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L’Heure Exquise – A celebration of female composers

L’Heure Exquise (The Exquisite Hour)

In an attempt to bring songs by female composers of the past back in the spotlight and to celebrate their work, Marie Lemaire and Jenny Martins researched a rich and rarely performed repertoire to create an hour long programme of exquisite music. The journey starts with one of the best known female composer of the 19th Century, Clara Schumann. They then perform three songs by Amy Beach, legendary American composer and pianist who defied all traditional conventions and set foot into a world of musical maestros to create some of the most notable work of her period. Returning to Germany, they look at the work of Fanny Mendelssohn, sister of Felix Mendelssohn before discovering Poldowski’s songs, full of energy and emotions. The recital ends with a song cycle by Liza Lehmann who was the first president of the Society of Women Musicians.

Marie Lemaire (Soloist) studied singing at the Royal Conservatoire of Lie ge (Belgium) with Greta de Reyghere. In 2007, she moved to the UK to further her training and participated in masterclasses with Emma Kirkby, Maria Christina Kiehr and Noelle Barker. Based in Cambridge until 2015, Marie sang with the choir of Christ’s College, and the University of Cambridge Chamber Choir and Baroque Ensemble. Marie then joined the Education Department at Opera North. As soloist, Marie regularly performs in England and Belgium, focussing mainly on chamber and early music.

Jenny Martins (on Piano) is an accompanist for Opera North education, Halle Youth Choir and Leeds College of Music. Originally from Keighley, West Yorkshire, Jenny studied music at Newcastle University, where she trained in piano performance to Masters level with Eileen Bown and David Murray. Before moving to Leeds in 2015, Jenny enjoyed a freelance career in the North East for a number of years – accompanying choirs such as the Northern Sinfonia Chorus and Quay Voices, and working in local universities and schools.

The performance will take place in the beautiful period drawing room in Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the bar will be open before the performance serving a selection of wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks.

Tickets £12 (£10 for students)


24th Aug 2017

7pm - 9pm


The interruptions of home life are never ending

Elizabeth Gaskell 1863