Rufus Wainwright booked for Hastings International Piano Festival

Singer and composer Rufus Wainwright is just one of the brilliant acts lined up for the inaugural Hastings International Piano Festival next year.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 3:43 pm
Rufus Wainwright. Picture by V. Tony Hauser
Rufus Wainwright. Picture by V. Tony Hauser

The two-week celebration of music takes place at White Rock Theatre and St Mary in the Castle from Wednesday, February 26, to Sunday, March 8.

Rufus will join the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday, February 28, at The White Rock, for an evening of great tunes.

Other big names confirmed for the festival include Guy Chambers, Rachel Portman, Claire Martin, Reuben James, Lucy Parham and Mark Kermode.

Tickets for concerts at both venues go on sale this Wednesday, November 20, and can be purchased from

A festival spokesperson said: “The festival opens on Wednesday, February 26, with a concert by one of the UK’s most successful songwriters of all time – Guy Chambers, whose 50 year career has seen Guy write and produce for some of the world’s most popular artists including Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Mark Ronson and Rufus Wainwright to name but a few. Performing songs at the piano including tracks taken from his new album Go Gently Into the Light.

“The festival continues on Thursday, February 27, February with Reuben James, one of the UK’s most exciting young singer-songwriters and performers best known for his on-going collaborations with Sam Smith. Reuben co-wrote the title track from Sam Smith’s most recent album The Thrill Of It All, as well as the song Him and the festival is delighted he is bringing his ten-piece band, which explores the boundaries between jazz and pop.

“The festival welcomes Claire Martin OBE, the Queen of British Jazz to Hastings on Thursday, March 5, at St Mary in The Castle with a stellar line-up of Claire’s music friends including some of the jazz world’s great artists including Liane Carroll, Alex Garnett and The Swedish Trio.

“Oscar winning composer and songwriter Rachel Portman OBE will perform and be interviewed about her extensive career during this unique production on Friday. March 6, at St Mary in the Castle, specially produced for Hastings International Piano Festival. Rachel has written more than 100 scores for film, television and film and is the first woman to win an Academy Award for film music for the film Emma and went on to be nominated twice more for Cider House Rules and Chocolat, which also earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Rachel’s performance will include special collaborations with local pianists giving them a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform with a globally renowned artist.

“Hastings International Piano Festival Classical Gala Concert with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra takes place at The White Rock Theatre on Saturday, February 29, with a spectacular programme of piano concertos performed by an array of artists including the illustrious pianist and BBC Young Musician of The Year Martin James Bartlett. Martin will be joined by the winner of the 2019 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition Fumiya Koido and Prizewinner Sylvia Jiang.

“Two of our most respected British actors Patricia Hodge and Alex Jennings join pianist Lucy Parham on Sunday, March 1, at The White Rock Theatre for ‘The Romantic Life of Chopin’ – an evening of words and music scripted and adapted from letters and diaries chronicling the romantic life of one of the greatest and most popular composers for solo piano.

“Silent Movie Night Beggars of Life with live accompaniment from The Dodge Brothers featuring Mark Kermode and Neil Brand takes place at St Mary in the Castle on Wednesday, March 4. Revered Film critic Kermode joins his band mates and acclaimed composer Brand for this film extravaganza.

“Closing the 2020 festival The Puppini Sisters, the Queens of Close Harmony Swing and The Pasadena Roof Orchestra take to the stage at St Mary In The Castle on Saturday, March 7, to delight the festival audience with their trailblazing re-workings of pop and classical songs that will have the audience dancing in the aisles.”

Find out more about the Hastings International Piano Festival here.

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