Pay what you like at the end of the show!

Adam Swayne
Adam Swayne

You can pay what you like at the end of the evening when The Riot Ensemble play the Petworth Festival.

Under the title Riot in Petworth! they will be offering an evening of contemporary music in Leconfield Hall on Friday, August 2 starting at 7.45pm (ends approximately 9pm, no interval).

The performers will be Sarah Saviet violin; Louise McMonagle cello; Sam Wilson percussion; and Adam Swayne piano – all members of innovative Riot Ensemble, one of the UK’s most ambitious new music ensembles.

The group aims to connect people to great contemporary music in concerts and events that are just as vibrant and rewarding as the music itself.

The programme will include the world premiere of a piece by former Petworth Festival artistic director Terry Allbright, and the idea is that the audience will listen at no initial cost – but are invited to pay as suits their response after the event.

As Adam says: “The only barrier – though I am not really sure it is a barrier – is that this will be music that is unfamiliar to everyone in the room. These pieces are all new or have only been played a couple of times before. And that means no one will come with any preconceptions about the music, other than just knowing that it is music that they don’t know.

“It is free admission, but we are hoping that people will pay what they think it is worth at the end. That was Petworth’s idea, and I think it is a brilliant idea. I have done a few before, and we have never yet had no money at the end of it! I think when people are asked to engage with something in this way on their own terms, they really do respond in a positive way.”

There will certainly be some surprises along the way. For one of the piano pieces, you can expect Adam effectively to be inside the piano.

The full programmes is Terence Allbright – Narratives & Rituals; Cassandra Miller for mira; Paul Burnell – And She Flew; Tom Coult – Inventions (for Heath Robinson); Klaus Huber – Pinselspitze II; Ann Cleare – 93 million miles away; and Gabriella Smith – Anthozoa.

At least three of the composers will be there and will be happy to chat with the audience about their works afterwards.

Adam suggests having a look on the Riot Ensemble website if you want to find out a bit more about the composers beforehand.

Adam, who worked for ten years at the University of Chichester, is now a lecturer in music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester: “I started at the Royal Northern in 2017 and it is great. I really love it there.

“It is a conservatoire. It is a specialist performing institution. The students are great and the colleagues are great. I love the south coast, but there is not really a conservatoire there.”

As for the Riot Ensemble: “It is a contemporary music group based in London, which we started ten years ago.

“When we began in 2009, it was a team of four of us. It has now grown to a board of almost 20 people. It is a player-run organisation. We have instrumentalists from all the different specialisms.

“It is a great thing to be part of. We try to spread the net far and wide in terms of where we play, and we embrace a lot of new media and video in order to try to expand our audiences, and we also try to offer works from all around the world for people to listen to.”

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