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Sound Goes Live

Aberdeen’s soundfestival (19-24 October) resumes normal service this autumn with a week-long programme of live performances that includes over 30 premieres and a brand new series of half-hour Spotlight Concerts featuring emerging and local performers and composers. 

At the heart of the flagship contemporary music festival is a climate emergency theme recognising the forthcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow, which features specially commissioned works, environmentally-themed performances under the banner 1.5 Degrees, From the Coast and Distance, and a commitment from all visiting performers not to fly to the festival.

“With COP 26 putting the climate crisis to the fore we have commissioned and programmed pieces that explore the challenge that the world faces,” explained director Fiona Roberson. “We are particularly excited by our co-commission from Laura Bowler, Distance, with which we open soundfestival 2021.” It will be performed in Aberdeen by soprano Juliet Fraser with a live-streamed ensemble in the USA.

Young composers featured in the global warning programmes – also incorporating part of the new Spotlight series – include Jamie Perera, Georgina MacDonell Finlayson, Aileen Sweeney and Emily Doolittle, while established creators Pete Stollery, Pippa Murphy and Alistair MacDonald will direct workshop projects with local teenagers, helping them create electronic soundscapes from discarded waste material. The resulting “instruments” will be used in a performance of More More More, a work originally created for the London Sinfonietta by producer, writer and electronic musician Matthew Herbert.

Premieres in the wider Festival programme include works by Ailie Robertson, Luke Styles, Glasgow-based David Fennessy, and Tansy Davies’ Grand Mutation for violin, horn and piano, a co-commission streamed from France during last year’s virtual soundfestival. Among this year’s guest performers are Red Note Ensemble, the St Machar’s Cathedral Choir with organist Roger Williams and the New Maker Ensemble.

The Festival completes its five-year exploration of “endangered instruments” with a focus on the double bass. French bassist Florentin Ginot – a progressive champion of the instrument through his involvement with Ensemble Modern, IRCAM and Ensemble Intercontemporain – is this year’s artist-in-residence, and will appear as soloist and in various collaborations, including the world premiere of a new sound commission from Pascale Criton with the soprano Juliet Fraser. The scientific properties of the double bass can be explored in an interactive exhibition at Aberdeen Science Centre.

Robertson expressed delight that soundfestival has been able to return to near normal, albeit in line with ongoing COVID constraints.  “Programming a festival as we are emerging from lockdowns has not been the simplest task,” she acknowledges. “However, if we’ve learnt one thing over the past 18 months, it’s that it is important to adapt to your circumstances and just do what’s possible.”

Full details of Aberdeen’s 2021 soundfestival available at:

Red Note and Dunedin plans

Scotland’s Dunedin Consort and Red Note Ensemble have both unveiled new seasons of work, starting with their appearances at the Lammermuir Festival this week.

Wednesday September 15 sees Red Note play the music of James Dillon and Tansy Davies at Dunbar Parish Church before the Dunedin Consort performs Monteverdi madrigals at St Mary’s in Haddington.

The RPS award-winning commission Tanz/Haus: triptych 2017, in the Dunbar concert, prefaces a new Dillon work EMBLEMATA: Carnival, which Red Note will play at Perth Concert Hall on September 24, launching a new residency at the venue. This new commission from the Scottish composer will be recorded for Delphian Records and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in November. That performance will also include a new work from Scotland’s Aileen Sweeney, The Land Under the Wave, and Five Phase Sphere by Luke Styles.

The Styles piece premieres as part of the programme Red Note takes to Aberdeen’s soundfestival in October, where it is joined by the first performance of Ailie Robertson’s Unfurl and Edwin Hillier’s 37  Otago Street.

On November 4 in Perth, the Ensemble premieres a commission to mark COP26, with further performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Sub Mari is a multimedia work by Martina Corsini – Red Note’s Weston-Jerwood Creative Fellow – and Chilean bassist, composer and conductor Manuel Figueroa-Bolvarán and will feature contributions from Chilean youth choir Allegro and young singers from Scotland.

Corsini is also involved in Red Note’s outreach work in Methil in Fife and Easterhouse in Glasgow, alongside composers Oliver Searle and Brian Irvine, whose new commission A Child’s Guide to Anarchy will be played at the end of that month.

