Meet the Composer

Innovative and informal presentations about classical music’s master composers from one of the UK’s leading chamber groups

In our ‘Meet the Composer’ days, the Pleyel Ensemble, formed in Manchester in 2011 and now well-established as one of the UK’s leading chamber groups, offers innovative and informal presentations about three of classical music’s Master Composers; Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Ideal for festivals and designed for audiences of all ages and experiences, these presentations follow on from two highly-successful series which took place at Emmanuel Church in Didsbury between 2013 and 2019 as well as one currently under way. Mozart Plus! saw 18 concerts including all of Mozart’s  music for violin and keyboard, and the ensuing Haydn Plus! featured Haydn’s complete piano trios in 20 recitals. Beethoven Plus! is at present exploring all his piano-based chamber works during a series of some thirty concerts.

Meet the Composer‘ presentations are fully flexible in length and content. They are offered as:

  • Full day events with three hour-long recitals spread across the day suitable for festivals or study days.
  • Full-length evening or lunchtime recitals of 90 minutes plus an interval.
  • 60 minute performances perfect for daytime or evening concerts.

Get in touch with us today to enquire about booking!

Artwork by Ian Hill-Smith


Harvey Davies (piano) and Sarah Ewins (violin) explore the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart written for violin and keyboard. Spanning twenty-four years of his short life, these thirty-two sonatas demonstrate the progress of the young genius from the age of 7 to three years before his tragically early death at just 35.

Alongside performances of a selection of these works, Harvey reads excerpts from Mozart’s own colourful letters and other contemporary writings, illustrating the social and political climate at the time these works were composed.

To his father, April 24th 1784, Vienna:  

“ We have the famous Strinasacchi from Mantua here right now; she is a very good violinist, has excellent taste and a lot of feeling in her playing. I’m composing a sonata for her (K.454 in B flat) at this moment that we we’ll be performing together Thursday in her concert at the theatre. Also, some quartets by a certain Pleyel have just been published; he is a pupil of Joseph Haydn. If you don’t know them, try to get a hold of them; you’ll find them worth your while. They are very well composed and most pleasant to listen to; you’ll hear at once who his Teacher was. It would be a good and fortunate day for music, if someday Pleyel were able to be the new Haydn for us!”

Sarah & Harvey offer either three presentations each of 60 minutes in length suitable for a festival or series, or a single performance of 90 minutes plus an interval, for full-length lunchtime or evening concerts. 


Artwork by Ian Hill-Smith


Harvey Davies (piano), Sarah Ewins (violin) & Heather Bills (‘cello) trace Joseph Haydn’s life through his wonderful piano trios. They span four decades of the composer’s career and we complement the music with Haydn’s vivid letters and other contemporary writings revealing the fascinating world of this great composer and his times. Haydn taught our very own Ignaz Pleyel and wrote of him:

Pleyel behaved so modestly towards me upon his arrival (in London, 1792) that he won my affection again. We are very often together, and this does him credit, for he knows how to appreciate his father.’

Continuously innovative as a composer, Haydn’s genius and creative evolution are illuminated in this original and exciting presentation. Once again, the design of these performances is flexible and they are offered in different formats according to your requirements:

60 minutes with no interval, suitable for a daytime presentation.

90 minutes with interval for a full-length lunchtime or evening performance.

3 x 60 minutes spread across a single day or days, appropriate for a series or festival.


The Divine Spark by Ian Hill-Smith


The 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth has offered more than enough reason to look more closely at this giant of the Classical & Romantic period. Straddling the 18th and 19th centuries, he built on the heritage of Bach, Handel, Haydn & Mozart, constantly pushing the boundaries of compositional technique and virtuosity and thoroughly reflecting the revolutionary times in which he lived. Constantly challenged by his precarious health, which seemed only to increase his determination, Beethoven’s great legacy through his music is that of the unconquerable human spirit.

To the Archduke Rudolph, Vienna, late March, 1811:

‘…when Your Imperial Highness was hampered by your sore finger I began to work rather hard; and one of the fruits of this diligence is a new pianoforte trio.’ (The ‘Archduke’ trio Op. 97)

Currently programming Beethoven’s entire piano-based chamber music, the Pleyel Ensemble offer a biopic of the great man through the lens of his piano trios. Harvey Davies, Sarah Ewins & Heather Bills expose the man and his music from the cheekily daring Opus 1 to the mighty ‘Archduke’ with informative historical background and extracts from his letters. 

Upcoming Meet the Composer Events

No shows booked at the moment.