Newsletter #35 February 2019

Welcome to our thirty fifth newsletter – designed to keep you informed about our activities, as well as other local chamber music events.


The Doric String Quartet gave the January concert. Their delicate, expressive, transparent way of playing brought a new clarity to Haydn and Bartok, although our reviewer felt it made the Mendelssohn seem a little lightweight. See reviews on

The fifth concert in the series will be given on 24 February at 11 am in the Attenborough Centre by the Castalian Quartet with Daniel Lebhardt, piano.

  • Haydn String Quartet Op. 20 No. 2
  • Elgar String Quartet in E minor Op. 83
  • Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor Op. 34
Photo credit Kaupo Kikkas

The Castalian have played at four previous coffee concerts, and we keep asking to have them back for more. So is there anything new to say about them?  Yes, there’s their name for a start. Castalia was a nymph turned into a spring at Delphi by Apollo. Those who drank her water, or even heard the sound that it made, were inspired to make great art.

Another interesting point is that they were not formed as students at one of the Music Colleges. The Quartet formed in 2011 but of the original players only Daniel, on second violin, remains. He jokes that perhaps there was something wrong with him that the other three left. Absolutely not! He is a tremendous second violinist. It’s often said that it’s the second violin that makes the difference between a good quartet and a great one. The Strings Attached review of their last concert made this point and said that Daniel was up there with the best. This prompted Sini Simonen, the leader, to email us to say how pleased she was with that comment because she thought so too. Our photo celebrates this by putting him in front.
About Sini herself, a reviewer last year wrote that she “seems to pull inspiration straight down from the skies”. But the real point is that it’s not a question of individuals; it’s their ability to gel that makes their playing so much more than the sum of their parts.

Finally, people ask where they are from. Starting with the leader and working downwards they are Finnish, Welsh, French and English.

Daniel Lebhardt is a young Hungarian pianist who joins the Castalian for the Brahms. He has been winning prizes since 2014, and performs at the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, as well as all over Europe and in the USA.


The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) is at The University of Sussex at Falmer. We are still using ACCA while the refurbishment of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange enters its final stages.
There is free parking at the Sports Centre near ACCA, and at other car parks on the campus nearby (it being Sunday). There are excellent public transport links:

  • by train from Brighton and Lewes; or
  • by bus: No. 25 from Hove or Brighton, No. 23 from Brighton Marina or No.s 28 and 29 from Brighton or, coming the other way, from Tunbridge Wells via Uckfield and Lewes.

Help with transport
A happy tradition is established whereby Strings Attached members offer lifts to others who would otherwise have difficulty with transport. If a lift has not already been arranged for you and you would like a lift, or if you would like to offer one, email the secretary, Margaret Polmear, on . It will only be possible to find a lift for you if there happens to be someone in your area who is offering one.

Tickets for all concerts are available from the Brighton Dome box office (01273 709709) at £18.50 (concessions £16). They are also available on or from ACCA on the day.Tickets for those aged 8 to 25 are free under the Cavatina Scheme. These free tickets can only be booked by visiting the box office in person. The Brighton Dome box office can issue them in advance; the ACCA box office will be open on the morning of the concert. Either the young person should be present at the time of booking, or the person booking must show proof of age, e.g. a passport. Under 14s must be accompanied to the concert by a paying adult.


Because of the high cost of holding the Strings Attached Annual General Meeting at the Attenborough Centre, this year’s will again be held at 9 Powis Square, Brighton BN1 3HH on Thursday, 28 February at 12.00.

Because the AGM is being held in a private home, it is vital that you let us know by Thursday, 21 February at the latest whether you intend to come by contacting the Secretary, Margaret Polmear, on 01273 328085 or at .  This is so that appropriate seating can be provided or an alternative larger venue arranged if expected attendance makes this necessary.

Please note that parking in and around Powis Square is very limited.

If you intend to come to the meeting, please bring with you the following papers:

Agenda for AGM 2019
Minutes of the 2018 AGM
Annual Report for 2018
Statement of Accounts for 2018
Data protection policy
Register of systems

They can be downloaded from We will not supply copies on the day.

As last year, feedback from members about the current coffee concert season will not be sought at the meeting but through a future newsletter. The agenda for the meeting will be largely confined to required AGM business including approval of the annual report and accounts and election of the committee for the forthcoming year. It is expected to be a short, administrative meeting.

If you have any other item for discussion (which should not include feedback about the coffee concerts which, as indicated above, will be gathered separately), please inform Margaret Polmear as above by Thursday, 21 February.

Nomination of committee members
Strings Attached has a committee currently comprising 5 members. The committee meets 4 or 5 times a year with email communication between meetings. If you would like to become involved, either as a committee member or by helping behind the scenes, please contact the Chair, Mary McKean on 01273 554278 or at .

Contribution to the AGM discussion in the event of being unable to attend
If you are unable to come to the AGM but have comments on the papers or ideas for future activity, please send them to the Secretary, Margaret Polmear, as above by Thursday, 21 February.

Booking is now open for members of the Brighton Festival which will take place from 4 – 26 May. Public booking opens on 22 February. There’s quite a bit of chamber music in the programme but not always what you might expect. For instance, Stile Antico will be singing Dowland’s Lachrimae pavans but to modern text of testimonies from migrants, and interspersed with semi-improvised work by Rihab Azar. Our horizons are likely to be stretched! See .

The series of chamber music concerts run by the Nicholas Yonge Society in Lewes continues with the Heath Quartet on 1 March, playing Haydn, Ligeti and Beethoven. The Heath is a late replacement for vision quartet, whose cellist has fallen off his bicycle and damaged his shoulder. Tickets are available on or on the door. If you can’t hear them in Lewes, they will play the same programme the day before, 28 February, in Chichester, see .

Details of concerts in Brighton and Hove churches and those organised by other music societies in Seaford, Steyning and Chichester can be accessed via the Strings Attached website. Go to and choose “Calendar” from the menu.