Dunedin Consort also has a COP26 commission, Yince a Paradise by Drew Hammond and Isobel McArthur, as part of its autumn activity. The work gives its title to an a cappella choral tour visiting Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews in October under the guest direction of Grete Pedersen.

The 21-22 season marks the 25th birthday of the Dunedin and artistic director John Butt will be conducting performances of Messiah in December, and the music of Handel and Scarlatti in a February programme entitled The Trials of Love, with soloists Anna Dennis and Matthew Brook. Birthday concerts in March of next year, entitled Welcome to All the Pleasures, will be followed in June by a UK tour of Handel’s Acis and Galatea.

Associate Director Nicholas Mulroy, who is conducting this week’s Lammermuir concert, will direct Bach’s St Matthew Passion, and sing the Evangelist, in April. He is also in charge of concerts that include a new score by Pippa Murphy and pair the writings of post-modernist Roland Barthes with madrigals by Gesualdo and Monteverdi under the banner A Lover’s Discourse.

The Dunedin Consort’s latest recording, of three Bach cantatas, is released on the Linn label early in October.

Pictured: Ailie Robertson

BBC SSO new season

Following its return to live performances for audiences at the Royal Albert Hall and Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has announced an autumn season of concerts at its home in Glasgow’s City Halls, and two Sunday afternoon concerts at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

The first home concert is on Thursday September 23 with Sibelius Symphony No 7, when Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro is on the podium and Pekka Kuusisto the soloist for Magnus Lindberg’s Violin Concerto No 1. The same team then appears in Edinburgh on September 26 when Kuusisto plays the Sibelius Concerto before the 7th Symphony.

The second Edinburgh concert is on November 28, when Veronika Eberle plays Beethoven’s Violin Concerto before conductor David Afkham directs Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony, the Third. The Glasgow performance of that programme, which is completed by a new work by Unsuk Chin, is on the evening of November 25.

Schumann’s Symphony No 2 is played the previous month in Glasgow, when Jorg Widmann also directs the orchestra in his own Con Brio as well as playing Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No 1. That programme is repeated at Perth Concert Hall on Friday October 29.

Another wind player and conductor, Francois Leleux, both performs and directs at the City Hall on September 30 for a programme of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Farrenc.

November also sees concerts featuring Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, conducted by Yutaka Sado, and Brahms’s Fourth Symphony and the Grieg Piano Concerto, with soloist Garrick Ohlssohn, conducted by Hannu Lintu.

The orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor Ilan Volkov oversees a performance on October 21 for BBC Radio3’s New Music Show that includes Lucia Dlugoszewski’s Abyss and Caress with New York jazz trumpeter Peter Evans, for which tickets are free.

December sees a two-concert focus on Tchaikovsky, with Associate Conductor Alpesh Chauhan conducting the Sixth Symphony in a programme that also includes Karen Cargill singing Korngold’s Abschiedslieder. In the second Tchaikovsky programme Martyn Brabbins conducts the First Piano Concerto with soloist Pavel Kolesnikov.

Seating for all of the concerts will be partially distanced with reduced capacity, and audiences will be required to wear face coverings. The orchestra hopes to announce appearances in Aberdeen soon and will reveal details of concerts for the new year in November.

RSNO Combined Season

The RSNO is the latest Scottish orchestra to announce its return to the concert hall with an autumn season running October to December that combines live and digital output for the first time. Glasgow and Edinburgh feature a core of six live subscription programmes, a selection of which also occur in Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth. 

A further eight programmes, independent of the subscription series, range from popular seasonal Family to Film Music concerts, the first performances of the RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus since lockdown, and contribute to the RSNO’s major recognition of the upcoming COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. 

Following the announcement earlier this year of Thomas Søndergård’s three-year extended contract as music director, the popular Dane kicks off the new season with a bold programme featuring Stravinsky’s Firebird and a new work, The Isle is Full of Noises!, by eclectic British composer Matthew Rooke (a former director of the old Scottish Arts Council). 

