Report of the Committee for 2019

Report of the Committee for 2019Print/PDF

This annual report summarises Strings Attached activity during 2019, and includes the Coffee Concert Season 2018/9.

We’ve had another successful season of Coffee Concerts, the eighth provided by Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival.

During the 2018/19 we heard performances from Coffee Concert favourite quartets the Castalian and Doric, and also heard the young and impressive Marmen Quartet for the first time. There were two trios: the Jacquin  (clarinet, violin/viola and piano) who treated us to an innovative piece composed by the clarinettist, Charlotte Bray, and the Aquinas Piano Trio, whom we were pleased to welcome again. An unusual concert was provided by solo cellist Phillip Higham, who performed 3 of Bach’s cello suites. Not chamber music in the strictest sense, perhaps, but a thrilling performance nonetheless.

We are, as ever, grateful to Chris Darwin for his programme notes, now an established very popular feature of the concerts, and to Andrew Polmear (and occasionally Helen Simpson and Guy Richardson) for his ever prompt and interesting official ‘Strings Attached’ reviews, and also for providing the newsletter.

Whilst we were not able to provide additional sponsored concerts this year due to the limited availability of our temporary venue, the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of Sussex, we nonetheless received generous offers which we are already planning to put to good use when we eventually return to the Corn Exchange.

The refurbishment of the Corn Exchange has been delayed due to the main contractor, R Durtnell and Sons, ceasing trading in July after 400 years of operation. Westridge Construction was appointed in November as interim contractors to complete the project. The transformation – both as sensitive restoration of this important Grade 1 listed building and as an exceptional twenty first century events venue – is already very impressive. We look forward to hearing when it will be possible to return.

Our membership of the Cavatina Scheme has continued. It is good to see several younger attendees at every concert. Leaflets advertising the concert series and encouraging young people to join the audience on free tickets were widely distributed in regular concert venues in Brighton and Hove, Lewes and Seaford.

Thanks are due to David Botibol for maintaining our website and Chris Darwin for maintaining the pages containing the calendar of chamber music events and for local amateur performers.

We are grateful to Andrew Comben and Amanda Northcote Green for the continuing successful collaboration with Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival over a range of issues including publicity and advance notice of the programme for the year.

Our work is only possible as a result of the kind generosity of Friends – your subscriptions and donations will be helping not only to keep the future of the Coffee Concerts secure but also to provide more wonderful chamber music for people who live around Brighton and Hove.  Donations in particular will make it possible occasionally to provide extra concerts after our return to the Corn Exchange. If you would like to find out more or make a donation please contact us at

On 31 December 2019 we had 98 Friends.

Current Committee:

Mary McKean (Chair) Christine Moon (Treasurer) Margaret Polmear (Secretary) Guy Richardson Helen Simpson

Mary McKean