East Neuk 2022

It’s back to business as usual for the East Neuk Festival, which returns to a live 5-day format this summer (29 June – 3 July) after two years of Covid-inflicted limitations. 

Announcing the 2022 programme this week, founder and artistic director Svend McEwan-Brown promised the event was “poised to deliver our best festival ever” with over thirty events embracing classical music, folk and jazz, pop-up performances, the annual ENF Retreat for young musicians, dancing and juggling, and this year’s collaborative Big Project, Thunderplump. 

The core classical programme follows the ENF’s tried and tested formula, a full diet of chamber music with a particular focus on the piano featuring top international artists and centred around the trio of familiar church venues in Crail, Cellardyke and Kilrenny. 

Elisabeth Leonskaja returns to Fife for the third time with solo performances of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, and with violinist Liza Ferschtman and cellist Ivan Karizna in trios by Schubert. Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy add Schubert’s piano duos to the mix, and tackle Stravinsky’s blockbuster Rite of Spring in its dynamic piano duet version. Veteran Festival favourite, Christian Zacharias, will present his last ENF piano recital before retiring as a soloist.

Another pianist, Moscow-born Boris Giltburg, joins members of the Pavel Haas Quartet in trios and quintets by Dvorak and Brahms. The wider chamber music programme features the flexible Magnard Ensemble, the Elias String Quartet, clarinettist Michael Collins, oboist Robin O’Neill and former SCO principal horn Alec Frank-Gemmill.

On a larger classical format, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra performs Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven with soprano Anna Dennis, under the baton of its former principal bassoonist Peter Whelan.  

The town of Anstruther is the hotspot for jazz, folk and traditional music, with programmes that cut across the genres. Kenyan singer songwriter Rapasa Otieno teams up with fiddler-composer Frankie Archer; Syrian oud player Rihab Azar and singer Luke Daniels combine traditional sounds with experimental electronics. Jazz and Middle Eastern music merge courtesy of cellist/improviser Shirley Smart and her trio.

His year’s Big Project, Thunderplump, at the Bowhouse brings together professional, amateur and young musicians and artists for a community initiative involving new and archive film and original music inspired by the unpredictable Scottish weather. Trumpeter John Wallace and Tony George of the Wallace Collection and jazz musician Richard Michael lead a musical conglomerate of 100 young brass players, Fife Youth Jazz and the Tullis Russell Works Band. Curating the event are composer, author and dramatist Neil Brand and filmmaker David Behrens.

Also at the Bowhouse, the ENF’s largest venue, is the collaboration Light the Lights, in which contemporary circus group Gandini Juggling links up with award-winning guitarist Sean Shibe and violinist Benjamin Baker for a one-off multi-genre show.

Performing outside the regular venues and elsewhere in the East Neuk will be Band in a Van, a visible touring presence last year in their converted antique Citroen van, and a big hit with their impromptu pop-up performances.

Full programme details and booking information for the 2022 East Neuk Festival (29 June – 3 July) is available at www.eastneukfestival.com