In two other programmes Søndergård conducts the world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Violin Concerto with soloist Midori, postponed from earlier this year, and a programme featuring Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with award-winning Edinburgh-born mezzo soprano, Catriona Morison.

Guest conductors include fellow Danish maestro Michael Schønwandt, who couples Richard Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with soloist Kirill Gerstein. South Korean pianist Sunwook Kim performs Brahms’ First Piano Concerto under the baton of Eva Ollikainen, while Elim Chan conducts Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker alongside Ravel’s two-handed piano concerto with soloist Bertrand Chamamyou. 

Further to the experience gained in developing digital output during the pandemic, the RSNO is also launching a new website that will be home to its Live Streams and Video on Demand Season. Live-concert subscribers are eligible for a discount on digital tickets. Chief executive Alistair Mackie believes this means “the live concert atmosphere can be shared with people throughout Scotland and internationally”.

A permeating theme – New World – recognises the ambitions facing Glasgow’s COP26 conference, beginning before the event with Søndergård conducting Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony in the same programme that features Midori, herself a UN Messenger of Peace. At the close of the conference, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja leads an RSNO chamber ensemble and the RCS Voices in Galina Ustwolskaja’s Dies Irae, written as a musical response to climate change.

Other COP26 associated works range from Rautavarra’s Swans Migrating and Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos, to a performance of Haydn’s Creation by the RSNO Chorus under its director Gregory Batsleer accompanied by three new specially-commissioned poems from Scots poet Hollie McNish.

Even before the season officially starts on 22 October, the RSNO will be in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee (7-10 Oct) with a programme conducted by Rory Macdonald that includes Mozart’s popular Clarinet Concerto, played by the orchestra’s own Timothy Orpen as soloist. December sees the return of the annual RSNO Christmas Concert, with actor/comedian Hugh Dennis presenting Howard Blake’s The Snowman. Also in December, Baroque specialist Christian Curnyn directs perennial favourite, Handel’s Messiah. 

The new season sees the return of the popular Children’s Classic Concerts, including a Halloween special “Ghost Ship” featuring the RSNO Junior Chorus.

Reacting to the RSNO’s return to live concert performances, Søndergård said: “”The Season will be a celebration of coming back together, a fresh start.”

Full details of the RSNO’s 2021 Autumn Season are available at

SCO’s Russian season

Led by its charismatic Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra brings a Russian flavour to its new concert season, running from September to December and taking in venues across Scotland.

With three programmes conducted by the young Russian, fresh from the orchestra’s acclaimed BBC Proms performance of Mozart’s last symphonies, the concerts include Russian pianist Lukas Geniusas, playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto in Emelyanychev’s season-opener, and Russian violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky the soloist in the conductor’s October concert of the music of Leclair, Locatelli, Vivaldi, Poulenc and his own arrangement of Farkas’ Five Ancient Hungarian Dances.

The orchestra’s Russian principal double bass Nikita Naumov is featured soloist for Peter Eotvos’s Aurora in a concert under the baton of Thomas Zehetmair which also includes Mendelssohn and Haydn, and Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony is conducted by Mark Wigglesworth with soloists soprano Elizabeth Atherton and bass Peter Rose.

The season also features concerts conducted by Joseph Swensen, the orchestra’s former principal bassoon Peter Whelan and Sir James MacMillan, whose programme includes the premiere of a new work, Death in a Nutshell, by Jay Capperauld. December’s concerts include the SCO debut of Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro and Nicola Benedetti playing Mozart.

With concerts in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and St Andrews, the orchestra will offer socially-distanced seating for this autumn season and will ask the audience to wear masks in the auditorium. A parallel programme of online, digital performances has also been announced, featuring percussionist Colin Currie, violinist Benjamin Marquise Gilmore and baritone Benjamin Appl, as well as the Scottish premiere of SCO Associate Composer Anna Clyne’s Stride.

Following on from the orchestra’s residency in Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes, the SCO has also announced a five-year commitment to the Craigmillar area of the capital, beginning at the Craigmillar Festival this weekend.

Full details of the orchestra’s concerts and outreach work are available at and there is a video presenting the programme to watch on YouTube:

Concerts in the spring will be announced later in the year.

