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About

Little Missenden Festival

Composer David Matthews has called it 'England's best-kept secret festival'

Recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, Little Missenden is a beautiful, unspoilt, English village on the river Misbourne, nestling amongst the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, near to the town of Amersham.

For 58 unbroken years, the village has hosted the Little Missenden Festival which offers a programme of Music, Literature and Arts of the highest quality. There's something for everyone. Early, baroque, classical and contemporary music, rub shoulders with jazz, folk music, art lectures, poetry and children's events.

The music programme ranges from classic masterworks to the less familiar, but no less intriguing, and features promising young musical talents as well as nationally and internationally famous artists and composers. The Festival prides itself on commissioning original works. From John Tavener’s Greek Interlude in 1979 to Laura Jurd’s Jump Cut Shuffle last year, the variety of music written for the festival is extraordinary. We're looking forward to hearing Mark Bowden's piece this year.

The links below will take you to earlier Festival programmes, which show the scope and reach of our events:

2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016

Classical Music Magazine wrote about the Festival last October. Click here to read the article.

 

The Church

Most events take place in the ancient village church of St John the Baptist, a small Saxon-cum-Norman building enriched with 12th-17th century wall paintings, dominated by a famous St Christopher. 

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of more than £300k has allowed extensive conservation work on these important artifacts to be undertaken during 2017 and has resulted in the discovery of some previously unknown paintings from the 13th century. Scroll down the News Page for more information on these paintings and the grant.

This lovely place has a fine immediate acoustic. Music heard at this intimate range has real impact and presence. A concert here is a very special experience.

 

Fazioli F228 Grand Piano

Born in Rome in 1944, Paolo Fazioli comes from a family of furniture makers. Obsessed with the piano from childhood, after graduating from Rome University with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering, he took a piano diploma and a Masters Degree in Composition. 

In 1979 he left the family firm and, drawing on his woodworking skills and academic qualifications, began to realise his dream of designing and building a new, state-of-the-art piano. Fazioli started to develop and build individually hand-crafted pianos to his own original designs, using the latest research into acoustics and materials. A small, specialist company, producing less than 150 hand-made instruments a year, Fazioli has earned an impressive reputation for outstanding quality.

Fazioli Grand Pianos have become the instrument of choice for a growing number of leading pianists and concert halls. We've been fortunate to use them since 2014. Performers and audiences alike frequently comment on the remarkable sound and clarity of these fine instruments.

Jaques Samuel, one of the country’s foremost suppliers of concert quality pianos, provides our Fazioli each year. We are grateful to them for supporting a small Festival like ours.

Click here for the Fazioli website. Click here for the Jaques Samuel website.

 

The Festival Schools Programme

Every year, the Festival brings creative education projects into the village school and two other local primary schools.

These projects typically take the form of music workshops, run by musicians, who encourage the children to develop their own ideas, which are then turned into original songs. The finished work is performed in front of parents, at a combined concert, in the February following the Festival.

Little Missenden Festival both organises and largely funds this work, which we believe benefits the participants greatly. The children not only enjoy these musical experiences for their own sake, but also gain confidence, learn to work together in teams, develop their creativity and, exercise valuable skills - including concentration, communication and literacy.

We are grateful to the PTAs from all three schools for making contributions to our costs.

For more information about the work of the PTAs click on the links below:

Little Missenden School PTA (PSALMS)

Great Missenden Church of England Combined School PTA

Hyde Heath Infant School PTA

  

Patricia Harrison (1905-1998)

 

Had it not been for the commitment and determination of the Festival's founder, Pat Harrison, we would not now be able to look back on such a rich legacy. Click here to read an article from the Amersham Museum website about Pat and the history of the Festival. 

 

Helping with the Festival

Being a completely volunteer-run organisation we always need offers of help.  People we can call on for a few hours work now and again, and others who can make a bigger time commitment.  We have some tasks that involve specific skills and others that don’t. Click here for a list of things that need doing. If you feel you could help, please write to us: contact@little-missenden.org