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The Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival (PICMF) is curated by its artistic director Natalie Clein OBE, who won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1994 with her electrifying performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto. Held every September on the Isle of Purbeck, historic Dorset churches provide the intimate venues for exceptional musicians, performers, and artists from around the world to come together to make music.

Since its inaugural event in 2009, this festival has attracted internationally renowned musicians which in turn has grown a loyal and passionate following with many events selling out. And it's not just about the performances. PICMF also reaches out to the broader community and spreading the joy of music to a wider audience. One of our missions is to nurture young talents, with specially planned events for young musicians such as the free Family Concert with Swanage Folk Festival at Sandpit Field featuring Hungarian folk music by Marc Danel, who will be joined by the fabulous Israeli violinist Nurit Stark (September 9, 10am).

We also have some more unusual collaborations including one that showcases the music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) one of the most important and influential composers in Hollywood. Deception: A Film and a Concerto at The Rex cinema in Wareham (Sept 9) features the Korngold Cello Concerto Op.37 (Natalie Clein cello, Marianna Shirinyan piano) and a screening of the 1946 film noir Deception starring Bette Davis, with its film score by Korngold.

Reflecting this year’s theme of Forgotten Voices, one of the unique aspects of this festival is shining the light on fascinating voices from different eras that have been overlooked because of their gender or race.

Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival runs September 7 – 10.

Find details on this year’s line-up and buy tickets at picmf.org

Great British Life: Natalie Clein. (Photo: courtsey of natalieclein.com)Natalie Clein. (Photo: courtsey of natalieclein.com)

Natalie Clein: The world-class cellist from Dorset 

Described by Gramophone Magazine as having an ‘astonishing range of colours and wide variety of expressive styles’, Natalie Clein OBE was born and bought up in Dorset. She shot to fame at the age of 16 when she won BBC Young Musician of the Year; she was also the first British winner of the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians. Over the last three decades, Clein has collaborated with orchestras and artists around the world, including the Bournemouth Symphony. In 2021 she was awarded an OBE for services to music.

Clein’s cherished partner on stage is the 1777 'Simpson' Guadagnini cello (pictured) a remarkable instrument for a remarkable player who describes its tone as ‘focused and beam-like, with a rich, burnished gold quality.’ Beyond her phenomenal performances, this former pupil of Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth, is also a co-founder of the Purbeck Chamber Music Festival. As the festival's artistic director, Clein feels privileged to curate a program that brings together exceptional musicians from near and far to perform with her in Dorset, a county she clearly adores. ‘It's paradise around Purbeck,’ she enthuses. ‘The sea and the landscape give me such energy – it's one of the most beautiful parts of the country.’

Great British Life: Kate Royal. (Photo: Jason Joyce)Kate Royal. (Photo: Jason Joyce)

Forgotten Voices 

At PICMF, we like to introduce you to new names and fresh musical universes. One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the Danel Quartet, whose intense and unforgettable performance of a Weinberg Quartet No6 (1946) left a lasting impression on PICMF’s artistic director. We are honoured to bring this French string quartet to Purbeck and showcase the work of these exceptionally talented musicians.

Equally mesmerising is the return of the award-winning Armenian-Danish pianist Marianna Shirinyan, who will be performing as a soloist and accompanist as well as part of a piano trio and piano quintet at this festival.

We're also thrilled to have author and performer Vivi Lachs join us for a special book launch at Dorset Museum (September 8) where she will talk about her new book, London Yiddishtown. Lachs will transport us to the forgotten world of the Yiddish dance hall through her words, songs, and perhaps some dancing!

Last, but certainly not least, the acclaimed soprano Kate Royal (pictured), a fellow pupil at Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth, will be performing at several PICMF concerts including Dring’s Shakespeare Songs, some Kurt Weill songs and Chausson Chanson. Don't miss this opportunity to witness her incredible talent first hand.

Great British Life: Vivi Lachs. (Photo: Rory Isserow)Vivi Lachs. (Photo: Rory Isserow)

For Song Lovers 

Voice of the Soul at Dorset Museum (Sept 8) includes chanson and Schubert songs sung by Kate Royal and popular Yiddish songs sung by Vivi Lachs (pictured). Your ticket gives you free entry to view the museum after 6pm.

Captured on Glass

Katharina Ziemke creates portrait paintings on glass of Natalie Clein as she performs at She/Her/They in St George’s Church, Langton Matravers (Sept 7) and Forgotten Memories in Priory Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham (Sept 9).