AMF 2016

Dear Friends and Fans of the AMF,

With the Olympics in Rio upon us, the Ashdown Music Festival is beginning its own countdown to our Opening Ceremony.

It fills me with great excitement and pride that we will be celebrating our 5th year together. And what a great Festival we have in store. Some “heavyweights” in the classical world will be “going for gold” this year. Be sure to join the “race” for tickets when we open sales at the start of September.

The Festival programme is as follows:

Friday 4th November: Opening Concert

As is tradition, we open the Festival with an intimate evening of outstanding solo and chamber music. English Pianist Sam Armstrong performs Schubert and will be joined by Cellist and Festival Director Reinoud Ford and Festival Favourite Oscar Perks for iconic Beethoven and breathtaking Dvořák.

Franz Schubert: Impromptu D 935
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Trio in B-flat Major. Op. 97, “Archduke Trio”
Antonín Dvořák: Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, “Dumky Trio”

Venue: Christian Community Church, Hartfield Road, Forest Row

Time: 7.30pm

Saturday 5th November: Family Concert

A Family Concert sponsored by the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust. Programme to include Mother Goose, five traditional children’s stories originally set to music by Maurice Ravel. Also in the line-up are lively musical games and informative instrument demos. Suitable for children ages 4 and up.

Optional themed crafting hour from 9.45am.

Venue: Christian Community Church, Hartfield Road, Forest Row

Time: 11am 

Saturday 5th November: Baroque Concert

A special afternoon featuring the award-winning Brook Street Band, one of the country’s foremost interpreters of Handel’s music. Yes that’s right, don’t let the name mislead you! The term “band” was used in the 18th C to describe groups of musicians and this Band takes its name from the street in London where George Frideric Handel lived and composed for most of his working life.

Programme to include: Handel, Vivaldi, Bach and Telemann

Venue: Christian Community Church, Hartfield Road, Forest Row

Time: 4pm

Sunday 6th November: GALA CONCERT

This year’s Gala Concert is bursting at the seams with talent and innovation: exciting concerto soloists (Violinist Martyn Jackson and Cellist and Festival Director Reinoud Ford) will be accompanied by London’s foremost un-conducted string orchestra the 12 Ensemble, whose ranks will be swelled by wind players. The 12 Ensemble also performs Walton. Join us for fireworks!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major
William Walton: Sonata for Strings
Joseph Haydn: Cello Concerto in C Major

Venue: Theatre, Michael Hall School, Priory Road, Forest Row

Time: 6pm

Sunday 18th September: FRIENDS CONCERT

This year’s Friends Concert will take place at 3pm on Sunday 18th September at the Christian Community Church in Forest Row. This charming concert will feature cello and piano sonatas and works by Bach, Barber and Mendelssohn, performed by Reinoud Ford and Festival Favourite pianist Simon Lane. The concert is totally free for existing Friends and a plus 1. Tickets for non Friends are £5. Free tea and delicious cake served after the last note sounds. Please email or call 07764681777 to reserve tickets.

Looking forward to seeing you in September and November!





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AMF 2016!

Dear Friends, Fans & Followers of the AMF

After a warm and sunny Bank Holiday weekend (during which I walked part of the stunning Jurassic Coast) it gives me great pleasure to strike up the first of our correspondences about this year’s Ashdown Music Festival. We are 6 months away and preparation has begun!

Save the Date! Confirmed dates for this year’s AMF are: Friday 4 – Sunday 6 November 2016.

I am thrilled to give you a taste of some of the musical wonders coming your way.

Friday 4th November: pianist Sam Armstrong will kick off the Festival with a Schubert Impromptu.

Saturday 5th November: the award-winning Brook Street Band, one of the country’s foremost interpreters of early music.

Sunday 6th November Gala: the 12 Ensemble – London’s un-conducted string orchestra – will perform and also accompany two concertos.

Keep an eye on our site: we will be providing more information in the summer.

Friends I haven’t forgotten you! News of your free concert in the pipeline!

Reinoud Ford

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AMF wishes you a Happy New Year

Dear AMF Fans and Friends

As we look with bright eyes to a brand new year we cannot help but reflect and ruminate over the past 12 months. I am still recalling with delight and gratitude the three days of AMF 2015. From the dramatic Opening concert to the Carroll-coloured Super Saturday that ended with a baroque bonanza and the glorious Gala bristling with breathtaking talent I hope you’ll agree this was our best year yet.

As we walk towards lighter longer days and another year of enterprise and undertaking for us all I invite you to enjoy these photos of the AMF 2015.

I feel grateful that the AMF is beginning to feel like a real community effort. Last year’s event was buoyed by support and rolled up sleeves of many local enthusiastic volunteers: many hands making lighter work and some magical behind-the-scenes moments!

