International concert pianist plays fundraiser for Portsmouth City of Sanctuary

The international concert pianist and recording artist Margaret Fingerhut is set to play a charity fundraiser at Portsmouth Cathedral on Monday 4th February at 7.30pm. The Portsmouth concert, arranged by ArtReach (the producer of Journeys Festival International), is part of the city’s latest bid to be formally recognised as a ‘City of Sanctuary’, joining other cities with the same title such as Plymouth, Bristol and Cheltenham, with almost 100 locations across the UK already recognised as a place of sanctuary.

The Revd Canon Peter Leonard of Portsmouth Cathedral stated, “It’s wonderful that Margaret Fingerhut, a truly gifted pianist, is prepared to donate all of her time for free to raise funds as part of this national tour. We’re really looking to build on the work done locally by the British Red Cross and its partners, and the more recent inspiration provided by the ArtReach led Journeys Festival International in the city. We’re encouraging a broad and collaborative call to action. The organisations involved aim to cultivate a strong culture of welcome, making Portsmouth a hospitable place for all”.

Margaret Fingerhut is regarded as one of the UK's most distinguished pianists, and her career has taken her all over the world. Her many recordings have received worldwide critical acclaim, and her recent CD of encores Endless Song was Featured Album of the Week on Classic FM.

She has devised this special programme called Far from the Home I Love which she is taking on a national tour, playing 25 concerts over the coming year. The tour begins on the Isle of Wight, followed by Portsmouth on 4th February and ends in London in November. She has waived all fees in the hope of raising much needed funds for City of Sanctuary organisations across the UK.

Margaret told us, “My grandparents settled here from the Ukraine, Poland and Ireland, so I have always been passionate about helping the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, never more so than today, given the climate of increasing hatred, intolerance and hostility. I wanted to find some unique way of raising awareness as well as funds for refugees, so I was very excited to come up with this idea. It struck me that many of the world’s greatest composers had to move from their homeland, either because of war or fear of persecution, or they simply migrated for their work. My concert, Far from the Home I Love, tells the stories in words and music about some of these composers. Their stories truly resonate with the current troubling attitudes towards refugees and those in exile.

The programme I have devised is by no means just sad! The music I have chosen is also uplifting, happy, even humorous, as well as dramatic, heroic and virtuoso. I’m going to be playing popular pieces by Chopin, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, and I’m especially thrilled to have commissioned a beautiful new piece by Moutaz Arian, the Kurdish Syrian composer who wrote the stirring Refugee National Anthem for the 2016 Olympics.

I’m delighted that my concert in Portsmouth will raise funds to help establish this wonderful city as one of the UK’s Cities of Sanctuary. The list of organisations in Portsmouth that are supporting this fundraising tour shows that there is a significant amount of compassion and care in the city, and it makes me incredibly proud to be able to be part of this latest initiative.”

Claire Woollard, Producer for Journeys Festival International said, “We’ve been working to bring local communities and members of refugee communities together, to create a welcoming Festival for everyone. It’s incredible to imagine our work with local partners such as the Red Cross, The Cathedral and Portsmouth University will lead into becoming an established City of Sanctuary.”

Supported by The British Red Cross, ArtReach, University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club, amongst others, this fundraising concert will give much needed funds to this newly formed initiative. At just £10 per ticket, it’s a great way to enjoy some incredible classical music whilst making our city a more welcoming place to live.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by following this link here: Far From The Home I Love

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