Twickenham Fest to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees April 8-9

Twickenham Fest’s April 8-9 concerts will raise money for Ukrainian refugees. (Twickenham Fest)

Huntsville’s Twickenham Fest is hosting a concert April 8 and 9, and plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Ukrainian Red Cross. Founded by soprano Susanna Phillips and bassoonist Matt McDonald, Twickenham Fest brings together top young professional musicians from around the world right here to Huntsville to celebrate all that chamber music has to offer. 

Keep reading to learn more about Twickenham Fest and how you can help them support Ukranian refugees.

This weekend of music will feature a Ukrainian influence

Festival co-founder Matt McDonald looked for Ukrainian music to be featured this weekend. (Twickenham Fest)

Festival co-founder Matt McDonald said he wanted to include music from a Ukrainian composer, so he found a piece called “Beyond Body and Soul” by Hanna Havryletz. The contemporary violin piece reflects themes of war, conflict and resolution. When trying to learn more about Hanna Havryletz, festival officials discovered that she tragically died on February 26th in Kyiv during air raids.  

Hence, the organizer’s of Twickenham Fest have dedicated this performance to Havryletz. “Beyond Body and Soul” will be performed by musicians Itamar Zorman and Eunice Kim.

When and where to experience Twickenham Fest

Twickenham Fest founders Susanna Phillips and Matt McDonald started the festival more than a decade ago. (Twickenham fest)

Twickenhan Fest co-founders Susanna Phillips and Matthew McDonald say they are relieved to have the music back to a live performance format after the pandemic. This weekend’s performances include a wife array of music and influences.

Here are some details of the event:

  • The Spring Soirée on April 8 kicks off the festivities on the rooftop of Rhythm on Monroe with Susanna Phillips and classical guitarist Steve Salerno.
  • That evening at 7PM features Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time downstairs at the Von Braun Center Playhouse. Reserve seats here.
  • Benefitting the Ukraine Red Cross, the popular Bach by Candlelight will be held in the VBC Playhouse on April 8 at 9:30PM. Itamar Zorman and Eunice Kim will perform “Beyond Body and Soul” by Ukrainian composer Hanna Havryletz. Then pianist Roman Robinovich will perform Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Reserve seats here.
  • Then on Saturday, April 9 from 12PM to 2PM particpants can enjoy a concert of chamber music featuring Susanna Phillips and Schoenberg’s unconventional String Quartet No. 2, Respighi and Brahms. Reserve seats here.

“Twickenham Fest has garnered a reputation for providing an out-of-the-box experience that is unlike traditional chamber festivals. Being supported almost completely by private donations, the festival provides performances that are raw, authentic, and creatively controlled by the artists themselves. That gives the audience an experience they won’t get anywhere else. We believe that authenticity is why people keep coming back year after year.”

Bronwen Murray, Executive Director

What is Twickenham Fest and how did it get started?

This year’s festival features 15 different classical musicians. (Twickenham Fest)

The Twickenham Fest mission is to bring together some of the world’s finest musicians to perform chamber music for diverse audiences at concerts with free admission in Alabama.

After traveling around the world, performing with elite symphonies and singing in sold-out opera houses, Phillips and McDonald wanted to share extraordinary music with their hometown, which is how Twickenham Fest was conceived. Their vision was that everyone be able to attend the festival, even if they could not afford a ticket.

To keep concerts free they turned to their hometown neighbors who pledged to help, and the tremendous support they received from the Twickenham neighborhood bore the festival’s namesake.

Twickenham Fest is also accepting donations from anyone not able to attend the concerts. You can purchase tickets or donate here.

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Michael Seale
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