Chandler Switches Ship

Bill Chandler, who has moved from the front desk of the first violins to senior management roles in the last six of his 26 years with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, has been appointed to the post of Orchestra Director with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

The BBC CO played at the Proms on Saturday, with a concert of music from the Golden Age of Broadway, and returns in September with two programmes of British film music and a score by Philip Glass. Its versatility extends to live versions of Jess Gillam’s This Classical Life radio show and Elizabeth Alker’s Unclassified, as well as regular involvement with the London Jazz Festival.

The Concert Orchestra, which is often seen as the most vulnerable of the BBC’s stable, serves two masters on the network, with commitments to both BBC Radio 3 and Radio 2, where its role as the house band for Friday Night is Music Night dates back to the days of the “Light Programme”.

Currently an associate ensemble at the Southbank Centre in London, it was announced earlier this year that the BBCCO would be relocated “beyond the M25”, although its precise new home has yet to be revealed, with speculation including the broadcasting organisation’s MediaCity in Salford, already home to the BBC Philharmonic.

Bill Chandler joined the RSNO from the Houston Symphony Orchestra, having started his career in Florida. He took up the post of Director of Learning and Engagement at Scotland’s National Orchestra while still maintaining his playing position before moving to management full time as Director of Concerts and Engagements. During the interregnum between the departure of Krishna Thiagarajan and the appointment of Alistair Mackie he served as co-chief executive of the orchestra.

He said yesterday: “It is an honour and privilege to join the BBC Concert Orchestra at such an important time in its history. The BBC CO is unique in the music world, renowned for its superb playing, versatility and relevance, all key traits in an ever-changing world. I look forward to working closely with this fantastic group of musicians and staff as we explore this exciting new chapter together.”

In a message to RSNO musicians and supporters chief executive Alistair Mackie said: “Bill has proved himself to be the most passionate campaigner for classical music being open and accessible to all. He has always been a popular and respected member of the Scottish musical community and will be greatly missed by all.

“I know he goes to the BBC Concert Orchestra at a crucial point in their life and I look forward to watching this unique British institution develop and grow under his leadership.” 

Tryst Spreads Its Wings

Sir James MacMillan’s Cumnock Tryst festival is expanding into new venues as well as embracing digital streaming over its four days at the end of September and start of October.

Alongside the usual range of church and other venues – and there are performances at Trinity, St John’s and Cumnock Old Churches as well as in the Town Hall and Dumfries Arms Hotel – the Tryst will this year use the new Barony Campus Hall in the Ayrshire town and the Morphy Richards Engineering Centre on Dumfries House Estate.

The festival runs from September 30 to October 3 and opens on the Thursday evening with the first appearance at the Tryst by Scotland’s star mezzo, Karen Cargill. With Simon Lepper at the piano, she will perform two concerts back-to-back, at 6.45pm and 8.30pm, to allow for maximum audience in a safely-managed environment. Her performance will also be live-streamed and available to watch for seven days.

Pianist Steven Osborne returns to the festival, this time in the company of Paul Lewis, to perform a programme of 20thcentury piano duets, mainly by French composers.

The festival’s artist-in-residence is saxophonist Christian Forshaw. He will be joining the singers of Tenebrae in a programme of early music for Passiontide and in a trio with singer Grace Davidson and Libby Burgess at the keyboard, as well as appearing with Sir James MacMillan and the Robert Burns Academy Concert Band in a public workshop entitled Improvise!

That is only one facet of an education programme that also includes the launch, at the Barony Hall, of a new book by MacMillan and Tryst chief executive Jennifer Martin, Creative Composition for the Classroom.

The new venue at Dumfries House Estate will welcome the returning Hebrides Ensemble. Like Cargill and Tenebrae, they are also performing twice, in their case at 2pm and 4.30pm on the Sunday.General booking for this year’s programme opens on Monday August 9.

Lammermuir Festival Announced

There are sure signs of growing confidence as live performance returns at increasing levels to Scotland’s summer music festivals. Lammermuir Festival is the latest to announce a comeback live-audience programme, with an astonishing 37 concerts in numerous venues across East Lothian, running from 7-20 September. 

