Honiton Festival is under way

Forget Bath and Edinburgh Festivals, Honiton has one of its own! It is a benchmark for classical music (and other things) in the South West.

Forget Bath and Edinburgh Festivals, Honiton has one of its own! It is a benchmark for classical music (and other things) in the South West. It looks for, and finds, the best of the young musicians of our time and presents top quality concerts. Some famous names of today, including Natalie Clein, have helped to establish their careers through Honiton festival.This is a mini-festival year and it is all happening this week. There will be three events in St Paul's Church in Honiton High Street. St Paul's has wonderful acoustics and musicians enjoy playing there. Instant Sunshine - cabaret, 7.30pm on Thursday, May 7. Instant Sunshine is the title chosen by three doctors who met at St Thomas' Hospital, London, some years ago when they decided to become a comedy musical cabaret trio in their spare time. They sing their own witty, whimsical songs to the acoustic guitar. They are Peter Christie, who writes the words and music, David Barlow and Alan Maryon-Davis, who specialise in comic business and sound effects.We are not talking about classical music here, of course. Their lyrics include "Our budgie has changed to an Orang-Utan"; and their tunes are normally wistful or mock-sentimental. As entertainers, they have been compared to Noel Coward and Flanders and Swann.They perform regularly at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.Hannah Marcinowicz: "The most glamorous and the most talented saxophonist of her generation" will be performing at lunchtime on Friday, May 8, with Daniel Swain on the piano. Music by J S Bach, Grieg, Debussy, Dubois and others will be included in the programme.At daytime concerts, buffet lunches are served in the church from noon. The music will begin at 1pm.Pianist Dmitri Alexeev, already a famous name, will be playing on the evening of Saturday, May 9. Honiton is lucky to have him. Described as "one of the most remarkable pianists of the day", Dmitri, an infant prodigy, entered the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory when he was six years old. He went on to win major prizes in various competitions, including first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, the first Russian artist ever to do so.He has played all over the world and last year included a major tour of the UK with the Russian State symphony Orchestra and gave a performance of Prokoviev's 3rd Piano Concerto with Gatti and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.n It will be a truly exciting week and there isn't much time to reserve tickets. Call the box office on (01404) 43716. You can always arrive on the day on the chance of a spare seat, but buying an advance ticket is advisable.