Pennines Piano

&Piano Music Festival announces series of events designed to help people discover & enjoy live Classical music
April 7, 2023

The &Piano Music Festival, based in beautiful Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, presents its biggest festival yet between 6th-21st May 2023, as part of the Kirklees Year of Music 2023. A festival celebrating collaborative music making, this year the festival includes:

  • Halifax-born West End leading lady, Emma Williams, gives a solo concert on 14th May, talking about her career, and performing songs from shows she has starred in.
  • &Piano presents "((LISTEN))" - a new, informal classical event at Dark Woods Coffee featuring classical singer Aimee Fisk & saxophonist Gillian Blair.
  • Leeds-based Avenue Ensemble present Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Piano Quintet alongside music for TV and Film, including Star Wars, Harry Potter & Game of Thrones.
  • Professional singers Sam Jackson & Hayley Swanton, with acclaimed pianist Jonathan Fisher present an evening of American song, including hits from shows by Rodgers & Hammerstein & Leonard Bernstein.
  • Pianist Keith Swallow is interviewed about his music career, playing for some of the most famous musicians around the country like Kiri Te Kanata and Leontyne Price.
  • A selected number of talented young musicians from around Calderdale & Kirklees have the opportunity to perform in our Young Musician Showcase.
  • A new event for 2023 is our Performance Pub which offers any singers & instrumentalists the chance to perform as part of the festival.
  • Our popular Family event will be taking listeners on a journey into the jungle, using music to tell an interactive story for children up to the age of 8.
  • Our Schools Tour returns in July, offering secondary schools around Calderdale & Kirklees an opportunity to discover classical music performed by professional artists in their secondary schools.
Emma Williams

Since the &Piano Music Festivals began in 2018, just 5 years ago, it’s mission has always been to help encourage more people to listen to and enjoy classical music. The first festival began with 3 events, and this year expands to 9 events featuring over 16 fantastic professional musicians who all have a connection to the North of England.

This year’s 2023 festival happens from May 6th, finishing with a full weekend of events happening between Thursday May 18th to Sunday 21st. Our main events this year will be held in various locations around Slaithwaite, with our main evening events at St James’ Church, and our Family and Relaxed events happening down the road at The Civic.

On Saturday May 6th we take Classical music outside of the traditional concert space, presenting a new classical music night ((LISTEN)) - an eclectic programme of music for saxophone & voice at the home of award-winning coffee roasters Dark Woods Coffee in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield.

The following week, on Sunday May 14th we welcome four time Olivier-award nominated actress Emma Williams, originally from Bradshaw, Halifax to perform a solo show of Musical Theatre hits from past and present. Emma has enjoyed a hugely successfully career to date, performing in West End shows including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, (starring alongside Michael Ball), Mrs Henderson Presents, and Half-a-Sixpence

Emma says: "I’m so thrilled to finally be coming home to do a solo concert here in Yorkshire. My last was over twenty years ago, before I became a professional, so I’m excited to not only see so many familiar faces in friends and family, but to be able to share a few stories from two decades as a leading lady in the West End. The support of my home community has always been paramount; from learning my craft to giving me the confidence to pursue it as a career. Now it’s time to bring it all back home and say a little thank you on the way."

A new event for &Piano 2023 is our Performance Pub which invites all musicians of any age, experience and background to perform as part of the festival in a special event on Thursday 18th May at the LBT. Artistic Director Chris Pulleyn says: "Celebrating musical excellence is really important to the festival and showcasing some ofthe top musicians working around the North of England, but we also want to provide a platform to celebrate the importance of non-professional musicians in our community, who spend hours learning and practicing their instrument. It can be rare to have the opportunity to perform to an audience as a soloist."

Our final weekend kicks off on Friday May 19th when we welcome Leeds-based Piano Quintet Avenue Ensemble, formed of musicians from the Orchestra of Opera North to perform Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet alongside arrangements of iconic music from TV & Film including Star Wars & Game of Thrones

Avenue Ensemble

We’ll be taking families on a musical journey into the jungle on Saturday 20th May, using music for clarinet, baritone voice & piano to tell an interactive story.

In the evening, we feature a programme of song featuring three Manchester based musicians, soprano Hayley Swanton, baritone Sam Jackson and pianist Jonathan Fisher, who will present an evening of powerful American song, including hits from legendary Broadway composers Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jerome Kern & Leonard Bernstein. Jonathan has played for some of the biggest names in classical music currently, including saxophonist Jess Gillam (presenter of ‘This Classical Life’ on BBC Radio 3),Roderick Williams and Sir John Tomlinson.

Our final day on Sunday 21st May begins with our Young Musician Showcase, which features young talented musicians from around Kirklees & Calderdale. Chris Pulleyn says "This is another way that the festival helps nurture music making in the region. It’s an excellent opportunity to see the top musicians of tomorrow, with many of our previous YMS performers having gone on to study at the top music colleges around the UK & Ireland." 

On Sunday evening we conclude with a special interview featuring pianist Keith Swallow who has enjoyed an amazing career playing for some of the biggest names in the classical music world, all while staying based in West Yorkshire.

Chris Pulleyn says: "Kirklees & Calderdale have a really rich heritage of music making and appreciation, and &Piano is our way of helping to support that tradition into the future, celebrating all the amazing musicians that are based in and work around the region, and encouraging more and more people to come and experience the joy of coming together as a community to experience beautiful, powerful, emotional music. We’re not a traditional classical music festival - we want people to listen and enjoy, but we also chat and have a laugh during our concerts, and we explain and introduce the music as we go. What’s more important to us is helping our audiences connect with the music and our performers. We have such a fantastic series of varied events this year - we really can’t wait to share this fantastic music with everyone."

About &Piano

The AndPiano Music Festival, established by Huddersfield-based pianist Christopher Pulleyn in 2018, is an annual series of events in the picturesque village ofSlaithwaite in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, celebrating and introducing people to collaborative piano music in all its forms, and featuring exciting professional artists with a connection to the North of England. The festival presents relaxed and informal concerts where performers introduce and chat about the music before it’s performed with audiences. &Piano is supported by Arts Council England, the Liz & Terry Bramall Foundation, One CommunityTrust, and One17 Design Trust.

Full details about all of our 2023 Events can be found HERE