New and familiar faces are among the comprehensive line-up, from regular Lammermuir artists The Dunedin Consort, the Scottish Chamber and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras, Scottish Opera, pianist Danny Driver, baritone Roderick Williams and Maxwell Quartet, to such alluring new faces as American pianist Jeremy Denk, and Tom Poster’s versatile Kaleidoscopic Chamber Collective.

Denk marks his Festival debut with an artistic residency of four concerts, surveying Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier Book 1 in the first of two solo recitals, joining forces with members of the SCO for Schubert’s Trout Quintet, and with the fuller SCO in a Festival closing concert (20 Sep) featuring concertos by Mozart.
Poster’s ensemble, which features in two programmes for piano and winds, covers repertoire from Mozart and Brahms to Tailleferre and Robert Simpson.

Scottish Opera continues its now perennial Lammermuir presence in a lightly staged live production in St Mary’s Church, Haddington, of Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte (9 Sep) with the same lively young cast, full orchestra and chorus that featured in its recent filmed version.

The same venue hosts a panoply of choral music, from a rare performance by Tenebrae of Poulenc’s La Figure Humaine, and a feast of Renaissance protest songs by the Marian Consort, to two appearances by the The Gesualdo Six, one of which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the death of Josquin des Prez (11 Sep).

Lammermuir has teamed up with Radio 3 (7-10 Sep) to broadcast live four opening song recitals by Robert Murray and Alisdair Hogarth, James Atkinson and Sholto Kynoch, Catriona Morison and Malcolm Martineau, and Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton.

Vocal music is also the focus in Dunedin Consort’s programme of Monteverdi madrigals (15 Sep) under the direction of tenor Nicholas Mulroy. The wider field of song centres on a semi-staged setting of Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook (12 Sep), Wagner’s Wesendonck Songs (19 Sep) and Schoenberg’s distilled chamber version of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (13 Sep). Singers include Joshua Ellicott, Susan Bickley and Roderick Williams.

Ellicot is the featured soloist in the BBC SSO’s final weekend programme, singing Britten’s Nocturne under the baton of former SCO bassoonist Peter Whelan. Chamber recitals range from a late night concert by Japanese violinist Coco Tomita (18 Sep) and accordion recitals by the young Scots star Ryan Corbett. Early music is brought to life in The Apollo of the Theorbo, featuring theorbo player Alex McCartney (11 Sep), while new music – James Dillon’s RPS Award-winning Tanz/Haus – is the focus of Red Note Ensemble’s programme at Dunbar Parish Church (15 Sep). 

Members of the SCO are again present in a programme of piano quartets (11 Sep) with Edinburgh pianist Susan Tomes. Violinist Chloë Hanslip and pianist Danny Driver feature in three morning concerts at Holy Trinity, Haddington (13-15 Sep).

All concerts will adhere to prevalent Covid guidelines, co-directors Hugh Macdonald and James Waters insist. “Careful thought has gone into the audience experience and we are confident that we are presenting a carefully managed and rich series of concerts.”

Full programme details are available at

New Music Award Winners

The prize for Best Recording of New Music in this year’s Scottish Awards, sponsored by VoxCarnyx for the first time this year, has been awarded jointly to composer David Fennessy for Letters and to the double disc document The Night With . . .Live Vol. 1.

It was the only occasion in which the judges reached a split decision, although other nominees emerged from last night’s ceremony with a share of the spoils in more than one category.

The Scottish Awards for New Music ceremony was streamed live from the RSNO Centre in Glasgow, hosted by Scottish-based mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker, who will be appearing with the Chineke! Orchestra at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

The event included a live performance of Eddie McGuire’s Legend, performed by Nordic Viola (a.k.a. the RSNO’s Katherine Wren) in memory of its dedicatee, James Durrant, teacher of generations of Scottish musicians.

The strong shortlist of nominees reflected the resilience of Scotland’s contemporary music community in very difficult times. The Nevis Ensemble, Scottish Ensemble and composer Aileen Sweeney were big winners on the night, all achieving recognition in more than one of the 13 categories.

