Mark Fewer: Vale of Glamorgan Festival

Mark Fewer: Vale of Glamorgan Festival

Ahead of this year’s Vale of Glamorgan Festival, we’re taking a closer look at the musicians set to perform at the Festival. In the first of these preview pieces, David Roche tells us more about what to expect from Canadian violinist Mark Fewer.

This year, the Vale of Glamorgan Festival is extremely proud to welcome extraordinary Canadian violinist Mark Fewer to Wales. As parts of a series of wonderful concerts – curated by Mark Fewer and the VoGF – audiences will be able to hear Mark Fewer’s characteristic and spectacularly eclectic musical approach to making music. It’s a rare opportunity to hear some beautiful, provocative, and rarely-heard music.

One such piece (and the gem in the crown of this year’s festival) is Bramwell Tovey’s Nine Daies Wonder – a concerto for violin and brass band being performed with the mighty (RPS and Sky Arts Award winning) Tredegar Town Band. Sitting atop our opening night, this is a musical nod to Will Kempe – known for his ferocious violin skills  – who Morris Danced from London to Norwich in 1600. Although Tovey draws upon Fewer’s theatrical performance abilities as well as his virtuosity as a violinist, Nine Daies Wonder is something an outlier in the ultra-technical world of brass band music. The freedom of spoken word elements and fiery violin playing being balanced against the tight, large-ensemble organisation of brass band music.

As well as being an expert concert soloist and orchestra leader, Mark Fewer is a superb chamber musician. His performances with Huw Watkins will highlight this, and some of the best music from living Welsh composers with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s Composer Affiliate Sarah Lianne Lewis’ intricate and tactile Until the thread breaks… seeing a performance alongside Steph Power’s swirling, powerful, ISCM World Music Days nominated Dreamtides.


You’ll also have the chance to hear Mark Fewer as a soloist – completely unaccompanied – performing a series of newly-commissioned caprices in All Saints Church. This is a rare chance to hear one of the world’s most varied, unusual, and exciting artists performing in a huge range of powerful and moving contexts (and, for what it’s worth, we haven’t even touched on his legacy as an conductor, arranger, teacher, and artistic director). Mark Fewer is prolific and brilliant – I’d definitely recommend taking the time to attend this year’s festival and catch him in action for yourself!

You can check out the Vale of Glamorgan’s Mark Fewer Playlist here. He is extraordinary, please go and listen.

The Vale of Glamorgan Festival runs from 22nd – 30th September and tickets are available here.