Previously known as Music at Lunchtime


Email: mikebutterwoth@waitrose.com


Church of St Mary the Virgin, Aylesbury



Thursdays. 12.45. £5.00, 18 and under free

Admissions payment from 12.15. Cash only, no pre-booking necessary


Yes, Aylesbury has become one of the best towns in the country – comparing like with like – for regular chamber music. As you can see we do not spend on wasteful glossy publicity, but this series (we are told) is among the finest of its kind in the UK – international professional musicians in weekly concerts of usually around an hour. We do our best to maintain an admission price which is affordable to anyone interested, and endeavour always to offer fresh, varied and broad-ranging programmes, not forgetting living composers. We are responsive to requests for favourite works, and generous donations and monetary gifts from an enthusiastic audience make possible concerts otherwise beyond our means, usually featuring larger ensembles. If you haven’t tried us, please do so – we hope you will find everything friendly, welcoming and up to expectations.  

Many of our musicians have websites and are on YouTube and other such platforms, so you can easily check them out for yourselves.

St Mary’s now has an excellent vegan café up and running, so why not combine your visit with lunch or refreshments?



5th September. CONSONE STRING QUARTET. Agata Daraskaite, Magdalena Loth-Hill, violins; Elitsa Bogdanova, viola George Ross, cello.

This replaces the advertised concert, cancelled because of a family tragedy.  Our 2019/20 season now begins with a wonderful opportunity to hear a superb young string quartet, just selected by the BBC as New Generation Artists, having already won the 2016 Royal Overseas League Ensemble Prize and other plaudits. The quartet was formed at the Royal College of Music in 2012 with the aim exploring of the Classical and early Romantic repertory on period instruments, with a special focus on the neglected teenage Schubert quartets. We are having one of these, the C major D32, in our programme, along with two of Haydn’s most adventurous and exciting quartets, the D major Op 20/4, and the so-called Rider Quartet in G minor Op 74/3. It is worth noting that they are flying back from Hungary after playing in the Haydn Room at the Esterházy Palace, where the great man was in charge of music for years, a day or two before our concert. Do check the Consone Quartet website, and also read the rave reviews of their debut CD, which will be on sale. We would like to openly thank the quartet for stepping into the breech after the sad cancellation of the Messiaen.  


12th September. PANARETOS KYRIATZIDIS, piano.

Popular with our ‘regulars’, popular with his fellow-musicians, Panaretos’s versatility is a hugely appreciated asset to the contemporary London musical scene; at the moment he is working towards founding his own opera company. Although better known as an accompanist he is a fine solo pianist, and as such he is launching our two-year celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary with sonatas in sunny major keys. It took a while to choose – they’re all so wonderful, says Panaretos. But we have the beautifully contrasted selection of the quirky F major, Op 10/2, the Pastoral in D Op 28 – one of Beethoven’s own favourites – and the epic Waldstein in C Op 53. 


19th September. ADRIAN OLDLAND, piano.

Since winning the Alfred Kitchin Prize in 2010, Adrian has become of the UK’s most sought after younger pianists, with further multinational prizes and a busy  career throughout Europe, as well as at home. He is an unashamed Schumann specialist, and for his second visit will be playing for us Kinderszenen and Arabeske, as well as Chopin’s great E major Scherzo, Brahms’ two evergreen Rhapsodies Op 79, and a Liszt/Schumann arrangement.


26th September. GENEVIÈVE USHER, soprano, and friends: Iona Voicu-Arnautoiu, Jane MacSween, violins; Elizabeth Hart, viola; Rosalind Laher, cello; Alan Thomas, cello; Norman MacSween, organ continuo.

Versatile and enterprising soprano Geneviève has assembled this ensemble for a performance of a particularly treasurable setting of the Stabat Mater – a medieval poem on Mary’s suffering as she witnesses Christ’s crucifixion – composed by Boccherini, a pioneer of chamber music who influenced Haydn, and whose honourable place in musical history is only now being given its due. This work belongs to 1781, and although composed in Spain reflects the composer’s Italian origins. A combination of baroque echoes in a classical world, it is of exquisite poignancy. As a contrast members of the instrumental group are playing a vigorous Trio Sonata in G by another pioneer, CPE Bach. Notes, the Latin text and translation will be available. Thanks again to our audience for making this possible.


3rd October. DRUCKER PIANO QUARTET. Maria Kouznetsova, violin; Henrietta Hill, viola; Toby White, cello; Ryan Drucker, piano. But see below

With the exception of Maria (see Wikipedia), these musicians have memorably been to Aylesbury before, and we know how good they are! By the time we hear this newish combination – coming together in 2017 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as postgraduate students and a Junior Fellow – they will have had their debut at the 2019 Lake District Summer Festival. As Henrietta says, we believe in exploring the wonderful piano quartet repertory already well loved, and lesser known contemporary works. Well, Fauré’s C minor Piano Quartet Op 15 certainly is well loved, for its ardour and melodic richness; and Charlotte Bray’s Zustände certainly is contemporary. Arguably the finest composer of her generation (born 1982), Bray composed this work in 2016; it deals with the ‘states’ of ice, cracking ice, as an iceberg, as an ice field. The final work is a very English journey back to warmth and safety: William Alwyn’s 1939 Rhapsody – music by this composer has been requested.  