The full list of winners of the Scottish Awards for New Music 2021 is as follows:

Good Spirits Co Award for Innovation in New Traditional Music

–      The Declaration: GRIT Orchestra 

Award for Large Scale New Work (11+ performers), sponsored by PRS for Music

–      Above the Stars: Aileen Sweeney

Mark McKergow Award for Innovation in New Jazz Music

–      Corto Alto: Liam Shortall

Award for Installation/Sound Art/Electroacoustic New Work

–      these bones, this flesh, this skin: Martin Suckling with Joan Clevillé and Genevieve Reeves

The ISM Award for New Music in Covid Times

–      Lochan Sketches: Nevis Ensemble

Award for Environmental Sustainability

–      Scottish Classical Sustainability Group: Nevis Ensemble/Scottish Ensemble/various

Award for the Recording of New Music, sponsored by VoxCarynx

–      The Night With… Live Vol. 1

–      Letters: David Fennessy

The Dorico Award for Small/Medium Scale Work, sponsored by Steinberg

–      Plastica: Edwin Hillier

The Dorico Award for Solo Work, sponsored by Steinberg.

–      Skydance: Ailie Robertson

The SMIA Award for Creative Programming

–      2020 programme: Scottish Ensemble

The RCS Award for Education/Community Project

–      StAMP: Wallace Collection/St Andrew’s University

Award for New Music in Media

–    Sayo: Luci Holland

The RCS Award for Making It Happen

–    Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames: Ear to the Ground

The awards are created by New Music Scotland with support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project

RSNO Concert Dates

Those anxious to pencil concert dates into the latter months of their 2021 diaries can look forward to a new RSNO season running from October to December.

In an announcement due to be fleshed out in a full season launch later in the summer, when tickets will go on sale subject to government guidelines, Scotland’s national orchestra has unveiled the headline attractions of seven programmes. All will be played in Glasgow and six of them in Edinburgh, with one-off concerts in Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth.

In a cute terminological nod to the more-indulged sports sector, there are pre-season friendlies away in Aberdeen and Dundee on October 6 and 7 before a home performance of Mozart’s popular Clarinet Concerto in Glasgow on Friday October 8. The season proper begins with Music Director Thomas Sondergard conducting Stravinsky’s Firebird on Friday October 22 and Saturday October 23 in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Sondergard returns to the podium on the first weekend in November and again a fortnight later with Usher Hall and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall concerts of Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony “From the New World”, and then the Second Symphony of Jean Sibelius. On the weekend in between, Michael Schonwandt conducts Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

South Korean pianist Sunwook Kim, who stepped in at short notice to play the RSNO’s last concerts before lockdown in March 2020, returns to play Brahms Piano Concerto No1 in Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow on November 25-27, and Principal Guest Conductor Elim Chan brings the series to a close with seasonal concerts of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in Edinburgh and Glasgow on December 3 and 4.

New Music Awards

Despite all the extra hurdles that fate has been placed in its path over the past 15 months, the musical life of Scotland has continued to thrive, finding new ways to bring the best in composition and performance to the public, however it can be reached, and this website has been fortunate to be part of that effort.

VoxCarnyx is now delighted to be associated with the Scottish Awards for New Music in their fifth year of recognising innovation and creativity, and today we can exclusively reveal the shortlisted projects for the 13 awards this year. We are specifically associated with one of them, sponsoring the Award for Recording of New Music, to be chosen from Linda Buckley’s From Ocean’s Floor, David Fennessy’s Letters, the Live Volume 1 set of recordings from Matthew Whiteside’s The Night With . . . sessions, and LivMassive and Hessian Renegade’s Erocean.

The shortlist was selected by an impressive list of 22 panellists from across the UK music scene, including musicians, festival directors, composers and funders, and the winners will be announced in an online ceremony streamed live on the New Music Scotland website from the RSNO Centre in Glasgow on Wednesday July 7, hosted by writer and broadcaster Tom Service. The event will include a performance by Katherine Wren, of Nordic Viola and the RSNO, of Eddie McGuire’s Legend, in tribute to the late Jimmy Durrant.

