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‘Yet there was another stand-out moment … the ecstatic Goddess (2009), by the composer-in-residence Edward Gregson. It was fabulously played by the solo violist Rachel Roberts, the Presteigne Festival Orchestra and Vass’ (Presteigne Festival, 2017) – The Times

‘Under the alert and responsive direction of conductor George Vass, to whom the score is dedicated, the Nova Music Opera Ensemble brought out the melodic and rhythmic felicities of the score. Virtuosic elements were never underplayed, yet the emotional arc of the opera’s 13 unbroken scenes was of paramount importance, cogently presented in a polished yet spontaneous-sounding reading’ (Nova Music Opera, Cheltenham Festival, 2018) – Opera Magazine

‘… A Portrait of the Artist at a Certain Moment by Einojuhani Rautavaara … George Vass brought vivid detail and colour to this opulent score and made clear the tremendous rapport he has with these young musicians’ (Presteigne Festival Orchestra, 2015) – Bachtrack

 ‘There was one Britten offering which reminded us anew of this composer’s genius. For its first-ever venture into opera the Presteigne Festival, now nearly a third-of-a-century old, engaged Nova Music Opera to perform the church parable Curlew River in St Andrew’s Church. Everything gelled perfectly under the seamless and flexible conducting of George Vass … this was my highlight of the year, and a very special event in the quiet remoteness of the lovely Welsh Marches’. (Nova Music Opera/Presteigne Festival, 2013) – Birmingham Post

‘One of the most luminous scores in twentieth-century music [Copland: Appalachian Spring – complete ballet], Vass shaped the work as if in one single, unbroken paragraph of inexhaustible melody, crowned at the centre with the ubiquitous Shaker hymn […] It was a hugely affecting account, beautifully played by the 19 musicians on stage and expertly balanced by George Vass. It concluded a wonderful concert and resounded in my memory for days afterwards’. (Orchestra Nova – Americana ’18 Festival, 2018) – Music and Musicians Quarterly

‘During the festival finale, [artistic] director George Vass displayed the wonderful Festival Orchestra at its very best. The taxing programme began with a sonorous performance of Vaughan Williams’ Tallis Fantasia and concluded with a rendition of Tippett’s demanding Concerto for double string orchestra that was nothing short of brilliant’ (Presteigne Festival, 2012) – Western Mail

‘Saturday’s anniversary gala concert brought another striking creation in Matthew Taylor’s Variations on a Theme of Reger, one of numerous string pieces spiritedly despatched by Vass and the persuasive Presteigne Festival Orchestra’ (Presteigne Festival, 2012) – The Times

‘Nova Music Opera’s double bill of contemporary one-act chamber operas at the 71st Cheltenham Music Festival centred on the ill-fated main protagonists in two notorious legal cases from modern British history. George Vass and the Nova Music Ensemble contributed significantly to the success of this operatic debut (Entanglement). Sensitively interpreting Bray’s finely-spun, often attenuated score, their subtle heightening of the tensions, resentments and compulsions driving the action onstage complemented Rosenthal’s elliptical and punchy text to create an emotionally engaging and haunting piece’. (Nova Music Opera, Cheltenham Festival, 2015) – Opera Magazine

‘Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor, conductor Rudolf Barshai’s string-orchestra version of the Russian master’s Eighth String Quartet was played at white heat. Under Vass’s galvanising direction, his young players produced a reading of fierce concentration and, when required, blistering energy’ (Presteigne Festival, 2016) – Musical Opinion Quarterly

‘… a pair of new works by Stephen McNeff and Cecilia McDowall … Sharing a common theme of loss and lives prematurely ended, both benefited from the sure sense of pace of Richard Williams’ stage direction and the sensitivity and flair of the Nova Music Opera Ensemble under the committed direction of George Vass’. (Nova Music Opera, 2014) – Opera Magazine

‘Saturday night’s concert featured a rare performance of Britten’s The Company of Heaven … Greg Tassell and Marianne Cotterill provided elegant and expressive solos and these, combined with perfectly balanced, sonorous interjections from St Albans Choral Society made a persuasive case for the work to be more widely performed … (of Mozart Requiem) With a performance of this precision, clarity, and dramatic intensity, I for one felt eager to rediscover this most celebrated of Mozart’s choral works’. (SACS, 2014) – St Albans Advertiser

‘Here is a gifted British conductor at the height of his powers, whose achievements are much to be commended, and whose future is undoubtedly assured’ – Musical Opinion

Admirable control over Rubbra’s concerto

Endnotes, Stuart Millson

These wonderfully idiomatic performances are outstanding

British Music Society, Gary Higginson

Everything you might cherish for such a project

MusicWeb International, Rob Barnett

The exceptionally rewarding 2023 Presteigne Festival

Musical Opinion, Paul Conway

Customary exemplary sensitivity by George Vass

Gramophone, Guy Rickards

Vibrant recording … a sumptuous Mediterranean sound

Midlands Music Reviews, Christopher Morley

Alert and sympathetic … a charged and dynamic BBCNOW

Colin’s Column, Colin Anderson

Four Stars from BBC Music Magazine

BBC Music Magazine, JP

A must-buy disc!

Gramophone, Guy Rickards
The Heavens and the Heart

Commissioned by the enterprising Presteigne Festival

Classical Ear, Michael Quinn

A highlight of the British cultural calendar

Musical Opinion, Paul Conway
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