The highly anticipated Inaugural Hastings International Piano Festival launched last week in spectacular fashion at the White Rock Theatre as audience members were treated to four star filled concerts.

Award-winning songwriter and producer Guy Chambers kicked off proceedings on Wednesday night as he performed piano interpretations of his many hits, whilst presenting the audience with anecdotes and stories fused with humour . The show also included collaborations with rising star Joel Culpepper on vocals and special guest India Blue who together with Guy, left the Hastings crowd with a lasting impression.

 Pianist, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Reuben James and band performed on Thursday with a spirit soaring performance on the White Rock stage of pure class and musical versatility. With an audience of all ages, including pupils from schools that he visited during workshops arranged by the festival, this was a rare and inspiring treat that ended with a much deserved standing ovation for an artist with a hugely bright future.

Friday night’s headline concert with Rufus Wainwright and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was a very special festival experience. This concert was one of the most sought after tickets of the year, being the only performance by Rufus with an orchestra in 2020 in Europe and it was simply spectacular. Fans from all over the continent travelled to Hastings and were left with memories that will last a lifetime as Rufus proved once again exactly why Elton John calls him ‘The greatest songwriter of his generation’.

Rufus was in attendance once again on Saturday night as BBC Young Musician of the Year Martin James Bartlett and previous Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition winner Fumiya Koido & prize-winner Sylvia Jiang joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the second of their back to back concerts on a busy Saturday night as they performed a spectacular Gala concert to end week one of the Hastings International Piano Festival in style, bringing the audience to their feet.


The Festival continues during this first week of spring as we bring you five more concerts at St Mary in the Castle from Wednesday 4th March to Sunday 8th March. Opening the second week is Silent Movie Night ‘Beggars of Life’ with live accompaniment from The Dodge Brothers featuring Mark Kermode and Neil Brand, Queen of British Jazz Claire Martin OBE with Liane Carroll and friends, Academy award-winning composer Rachel Portman and The Puppini Sisters accompanied by The Pasadena Roof Orchestra.

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