Huntsville music festival shutting down after 13-year run

August 11, 2022 GMT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama music festival that put the spotlight on chamber music has shut down after 13 years and nearly 100 performances by classical musicians from around the world.

Twickenham Fest founders Susanna Phillips, a soprano, and Matthew McDonald, a professional bassoonist, announced the closure Monday via the festival’s Facebook page, al.com reported.

“Our goal was a simple one: to bring immensely talented international musicians to the remarkable, vibrant, and warm community of our shared hometown, Huntsville. With full and grateful hearts it is time for us to announce that Twickenham Fest is ending,” the post says.

Organizers did not give a reason for shuttering the festival, which launched in 2009 with just two performances attended by about 30 people. Since then, the event had grown into a weeklong event with ensembles ranging from trios to chamber symphonies. In addition to presenting works by classic masters like Bach, the festival commissioned and world-premiered 10 new compositions. It even staged an opera.

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The statement from Phillips and McDonald, who had no experience organizing or operating a music festival, effusively thanked the Huntsville community for its support through the years.

“You enthusiastically joined us for this wild ride. You raised us, nurtured us and supported us as we became working classical musicians. You cooked meals for our musicians. You babysat our children during rehearsals. You showed up to help us move pianos, stands and chairs,” the statement said.

Alabama blues legend “Microwave Dave” Gallaher was a big fan of Twickenham Fest, posting on Facebook that he was sad to see it come to an end.

“I absorbed so much inspiration from the 12 years of concerts I attended that this will be a quality-of-life issue for me. ... I am so grateful for stunning music I only got to hear once in my life,” his post said.