AS well as the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra, there are two more classical music societies in our area – Wye Valley Music, and its close relation, the St Briavels Music Society, writes Dave Kent.

Wye Valley Music’s concert last Sunday at the ancient St Mary’s Church, St Briavels, featured a recital of Beethoven piano sonatas performed by the renowned Daniel Tong.

As well as being a masterly pianist, Daniel is Head of Performance at Junior Academy and Head of Piano at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

Each year he plays with an array of wonderful individual artists, often at his own chamber music festival. 

Founded in 1999 the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival attracts many renowned musicians to spend 10 days making music in an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

In addition he has recorded the complete works for cello and violin by Beethoven on period instruments, and his solo release of Beethoven sonatas has been well received.

As well as explaining the context of the music in the age of revolutions in Europe Daniel introduced each sonata. 

As a virtuoso performer of his music Daniel is a leading authority on Beethoven. 

His introduction to each sonata greatly helped in the understanding of these passionate pieces, in the context of the condition of Napoleonic Europe at the time and the composer’s increasing deafness.

This is another local connection with the Birmingham Conservatoire. 

The Conservatoire provided a series of guest conductors for the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra in its early days until local musical directors Fiona Crawley and Will Sharma took over. 

The Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra provides an opportunity for local musicians to take part in an important regional orchestra, while Wye Valley Music brings into our area musicians from all over the world.

As well as presenting concerts at St Briavels and Monmouth, Wye Valley Music hosts a Music Memory Café for people concerned about memory loss or those who are living with a diagnosis of dementia or other brain disorder.

The café welcomes their family members, friends and carers. 

The Music Memory Café takes place every third Wednesday of the month at The Assembly Rooms, East Street, St Briavels. 

Doors open from 10.30am to noon and entrance is free. 

The November Café will be held on 18th November.

Wye Valley Music’s next concert will feature the Brompton String Quartet at the Bridges Centre, Monmouth, at 3.00pm on Sunday 12th November 2023. 

The Quartet’s players are Maja Horvat (violin), Mee-Hyuan (violin), Wallis Power (cello) and Edward Keenan (viola) who are known for their engaging and dynamic performances, and have played at London’s Wigmore Hall and for BBC Radio 3. 

The program includes more Beethoven, this time his String Quartet No 11 and Haydn’s String Quartet No 13 and his Grosse Fuge. 

More information is available at