As you all know there is very little down time in the running of an annual event as large as the AMF and as you can imagine I am currently happily occupied by the considerable task of shaping things for this year. It’s our fifth showing so we need and want a showstopper.

Libby Sheen eloquently encouraged those attending the Gala Concert to consider becoming a Friend of the AMF. We are always in need of financial support so that we can continue to bring world class concerts to the local area.

In a little while we will be in contact to inform you about the dates of AMF 2016 and hopefully some details of the program. Meanwhile, I wish you a Very Happy New Year and thank you for being a part of the growth and development of AMF.

Kindest regards,

Reinoud Ford

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Only two weeks to (Gala) go!

Our GLITTERING Gala Concert on Sunday 8th November at 6pm (Theatre, Michael Hall School) is fit for Guy Fawkes weekend: bursting with explosive talent and musical fireworks! Among our sparklers is world-renowned Tenor Mark Padmore performing Vaughn Williams’s On Wenlock Edge with virtuoso pianist Alasdair Beatson and string quartet.

In 1908, Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958) left his native England to study in Paris with Maurice Ravel, one of the most important forces in French music at the time. The three months that he spent under Ravel’s tutelage were most influential. Vaughn Williams also had a lifelong interest in the music of Tudor England, and it was these two strains – Ravel-inspired “French polish” and an abiding Englishness – that On Wenlock Edge (written 1909) combines. This extraordinary song cycle (for tenor, piano and string quartet to poems from A.E. Housman’s collection A Shropshire Lad) is simultaneously sophisticated and down-to-earth, ingenious in its instrumental effects and straightforward in setting the texts. Come and listen to this luscious musical landscape unfold!

Gilding our Gala Concert lily will be local star cellist Laura van der Heijden, treading the boards in Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A Major.

All well as our Gala we are staging FOUR other events (Friday 6th – Sunday 8th November). See our website for all concert listings. ALL our performers will be (b)On Fire and we cannot wait to share our musical magic with you across the Festival weekend. If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to book your tickets (online or by phone) and… see you there!




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Kids, Carroll and Connoisseurs

Come one, come ALL! In just three weeks TO THIS DAY the AMF will be attempting a phenomenal feat by staging THREE concerts in under 12 hours. Come and support our Super Saturday! We’ve got something to suit all ages and tastes. Read on below and then BUY your tickets!

Alice in Wonderland Children’s Musical Workshop
Saturday 7th November 11am
Christian Community Church
Join cello octet Cellophony and charismatic actor/narrator James Thorpe-Woods for a magical hour enveloped in Lewis Carroll’s masterful classic. Suitable for children aged 5-10. Optional crafting hour prior to the Workshop and Alice Art Competition (see website)

“… the cellos conjure the White Rabbit’s hurrying, a waltzing Alice, the Mad Hatter’s tea party and the Mock Turtle’s musings (Times)

Ashley Ramsden and Cellophony
Saturday 7th November 2.30pm
A lunchtime concert for older children and adults, let exceptional local storyteller Ashley Ramsden lead you through Alice’s Wonderland adventures in an inspired musical and spoken version of Carroll’s classic.
Cellophony will also entrance you with gems from their unique eight-cello repertoire

“Fully at home in the cello’s world, Birchall (Alice in Wonderland composer and Cellophony member) brilliantly exploits the instrument’s facets” (Times)

Connoisseur’s Concert
Saturday 7th November 7pm
Long Room, Michael Hall School
An intimate and sublime evening of early music, presented by two of the country’s genre masters. In the midst of melodious Corelli and magical Marais, feast on a Baroque-themed mini supper and ample grape



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Dear Friends and Fans of the Ashdown Music Festival,

Kick off is in FOUR weeks! On Friday 6th November the Brodowski Quartet and Cellist Ella Rundle will open this year’s AMF! Support your local festival so that we can hit the back of the net! We’re offering much more than a hat trick: FIVE concerts over THREE days!
Get your tickets now!

See our two stunning posters for this year’s event and please spread the word!

Best wishes,

Reinoud Ford



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Friends for Tea

Hello Fans and Friends of the Ashdown Music Festival,

I’m excited to remind you all of our mini taster concert this coming weekend. This Sunday, 20th September at
3pm in the Christian Community Church, Forest Row. The St Mere Trio will perform Beethoven and Schubert! PLUS don’t miss out on the delicious tasters of another variety in the form of tea, cake and sandwiches at interval. Friends have free entry to this concert (please bring a plus one on us!) and anyone else can reserve a ticket by calling 07764 681 777 or can purchase a ticket (£5) on the door.

In other news I’d like to draw your attention to a fantastic little prize draw we have on the go! The Ashdown Park, local luxury country hotel, is offering two delectable “High Tea for Two” vouchers as prizes for our annual Season Ticket Draw. Anyone who purchases any kind of Season Ticket before the 24th of October will automatically be entered into the draw. The two winners will be notified by email on Sunday 25th October.