Co-chair of New Music Scotland, Andy Saunders said of the shortlist: “The variety and number of works and projects nominated this year was incredibly impressive, given the situation that the music world has faced over the last year. There were some stunningly creative ideas, and a consistently high level of artistic integrity within the nominations. To see that so much brilliant music making was going on is nothing short of inspirational.”

The full shortlist of nominees for the Scottish Awards for New Music 2021 is as follows:

Good Spirits Co Award for Innovation in New Traditional Music

–      My Light Shines On: Aidan O’Rourke with Brìghde Chaimbeul, Bashir Saade, Rachel Sermani and Graeme Stephen/Edinburgh International Festival 

–      The Declaration: GRIT Orchestra 

–      Down the Line: Alastair Savage and Charli Ashton

Award for Large Scale New Work (11+ performers), sponsored by PRS for Music

–      Above the Stars: Aileen Sweeney

–      Pharmakeia: James Dillon

–      This Departing Landscape: Martin Suckling

–      Night Thoughts: Matthew Whiteside

–      Vigil I: Ninfea Currwell-Reade

Mark McKergow Award for Innovation in New Jazz Music

–      Corto Alto: Liam Shortall

–      Deepening the River: Paul Towndrow

–      Playtime

Award for Installation/Sound Art/Electroacoustic New Work

–      Be Mine in Patience: an embrace in B Minor – Michael Begg

–      Cheap Emotions: Darlene Zarabozo

–      Stolen Voices: Rebecca Collins

–      these bones, this flesh, this skin: Martin Suckling with Joan Clevillé and Genevieve Reeves

The ISM Award for New Music in Covid Times

–      Distant Duets: Drake Music Scotland/Tinderbox Collective

–      Be Mine in Patience: an embrace in B minor – Michael Begg

–      Lochan Sketches: Nevis Ensemble

–      Covid-19 Sound Map: Pete Stollery

Award for Environmental Sustainability

–      Let Them Not Say: Chris Hutchings/Choirs for Climate

–      Lochan Sketches: Nevis Ensemble

–      Scottish Classical Sustainability Group: Nevis Ensemble/Scottish Ensemble/various

Award for the Recording of New Music, sponsored by VoxCarynx

–      Erocean: LivMassive and Hessian Renegade

–      The Night With… Live Vol. 1

–      Letters: David Fennessy

–      From Ocean’s Floor: Linda Buckley

The Dorico Award for Small/Medium Scale Work, sponsored by Steinberg

–      Reflecting Instruments: David Horne             

–      High Energy Music: Nora Marazaite

–      Archipelago: transmissions between islands – Lisa Robertson

–      Plastica: Edwin Hillier

The Dorico Award for Solo Work, sponsored by Steinberg.

–      Skydance: Ailie Robertson

–      Her Lullaby: Martin Suckling

–      Curious-er: Sonia Allori

–      Omanjana: Simon Thacker

The SMIA Award for Creative Programming

–      Sonic Bites: Cryptic

–      Breathe and Draw: Nevis Ensemble/Alex Ho

–      Sound Festival 2020: Sound Scotland

–      2020 programme: Scottish Ensemble

The RCS Award for Education/Community Project

–      StAMP: Wallace Collection/St Andrew’s University

–      Intersections: Exploration 2020

–      Sonic Bothy

Award for New Music in Media

–    The Trial of Alex Salmond: Francis Macdonald

–    Sayo: Luci Holland

–    Henry Glassie Field Work: Linda Buckley

The RCS Award for Making It Happen

–    Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames: Ear to the Ground

–    Ollie Hawker: The Owen Wilson Elegies

–    Rufus Isabel Eliot: OVER / AT

The awards are created by New Music Scotland with support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund.

Announcement of the winners will be treamed online from the RSNO Centre via the NMS website on Wednesday July 7 at 8pm

Edinburgh Festival 2021 Goes Live

In the wake of last year’s swiftly improvised online Edinburgh International Festival, director Fergus Linehan told VoxCarnyx that “2021 will only be the journey back; probably 2022 will be the great celebration.” The announcement of year’s programme, while still cautionary, goes much further than realistic hopes might have anticipated, even if Linehan’s predicted path remains the longer term likelihood.

