The 2006 Festival opened with Beats4Three percussion trio. Alonso Mendoza (lecturer in Percussion at the Birmingham Conservatoire) with rising stars Jason Huxtable and Timothy Palmer played Mexican music and contemporary works for percussion.
'The hot, spicy rhythms and laid-back style of virtuoso Mexican percussionist Alonso Mendoza has been making a big impact in celebrating cultural diversity…’ (The Times)
The second concert was given by the acclaimed Anglo-Scandinavian trio Stekpanna (jazz trio) with the inimitable Digby Fairweather (trumpet)
'A coolly inventive group with a broad view, adaptable skills and plenty of sparky moments.’ (The Guardian)
The third professional concert featured the highly popular and prestigious international tenor James Gilchrist in partnership with pianist Anna Tilbrook. Their recital included Mozart, Schumann, Liszt and Finzi.
‘James Gilchrist’s bright, ringing tenor voice is compelling from the first note, but it’s the range of expression and unaffected musicality that leave the lasting impression.’ (BBC Music Magazine)