STOP PRESS!!!! Note from David: Ryan Drucker has sustained an injury, and cannot play. The excellent pianist GAMAL KHAMIS is taking his place, and the programme is now: MOZART, Piano Quartet in E flat and FAURÉ, Piano Quartet in C minor. To echo our illustrious [thank you] Webmaster, both ‘belters’! 


10th October. CLARE DENIZ, cello.

‘More Bach!’ has been a consistent demand, and this concert is a major response (see also 7th November). Cellist Clare, one upon a time in the Strawbs rock band, and now – after studying under Jacqueline du Pré and mentorship by Paul Tortelier – having a busy international career in classical music as a performer and teacher, is coming to Aylesbury to play nothing but JSB. We are going to hear no less than three of the solo Suites written around 1720 – no 2 in D, no 4 in E flat, and no 6 in D. These are collections of contrasted dances, introduced by a free-form Prelude, and at the heart of western instrumental music. In the St Mary’s acoustic they will sound particularly fine. There was a stillness which allowed Bach’s music to speak across the centuries to the audience (report of Clare at the Dawlish Festival). See also 21st November.


17th October. MASAYUKI TAYAMA, piano.

A rare and extraordinary virtuoso, with musicianship like no other – an enthusiastic blast from Moscow directed at Masayuki, but anyone fortunate to have been at his previous recital in Aylesbury would not have dismissed this as hyperbole: ‘Get him back!’ was the clear instruction, and here he is. Born in Japan, he has been drawn to London, initially to complete his studies, and then as a base for an international career. His Wigmore Hall debut was a sell-out. A Rachmaninov specialist (he is recording the piano music for a Japanese label – CDs on sale), Masayuki is intriguingly playing some of the composer’s transcriptions: Mussorgsky, Bizet, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Behr, as well as Chopin (including the Revolutionary Etude), and – as the main work – Beethoven’s sublime last sonata, the C minor, Op 111, for many the greatest piano sonata ever written.     


24th October. HELOÏSE WERNER, soprano; NATALIE BURCH, piano.

Is there a more vital and dynamic soprano working in the UK at the moment than Paris-born Heloïse, or a more versatile enterprising accompanist than Natalie? Both are involved, with Hermes Experiment and SongSpiel respectively, at the cutting-edge of creating new musical and performing possibilities. We are having a performance of Britten’s rapturous song-cycle Les Illuminations, with a text from Rimbaud, and then what are likely to be world premieres of two works written in response to the Britten, by Jonathan Woolgar and Heloïse herself – a programme which is going to tour the country. We hope Hermes Experiment itself will return in 2021; Anne Denholm, their amazing harpist, is booked for 30 April next year.    

This project is generously supported by Wild Plum Arts in partnership with the Britten-Pears Foundation, and the Hinrichsen Foundation. 


31st October. KAPSETAKI TWINS. Stephanie and Marianna Kapsetaki, solo and four-hands piano.

On their first visit to Aylesbury, here we have professional musicians with a Europe-wide reputation who are also scientists: a neurologist (Stephanie) and evolutionary biologist (Marianna). One can only look at their website and Wikipedia with something like awe. Anyway, as pianists between them they have won 1st prize in ten international competitions, and four-hand prizes also. Just as they seem to move tirelessly between music and science, their music-making smoothly rings the changes particularly between their native Greece (specifically Crete) and the UK, piling up recitals and appearances for charity. We have solos (Scarlatti, Chopin warhorses: Fantasie Impromptu, Ballade no 3), a four-hand Liszt warhorse (Hungarian Rhapsody no 2) and ‘surprises’.


7th November. ANYSSA NEUMANN, piano.

When Anyssa included Bach at her previous Aylesbury recital you could have heard a pin drop. Someone mentioned the Goldberg Variations, and here she is to play what is arguably Bach’s keyboard masterpiece. The newspaper of her native Sacramento put it perfectly: Clarity, charm equipoise… liquid grace, live-wire tautness… a pianist who has established a deep connection with the Bach repertoire. Anyssa divides her time between the USA and London, as a bridge to Europe. She has written about the pianist Glenn Gould and on the use of music by the great Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman: she has just spent the summer as Artist in Residence at the Bergman Estate, Fârö. Any performance of the Goldberg is an event, and this should not be missed.


14th November. POPPY BEDDOE, clarinet; HENRIETTA HILL, viola; RACHEL WATSON, cello.

