2022 Festival Events

Gawain Douglas opens JAM on the Marsh with a fascinating talk about and recital of Po Chu-i’s The Temple. Po Chu-i lived AD 772-846 and was one of the most important poets of the Tang Dynasty, AD 618-907

The Fibonacci Quartet returns to the festival with two concerts (8 & 13 July), following its debut last year. As a fantastic, emerging ensemble, JAM on the Marsh is giving the players the opportunity of performing with some of the world’s most established chamber musicians: Elise Batnes, Ellie Fagg, Louisa Tuck, Rachel Roberts and Anna Tilbrook. This free, open rehearsal will see them working on Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat Major ahead of their performance on 8 July.
Jonty Driver returns to the festival giving a poetry recital of his own works. A firm favourite of festival audiences, Jonty performs in the intimate space of St Mary the Virgin, St Mary in the Marsh.
Changeling Theatre brings its irreverent, fun new production of Oscar Wilde’s classic play. This Kent based theatre company is a professional touring theatre company serving community audiences across South East England, best known for its hugely successful open-air tour every summer. Bring a chair or rug and a picnic and enjoy this performance under the night sky of Romney Marsh.
JAM on the Marsh’s film collaboration with Screen South culminates in the first public screening of films made by the finalists of JAM’s Short Film Competition. Films contain footage from the Romney Marsh and are a maximum of 10 minutes in duration. The top 3 films will precede the feature film at Cinemarsh throughout JAM on the Marsh.
Over the first weekend of the festival, some of the world’s finest chamber musicians come together for three concerts. For the first, two greats of the chamber music repertoire open the musical side of the festival: Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Op.57 and Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat Major, Op.20. Emerging ensemble, the Fibonacci Quartet, returns to the festival for the latter, for the first of two performances.

For the second of three chamber concerts, two wonderful works by relatively unsung female composers, Clara Schumann (1819-1896) and Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) are presented. The former was a German pianist, composer and piano teacher, married to Robert Schumann. Most of her music was largely forgotten until a resurgence of interest in the 1970s. Clarke’s output was not large, though her work was recognised for its compositional skill and artistic power. Rebecca Clarke’s Piano Trio and Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio are absolute treasures.

For the second year, JAM is running its Masterclass Series in composition following last year’s on writing for brass and organ. This year the project, in collaboration with VOCES8, turns to choral writing. Sketches of works by emerging composers will be workshopped by VOCES8, under the guidance of internationally renowned composer, Paul Mealor.
VOCES8 needs little introduction, as it is the most popular vocal ensemble in the world. With an on-going programme of recordings, videos and live broadcasts, VOCES8 is heard regularly on albums, international television and radio, as well as maintaining a vibrant web performance presence with its Live from London series. The ensemble is a Decca Classics artist and alongside releases on its own label, VOCES8 Records, has released acclaimed recordings that have all reached the top of the classical charts.

For the final chamber concert of this first weekend, Elise Batnes (Leader of the Oslo Philharmonic) and Lousia Tuck (Principal Cello of the Oslo Philharmonic) bring an eclectic recital to one of the Marsh’s most intimate churches. Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello, the centerpiece of this concert, models perfectly the cross-pollination of Hungarian folk materials and the formal structures of art music.
Please note that there are no facilities at this church. The performance will last 1 hour.

It is a joy to welcome back The Ashford Youth Jazz Orchestra (AYJO), founded in 1984. The Orchestra comprises young jazz musicians aged 12 to 18 from the secondary schools in Ashford. The band can be heard playing at venues throughout the county as well as on summer tours in Europe. Their highest profile appearance to date was in the Music for Youth Schools Prom Concert in the Royal Albert Hall in 2010. The Band plays a range of big-band swing and blues numbers, ballads and film themes, with all solos being improvised.
Since the beginning of the year, JAM and Rebecca Lodge Birkebaek have been delivering a singing programme into Brookland and St Nicholas Primary Schools. This is a two-year project which will culminate in the world premiere of a community oratorio by Richard Peat, with the London Mozart Players, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (mezzo), Julian Close (bass) and Kudzanayi Chiwawa (actor), conducted by JAM’s Principal Conductor, Michael Bawtree. For this year, the schools team up with Onyx Brass for a performance of Timothy Jackson’s Opening Night a piece full of fun and frolics!
The Fibonacci Quartet headlines this fascinating concert of Czechoslovakian music alongside one of the UK’s finest chamber musicians and JAM Festival Curator, Anna Tilbrook. This outstanding programme includes Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A minor and Janacek’s String Quartet No.1 “The Kreutzer Sonata” alongside music by Suk, Martinu and Janovický.
Two of the UK’s finest singers come together to perform William Walton’s extraordinary Façade, a setting of poems by Edith Sitwell, 100 years after its first performance. The concert will start with Lucy Crowe performing Walton’s A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table 60 years after it was written.

One of the UK’s finest musicians and one of the UK’s finest composers come together in this year’s Festival Commission: Judith Bingham’s Concerto for Clarinet. Michael Collins (clarinet) is the soloist and directs this stunning concert with the London Mozart Players, which pairs Bingham’s world premiere with Aaron Copland’s irresistible Clarinet Concerto, alongside Grieg’s Holberg Suite. Both soloist and composer have ‘significant birthdays’ this year, so this is a wonderful way to celebrate such significant artists of our time.

JAM on the Marsh celebrates the 75th birthday of one of the UK’s most celebrated composers, Paul Patterson, by revisiting his Romney Marsh-inspired piece The Fifth Continent, commissioned by JAM in 2005. This piece, with words by Ben Kaye, is one of JAM’s most audience-pleasing commissions, which has had multiple performances across the UK and beyond. The Holst Singers, one of the UK’s finest choirs, makes its festival debut alongside Onyx Brass, Simon Hogan and Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, conducted by Nicholas Cleobury, who becomes Festival Curator next year. Paul Patterson will introduce The Fifth Continent, giving us all the opportunity to wish him Happy Birthday!
London Tango Quintet brings together five outstanding musicians to play the music of Piazzolla, Troilo and other giants of Argentinian tango. If supergroups exist, this surely is one: chart topping guitar virtuoso, Craig Ogden, is joined by the extraordinary accordionist, Miloš Milivojević, pianist / composer David Gordon, who regularly tours as a jazz musician or harpsichordist to internationally renowned ensembles, double bassist, Richard Pryce, who works with major orchestras and the likes of Jamie Cullum and Shirley Bassey and violinist and founder of the London Tango Quintet, David Juritz. What a way to end a vibrant, multi-arts festival!
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