I hope to see many of you on Sunday. And do spread the word about our concerts coming up in November!

Best wishes

Reinoud Ford


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AMF tickets now on sale!

Dear Fans, Friends and Followers of the Ashdown Music Festival,

I am thrilled to announce that tickets are now available to purchase for this year’s Festival! Tickets are available to buy online, from the “Tickets” page of our website. Alternatively you can reserve your tickets by phone: 07764 681 777. This year promises to be our most action-packed Festival yet (five concerts across three days!) so I highly recommend that you buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

I would also like to remind you of our “Friends Concert” at 3pm on Sunday 20th September in the Christian Community Church, Forest Row. The St. Mere String Trio will be performing beautiful works by Beethoven, Schubert and more! The concert is free to Friends of the AMF: Friends, please let us know if you will be coming and please do bring a plus one! Non-Friends are also most welcome: tickets are £5 for non-Friends and may be reserved by phone on the number above or purchased on the door.

Now, to whet your appetite, please enjoy this clip of myself and fellow Cellophony member Richard Birchall having a cheeky tango together with the London Cello Orchestra! Richard is the gifted composer behind both our large-scale Alice in Wonderland work (to be performed by Cellophony and Ashley Ramsden in our afternoon concert on Saturday 7th November) and our Alice in Wonderland Children’s Workshop on the morning of the same day.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Reinoud Ford

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Please note: Date and venue change for Friends of AMF Concert

Dear Friends and Followers of the AMF

I hope this email finds you well.

There has been a date and venue change for our Friends concert in September.

This will now take place on Sunday 20th September at 3pm in the Christian Community Church in Forest Row. I am putting together a wonderful musical programme and light teatime refreshments will be served.

This concert is FREE for Friends of AMF who can ALSO bring along a plus one. If you are not a Friend but would like to come, you are very welcome; please pay £5 at the door.

I look forward to seeing you there! Friends: please call me on 07764681777 (or email me at if you plan to come and let me know whether you would like to bring a plus one so we can get a sense of numbers.

Kind regards,

Reinoud Ford

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AMF 2015!

Dear AMF Fans and Followers!

I’m thrilled to announce our 2015 Festival dates and unveil this year’s roster of concerts, packed to the gills with musical masterpieces and prestigious performers. 2015 is set to be an absolute cracker!

The Festival weekend will take place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th November. This year for the first time we are staging a phenomenal FIVE concerts!

Friday features the award-winning Brodowski String Quartet performing much-loved gems from the chamber repertoire. Cellist Alexander Rolton will join to perform Schubert’s seminal Cello Quintet.

Our Saturday afternoon concert is lead by critically-acclaimed cello octet Cellophony. The programme includes a new work composed by Richard Birchall based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, to be narrated by local storyteller Ashley Ramsden.

On Saturday evening we will invite you to step back in time as two of the country’s finest early music specialists perform glorious works for violin and harpsichord. Included in the ticket price will be a delicious golden-age themed light supper.

Our Gala concert on Sunday 8th November promises to be spectacular! Among the high notes will be local cellist and former BBC Young Musician of the Year Laura van der Heijden performing a duo with virtuoso pianist Alasdair Beatson and world-renowned Tenor Mark Padmore delivering Vaughan-Williams’s extraordinary “On Wenlock Edge”.

As well as all of the above this year for the first time we will be hosting a special concert/ workshop for children aged 5-10. Cellophony and a narrator will take young ones on a magical musical journey filled with fantasy and fun all based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. An optional crafting session is available before the workshop.

Please visit our Schedule of Events page for full programme listings.

Individual and Season Tickets will be available from the 31st August, to purchase online or by phone.

For those coming to the Festival from further afield (or wanting to taste a little local luxury!) this year we have an exclusive collaboration with the Ashdown Park Hotel! This beautiful, local country house hotel is offering special rates on their rooms for either an overnight stay (Sunday 8th November) or a weekend stay (Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th). The overnight package includes entry to our Sunday Gala concert and the weekend package includes entry to our Connoisseurs (Saturday 7th) and Gala (Sunday 8th) concerts. Please see our Tickets page for further details and booking information.

Before we meet again for the Festival I’m thrilled to extend another musical invitation. On Sunday 27th September at 3pm we will have a splendid musical offering in the mirror-lined Long Room at Michael Hall (artists and programme to be confirmed). This concert is free for Friends of the AMF, however our Fans and Followers can also attend for £5 (on the door, subject to availability). Free tea time refreshments will be served in the last of the summer sun! I hope to see you there!

Last but not least, do enjoy photos and some phenomenal memories from the AMF 2014 on our Photos page!

Best Wishes,

Reinoud Ford




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