These three splendid musicians were last together at Aylesbury as members of the Scordatura Women’s Music Collective, and all have diverse and interesting careers – Rachel, for example, was a founder of the London Street Orchestra, and Henrietta has already appeared this autumn (see 3rd October). Poppy is one of the brightest and best of the UK’s young clarinettists. Their programme, featuring six female composers, four of them very much alive, is as interesting as one would dare to hope. It begins with Rebecca Clarke’s lovely 1941 Prelude, Allegro and Pastorale, for clarinet and viola, followed by Rhiannon Randle’s 2019 Duo, commissioned to be played with the Clarke. Amy Bryce’s The House that Man Built was composed for our players for the Suffrage Centenary last year, and makes use of contact mics. A transcription of a chant by Hildegard von Bingen leads us into a piece which quotes another chant by the medieval abbess, Hilary Tann’s Kilvert’s Hills. Caroline Shaw’s limestone+ felt (‘good fun’) ends the concert.


21st November. TRIO PIERNÉ. Ana Rodriguez, flute; Clare Deniz, cello; Alan Brown, piano.

The trio tells us that its repertory ranges from Baroque to the present day, but its core repertory is the sparkling and effervescent compositional oeuvre which transports the listener to the romanticism of the nineteenth century music salon. So: Friedrich Kuhlau was a Danish contemporary of Beethoven, and we are going to hear his Grand Trio in G minor; Weber was another Beethoven contemporary, and his substantial G minor Trio concludes the concert. The central work is an arrangement of the Piano Trio in G the young Debussy composed in 1880, but unpublished until 1986. The performers (including Clare Deniz, 10th October) are all prize winners of a calibre to make this a really delightful occasion. 


28th November. MEERA MAHARAJ, flute; DOMINIC DEGAVINO, piano.

Formed in 2017, the duo has enjoyed considerable success, not least as the winners of the Royal Academy of Music Flute Prize. Both musicians have now completed their Masters at RAM and Guildhall respectively, and are looking forward to developing their duo partnership and other individual music ventures. Between them they have already played at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and many big London venues. They are playing two of the most treasured works in the repertoire, Bach’s E major Sonata, with its lovely Siciliana, and Prokofiev’s tuneful D major Sonata, which is also well known in its violin version, tailed by the 2017 Sonata by Andy Scott, more familiar in the world of the saxophone (an instrument featuring next year).



This concert not only owes a debt to our audience generosity, but to those members of the Portuguese musical community in London who have come together to present the wonderful Ernest Chausson Concert for us. This is an event! Named after the baroque French concert, it is a kind of concerto for violin and piano, with a string quartet instead of an orchestra, and full of the kind of powerful emotional language one would expect from a piece of 1890; in the St Mary’s acoustic with these players it cannot fail to make an impact. Also, Carla and Saul will conclude our little Clara Schumann bi-centennial celebration with the exquisite Three Romances, written for the great violinist Joseph Joachim, and the quartet, hair down, will play Piazzolla’s Four for Tango. Carla and Saul are well known to us as the Dryads Duo; Joana is a member of Artisti con Brio (their year-opening performance of the Dvorak E flat String Quintet had a huge ‘thumbs up’) and will be adding to her appearances at Aylesbury in Beethoven quartets 2020/1; Nuno is an ex-member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and now plays in the Philharmonia, Sofia is a prize-winning violist and Artist-in-Residence in the Belgian Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, and Miguel is a cellist in the City of Birmingham SO.    


12th December. AERIS BRASS. Ian Sankey, Martin Lee Thomson, Ali Goodwin, Adam Crighton, trombones.

We don’t often feature the trombone at Aylesbury, and to have four of them is a real treat, especially as they bring along such innovation and enterprise. Aeris Brass, which won this year’s British Trombone Society Quartet Competition, was formed in 2015 to make music with friends and to take that music to places they loved… The four commission new music, as well as make arrangements of pieces across the musical spectrum, some of which we shall hear, sending new sonorities around the church. A special pleasure should be a new piece by Laura Jurd, the brilliant jazz trumpeter. We are promised a little tinsel dusting, but even without it a most unusual and entertaining hour is guaranteed.     



This listing was correct at the time of issue, but Aylesbury Lunchtime Music reserves the right to change programmes. We always do our best to give advance notice, but to be sure you should subscribe to our email service



Mike also updates our website: www.aylesburylunchtimemusic.co.uk 

We positively invite any comments about our concerts direct to us or to Mike via email.


Our sole source of income is from our admission receipts, plus any extra donations our supporters feel they can give us.

These donations are RING-FENCED FOR MUSIC, and NEVER spent on overheads.


Aylesbury Lunchtime Music is grateful to Fr Doug Zimmerman, the Rector of St Mary’s, for making the performers and organising team so welcome, and to Karen Baker, the Parish Administrator, who prints our programmes and helps in other ways beyond the call duty and her precious time.


Our concerts last usually around an hour, but it is best to allow 75 minutes.


The team:

Mike Butterworth: hosting, website, email, publicity, press liaison

Trevor Dawe: hosting

Colin Ferris; treasurer and page turner

Janet Frost: hosting and admission desk

David Mulraney: programming, programmes, listings

Marion Mulraney: admission desk

Jane Turner: hosting












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