Hastings has a rich classical music tradition, from fully-staged opera to choral and instrumental concerts. In Hastings, classical music is truly the ‘people’s music’. Many residents here are trained professional musicians, and come together in groups that produce music of extraordinary quality.
Some notable examples of these groups are Opera South East, the Hastings Philharmonic Choir, and the Sussex Concert Orchestra. We should also mention the Hastings Musical Festival, which is said to be the second largest music festival in the UK, hosts a major international piano competition, and provides a competitive stage for many young performers who have subsequently become professionals.
Baroque Opera Live is proud to add itself to this list and hopes to make a worthy contribution to the Hastings classical music scene.
A number of individual classical musicians in Hastings provide outstanding teaching and inspiration for both adults and youngsters:
- Pianist Nancy Cooley has worked with Glyndebourne Opera and now runs music courses for children in Hastings
- Opera singer and director Jenny Miller runs courses for aspiring singers
- Former opera singer Jane Metcalfe is known as a classical voice coach with a real talent to help develop voices of all ages to professional standard
- Busy singing teacher Molly Townson has honed the voices of many young students and is especially renowned for her tireless work with the Hastings Musical Festival.
- Dedicated musician Sandra Lambourne organises free classical music lunchtime concerts which take place at Holy Trinity Church every Wednesday during the summer months.
Classical Music Venues in Hastings
Hastings’ favourite and best classical music venue is the St Mary in the Castle Arts Centre, an ancient building built into the cliff, with wonderful acoustics. St Mary in the Castle is used for many concerts and other classical music events, and doubles as an art gallery.
The White Rock Theatre was originally built as a concert venue and has been home to many fully-staged operas with chorus and orchestra over the years.
Holy Trinity Church is home to lunchtime concerts of classical music which run every Wednesday during the summer. Entry is free but donations are welcome.
All Saints Church in Hastings Old Town has a fine Father Willis organ built in 1878, and holds weekly organ recitals in the summer, by leading cathedral and international recitalists.
Ticket prices for classical music in Hastings
If you are new to Hastings, you will find these very reasonable. Hastings is classed as one of the poorest areas of the UK, so it is not unusual to get excellent seats at the White Rock Theatre for under £20 to see a fully-staged opera. Classical music concert tickets can often be found for under £10, even for concerts starring prestigious international guest artists.
Hastings Classical Music