The Two Moors Festival offers a broad range of activities, including a Residency scheme that gives musicians in the early stages of professional careers the opportunity to work at leisure in an environment away from the demands of a stressful schedule. The facilities, set within idyllic surroundings in the heart of Exmoor, include a studio with excellent acoustics, comfortable accommodation, good food and glorious moorland scenery. The relaxed atmosphere is conducive for artists to arrange their personal practice schedules. The 2MF Residency is an outstandingly successful venture, increasingly in demand as the word spreads throughout the music profession.
Reasons for doing a Residency could include:
- Preparation for a recording, competition or tour
- Working on new repertoire
- Rehearsing for a concert or recital
- Working with a new ensemble
- Composing a new work
Most Residencies last four days. During that time artists rehearse for up to ten gruelling hours a day – it is their choice. They can help themselves to food at their convenience and the evening meal is home cooked. Artists are asked to give a small public recital to about thirty people at the end of their Residency. These are informal, often with conversation between the artists and audience. Most people stay for supper afterwards as it provides a good opportunity to meet the Performers. Selected artists are invited to give a concert in London at a specified venue.
There are tangible benefits to undertaking a Two Moors Residency. They make a real difference to artists’ lives, adding a vital boost to their career trajectory. For example, just one week after his Residency, Jason Gillham (piano) went on to take first prize in the 2014 Montreal International Piano Competition, winning him £17,000 and a full concert schedule including concertos with major orchestras. Of his time with us, Jayson said:
“At the end of the residency I gave a concert featuring the majority of the repertoire I was preparing for the Montreal International Piano Competition. Looking back now I can see how crucial this was in my journey towards winning first prize, because it was really the only time I was able to play the pieces through consecutively in front of a large audience during the lead-up to the competition. I made a video recording of the recital and that became a new starting point from which to build on and improve further in the days following the residency.” Jayson Gillham
The Gildas Quartet first came to Exmoor in 2015 to prepare for a concert season. They found working in this idyllic environment to be “the perfect catalyst for focus and inspiration…the informal concert afforded our rehearsals just the right amount of momentum, and gave us a wonderful opportunity to play chamber music to an appreciative and communicative audience”. The Artistic Director booked the Quartet for four concerts during the 2016 Festival, and one in London. The impact on the Quartet of both the Residency and the prestigious performance engagements they were given was such that they have reached the finals of the International String Quartet Competition at Wigmore Hall in April 2018. They also asked for – and were given - another Residency in March 2018 in order to help them to focus and prepare.
The Busch Ensemble Residency in 2012 also found the experience immensely rewarding, so important to them in fact that they now see these kinds of experiences as an integral part of their yearly schedule planning. They also told us that the concentrated working period was hugely beneficial prior to their CD recording, and said that any group that might have a big project to contend with would find such an opportunity invaluable.
The Festival keeps in touch with past Residents and is often able to support them, either within the Festival or by introducing them to other musicians. For example, 2015/16 Residents Nicholas Mogg, Jâms Coleman and Lorena Paz Nieto all contributed to the 2017 Festival. Following his spectacular win at the Montreal International Piano Competition, 2MF put Jayson Gilham in touch with the superb Carducci Quartet. They now work together regularly.
In addition, there is significant anecdotal evidence - from both Residents and invited audience members – confirming that 2MF is providing a service that is of immeasurable value to so many people, both in the short and longer term.
The addition of ongoing professional development support and mentoring, a new addition to the programme from 2019, will benefit up to 20 musicians a year and unquestionably make the Two Moors Residency Programme increasingly valuable and sought after by emerging artists.
Please contact the Artistic Director Penny Adie for further details.