their lively commitment to the music and I am sure they will be invited back.

Most seasons have a period ensemble performing and this year was the turn of the Avison Ensemble, led by Pavlo Beznuosiuk. With concertos by Avison, Locatelli, Telemann, Vivaldi and Bach, the audience had a wonderful musical tour of Baroque Europe.

The season was brought to an end in June with a performance by two of the best young quartets in the country – the Elias and Navarra. They played the youthful first Brahms Sextet in the first half and the even more youthful Octet by Mendelssohn, composed when he was just sixteen. It was a really magnficent way to end the season, helped by quantities of Pimms both before the concert and during the interval.

I may be the ‘conductor’ of the concerts but my thanks go to all those members of the Vinehall ‘orchestra’ who have played their parts: the ladies of the Bursary; the kitchen staff who have prepared and served the artists’ meals; Lynn, Lucy and all those who have served the interval refreshments; page turners Issy and Carina Everist; the programme sellers  – Margie and Paul Redstone and Carina; Lorna Lambourne and Bridget de Havilland in the office; and Hannah Sassone for assisting with the publicity for the concerts. Nothing happens by magic and the last thanks go to Dave, Ben, Danny and Oliver Dorman who anticipate the regular moving of the piano with the same thrill as turkeys await 25th December!