International Composer Festival 2018


Grand Opening Concert

The International Composers Festival opens with the very best in beautiful, melodic music, carefully chosen from hundreds of entries, performed in the presence of  most of the composers, who are travelling from all corners of the globe to attend

With the International Composers Festival Orchestra and guest soloists:

Sergio Puccini (guitar) Sarah Thurlow (clarinet) Jane Gordon (violin) Katerina Mina (soprano) Andrew Gill (trumpet)

7 pm Friday 21st September
Opus Theatre, Hastings
Tickets £15 in advance £18 at the door
Free for under 18’s
Includes welcome drink


Small Is Beautiful

Music that Moves The Spirit

Chamber concert

Solo instrumentalists and small ensembles with several world premieres

10.30 Saturday 22nd September
De La Warr Pavilion
£12 in advance £15 at the door
Free for under 18’s –  Students  18 -25 £10



One Beautiful Cinematic Journey 

A mesmerising blend of cinematic music and ambient soundtrack by Brighton composer Penny Loosemore,  performed by her string, piano and clarinet quartet, set to big screen visuals by 15 international filmmakers.

1.30 Saturday 22nd September
De La Warr Pavilion
£10 in advance £12 at the door
Free for under 18s  – Students 18 -25 £5


Camera, Sound Play

Thrilling Music from Films, television and computer games with International Festival Orchestra and guest soloists including Oliver Poole (piano) Justin Pearson (cello) Sunny Li (piano)

Includes music from  La La Land and  Harry Potter plus computer game Oure

Enjoy the power of live music with a big orchestra.


7pm Saturday 22nd September
De La Warr Pavilion
£15 in advance £18 at the door
Free for under 18’s


Total piano

 East meets West

Informal conversation and performance

with International piano stars

Oliver Poole and Sunny Li together with

Festival’s Artistic Director Polo Piatti discussing the

art of improvisation and composing

Music, Q and A and performances by Sunni Li and Oliver Poole

10.30 Sunday 23rd
De La Warr Pavilion
Tickets:  £12 in advance £15 at the door
including coffee and cake
Free for under 18’s Students 18-25 £10


Dancing Around The World

A concert for the whole family with Dance and live music

Including premiere of The Crane’s Wife, a specially commissioned ballet composed by Nobuya Monta based on a Japanese fairy story choreographed by Masu Uesugi and performed by her ballet company coming especially from Japan.

Plus six specially commissioned  symphonic dances from around the globe with the International Composers Festival orchestra , choreographed and performed by local dance schools

4pm Sunday 23rd September
De La Warr Pavilion
£12 in advance £15 at the door
Free under 18’s Students 18-25 £10


Tickets available from
Opus Theatre concert Friday 21st September
Hastings Tourist Information Centre


All other concerts at the De La Warr Pavilion
De La Warr Ticket office and online


Festival  VIP passes to all 6 concerts at both venues £60
(a minimum saving of £15)
Hastings Tourist Information CentreDe La Warr Ticket Office


Please Note: Under 16’s must be accompanied by a paying adult

Prom 43

Royal Albert Hall, Tuesday 14th August 2018

Famously founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said, West-Eastern Divan even looks different from other orchestras. It comprises young players from Israel, Palestine and several Arab countries to promote coexistence and intercultural dialogue and you can see the unusual and very welcome diversity before they play a note.

It’s also eye-catching because it’s so huge that it spread along all the tiers right up to the beginning of the Royal Albert Hall’s choir seating although different players come and go for different works – the programme for this rather special concert being as diverse as the players. If anything, the choice of works felt a bit random.

Daniel Barenboim, of course, has become one of those rare conductors who is so beloved and respected that he gets rapturous, near-ovatory, applause even before he raises his baton. In this case he was greeted by a very excited hall full almost to capacity.

We started with the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin. Not advertised in advance, it formed a welcoming, vibrant, tuneful warm up, almost like an encore at the “wrong” end of the programme. Then, still with Tchaikovsky, it was on to Lisa Batiashvili and a rousing account of the violin concerto. Georgian born, she gave us lots of Russian colour with exceptionally clear runs in the first movement. She took it a tad slower than some performers but it was a treat to hear the detail so lovingly articulated. Her dynamics are beautiful too. Filling the vast space of the Royal Albert Hall with very soft trills on harmonics so that every single listener is gripped is no mean feat. Her drama of her finale was well judged and balanced too.

After the interval came the London premiere of Looking for Palestine by David Robert Coleman. It is, effectively, a setting of two scenes from the play, Palestine by Najla Said, Edward Said’s daughter, and tells the story of her thinking about yearning for Palestine at the time of the 2006 war in Lebanon during a visit there and while living in New York.   Musically it’s dramatic with a great deal of interesting percussion – programmatic bangs, whistles and sirens – with anxious twittering strings and a strange twanging across-the-body plucked, string instrument (lute?) which plays a continuo at the front. Barenboim conducted the piece carefully from a score the size of a broadsheet newspaper – the only work in this concert which he didn’t do from memory.

The text was sung in this performance by soprano Elsa Dreisig and that was where the real problem lay. Almost all of it is pitched very high in the voice which meant that the words were, in this case, totally inaudible. Without the printed programme which included the words for this piece it would have been utterly impossible to work out what was happening. The best music speaks for itself. It doesn’t need explanation or resources to support it. I did admire Dreisig’s wistful glissandi, though.

The final work was Scriabin’s 1905 “fourth symphony” which is titled The Poem of Ecstasy and not structured like a classical symphony. It’s a grandiloquent showcase for Western-East Divan and Barenboim allowed all the detail and exotic, sometimes erotic, music to resonate. The principal trumpet got a well deserved round of applause at the end and I liked the way we heard plenty of that slightly grating, gravelly sound of muted trombones adding to the rich chords and cadences. The climactic blaze of bells, drum rolls and scrubbing strings was pretty memorable too.

It was a moving concert because of what West-Eastern Divan stands for – a concert with a sub-text, if you like.  But the standard is impressive as well.  The power of the playing and musical cohesion, especially in the first half, moved me in a different way.

Susan Elkin

Hastings Philharmonic’s New Season

2018/2019 Season

We are thrilled to announce our new season with so many exciting concerts and events. Thank you for supporting us last season and we hope to have fulfilled your expectations. If you were a Hastings Philharmonic Friend/Advertiser we will soon be sending you an invitation to our Friends event which will happen in September. If you weren’t a friend last season become a Bronze Friend for £250 and have access to all concerts. No need to book, after you become a member all you need to do is show up. Please note that our first concert this season, in collaboration with Rye Festival, is not part of our Hastings Season therefore you would need to buy tickets separately.

To become a member please write to [email protected] and we will guide you through.

The three highlights of the season are Handel’s Messiah in November, Carmina Burana in April and the final of the Atatürk Composition Competition which was organized by the Hastings Philharmonic in a concert that will include Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture and Stravisky’s Firebird 1919 Suite.

Our Hastings Season Opening Concert will happen on Friday 12th October with the 2018 winner of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition Roman Kosyakov playing Brahms monumental second piano concerto. We hope to see you there.

Explore our 2018/2019 season HERE and start booking your tickets