Newbury Spring Festival
Press Information

Young Artists Lunchtime Recitals


This year's Young Artists Programme focuses on instrumentalists representing many musical genres, with peformances on trombone, flute, organ, piano, cello and guitar. What finer way to spend your lunchbreak than with these top-class young musicians, and do also look out for more outstanding young talkent with this year's John Lewis Young Stars.



Michael Buchanan

Monday 8th May, Corn Exchange, Newbury RG14 5BD
12.30pm (ends approx 1.30pm)
£9 (series ticket for all 6 lunchtime recitals £42)


At just 24 years old, local trombonist Michael Buchanan is widely regarded as an emerging artist of great interpretative intelligence and technical ability.


He was the recipient of both the First Prize and Audience Prize at the ARD International Music Competition 2015, as well as First Prizes at the Ian Bousfield International Trombone Competition 2015 and the Royal Overseas League Competition. In 2015 he received the Player of the Year award from the British Trombone Society.


As an orchestral musician, Michael is delighted to currently be a contract member of the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera.


"For this sovereign power it all seemed as light as a breeze." Süddeutsche Zeitung

Alena Lugovkina

Wednesday 10th May, Corn Exchange, Newbury RG14 5BD
12.30pm (ends approx 1.30pm)
£9 (series ticket for all 6 lunchtime recitals £42)


Alena Lugovkina, a former student of William Bennett OBE, is an outstanding concert flautist active in solo, chamber, orchestral and contemporary repertoire. She is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, an Artist of Altus Flutes, and winner of many prestigious competitions and awards.


Alena has performed at the most famous venues in the world, including at the BBC Proms with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and in duets with such illustrious figures in the flute world as Emmanuel Pahud, Lorna McGhee, William Bennett and Denis Bouriakov. At this performance she is delighted to be accompanied by virtuoso pianist Pavel Timofeevesky.


“Alena is a wonderful player with a beautiful tone and a bubbly personality that shines through on stage.” Pan, British Flute Society magazine

Benjamin Cunningham

Friday 12th May, St George’s Church, Wash Common RG14 6NU
12.30pm (ends approx 1.30pm)
£9 (series ticket for all 6 lunchtime recitals £42)


Benjamin Cunningham is Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey. Prior to this he held organ scholarships at Chichester Cathedral and Worcester College, Oxford where he studied for a degree in music. In addition, he is an active recitalist and has given a number of concerts across the country, including at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Reading Town Hall, and at Merton and The Queen’s College, Oxford.


A prize-winning Associate of the Royal College of Organists, Benjamin is also a director of the chamber choir Sansara, and with them won the 2015 London International A Capella Choir Competition held at St John’s Smith Square.

The Sheepdrove
Piano Competition Winner

Monday 15th May, Corn Exchange, Newbury RG14 5BD
12.30pm (ends approx 1.30pm)
£9 (Series ticket for all 6 lunchtime recitals £42)


Newbury Spring Festival is delighted to welcome the winner of the ninth Sheepdrove Piano Competition to the Corn Exchange to perform a recital as part of the Festival’s Young Artists Lunchtime Series.


The competition, open to students from all the major UK conservatoires, was founded in 2009 by the Sheepdrove Trust, under the patronage of Sir Roger Norrington. The winning pianist’s programme will feature works by Beethoven.


Today’s recital is an opportunity to hear more of the winning pianist following the competition held at Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre, Lambourn on Sunday 14th May.

Leo Popplewell

Wednesday 17th May, Corn Exchange, Newbury RG14 5BD
12.30pm (ends approx 1.30pm)
£9 (Series ticket for all 6 lunchtime recitals £42)


Leo was lead cellist with the National Youth Orchestra in 2013 and his talent has seen him emerge as a major soloist and recitalist who has a particular interest in bringing new music to life. He is currently studying at Cambridge University where he is past president of Clare College Music Society and performs with fellow students in the Farrer Trio.


Accompanied by Mikey Pandya, who specialises in song accompaniment and chamber music, locally-born Leo, the great-nephew of cellist Jacqueline du Pré, presents a programme ranging from the lyrical romanticism of Fauré to the expansive expressivity of Britten’s Cello Suite No.1, written in 1964 for Mstislav Rostropovich.

Sean Shibe

Friday 19th May, Corn Exchange, Newbury RG14 5BD
12.30pm (ends approx 1.30pm)
£9 (Series ticket for all 6 lunchtime recitals £42)


In 2012 Sean Shibe became the only solo guitarist selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme and to receive a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.


As a soloist he has appeared with the Scottish Chamber, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Recent career highlights include recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Heidelberger-Fruhling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Bath International and Aldeburgh Festivals.


This talented young man has also recorded solo works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for Linn Records and been the featured cover disc for BBC Music Magazine.




Event Where Time Tickets
Ballet Central Corn Exchange, Newbury 7.30pm (ends approx 9.40pm)
Betty Blue Eyes Corn Exchange, Newbury 7.30pm (ends approx 9.40pm)
Dr Dee's Daughter & the Philosopher's Stone Corn Exchange, Newbury 11.30am (ends approx 12.30pm)
Elgar's Dream of Gerontius St Nicolas Church, Newbury 7.30pm (ends approx 9.35pm)
The Highclere Castle Gala Concert Highclere Castle, Highclere 7.30pm performance (ends approx 9.30pm)