Classical music fans will be pleased, as the continuing restrictions on social distancing and indoor performance mean that the overriding emphasis of the 2021 Festival programme – which runs from 7-29 August – is on live music performance, facilitated by three major bespoke outdoor venues.

These are to be located at Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Edinburgh Park and Edinburgh University’s Old College Quad, each prefabricated structure open-sided to allow ventilation, and capable of seating between 300 and 700 people. The music programme will be centred on two of these: 26 concerts featuring some of the UK’s top orchestras at the Edinburgh Academy site; 36 smaller-scale recitals at Old College, embracing what would normally have been the Queen’s Hall intimate chamber music series. Repeat shows will open up each programme to a wider audience.

The orchestral series, for obvious practical reasons, has stuck with UK orchestras, opening with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under Dalia Stasevska, in the premiere of PIVOT by Edinburgh graduate and current associate composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Anna Clyne. Vassily Petrenko directs the RPO with guest pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sir Simon Rattle returns with the LSO, and the idiosyncratic Chineke! Orchestra performs Judith Weir’s song cycle with Scots-based mezzo soprano Andrea Baker.

Predictably, Scotland’s own orchestras play a key role. The RSNO performs several programmes, under Thomas Søndergård, Valery Gergiev and Elim Chan respectively, The SCO teams up with Kazushi Ono, while former RSNO principal guest conductor Marin Alsop conducts the BBC SSO in Peter Maxwell Davies’ A Spell for Green Corn and Jessie Montgomery’s Strum.

If staged opera is inevitably limited, it has presented Linehan with one of the few opportunities this Festival has to go completely indoors. It means, of course, that only 370 people at a time (compared to the usual 1800 capacity) can attend Edinburgh Festival Theatre for any of the four performances of David McVicar’s production of Falstaff for Scottish Opera.

Otherwise opera is, says Linehan, “very much in concert form”. Further to its premiere in London this weekend (see latest features in VoxCarnyx), Dunedin Consort perform Errollyn Wallen’s Dido’s Ghost, an imagined continuation of the story in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and starring South African soprano Golda Schultz. Sir Andrew Davis conducts a brand new concert staging by Louisa Muller of Strauss’ Ariadne aux Naxos with the RSNO and a cast led by Dorothea Röshmann in the title role.

It will be hard to avoid the presence of Nicola Benedetti, whose Festival residency makes full use of the Scots virtuoso’s growing versatility. Besides a concert focusing on Vivaldi, in which she appears with her new Benedetti Baroque Ensemble, she teams up with another handpicked ensemble for a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, and goes solo in a presentation called The Story of the Violin.

It’s in the chamber recital series at Old College Quad that the Festival has preserved most its reputation for internationalism, given the lesser risk involved in flying single artists from around the   world as opposed to full orchestras. Thus a line-up that includes soloists Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Renée Fleming, Ronald Brautigam and the 20-year-old Anne-Sophie Mutter violin protege Noa Wildschut; notable ensembles such as the Zehetmair, Goldmund and Gringolts Quartets, alongside the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble; and a tribute to the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth by soprano Elizabeth Watts and pianist Malcolm Martineau.

On a lighter musical vein, Thomas Quasthoff, as well as starring in Ariadne aux Naxos, joins fellow German jazz musicians in an evening of vocal classics, while opera director Barrie Kosky and singer  Katherine Mehrling go cabaret with lesser known songs by Kurt Weill. Pianist Wayne Marshall directs a handpicked cast in A Grand Night for Singing, celebrating the classical musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein.

While the key emphasis of this year’s Festival is on live audience performance, eight of the Classical concerts will be accessible online.

General booking for the 2021 EIF opens on Friday 11 June. Full details are available at

Image: Dalia Stasevska conducts EIF opening concert

Scottish Opera: Live at No. 40

The enigmatic title Scottish Opera has given to a month-long summer festival in the car-park of its rehearsal facility, Live at No. 40, masks an adventurous programme of music and theatre in the centre of Glasgow.

40 Edington Street is the address of its canal-side production studios on the north side of the M8 and the car park was the venue for last summer’s inventive production of La boheme for a socially-distanced audience.

Its successor this year is Verdi’s Falstaff, directed by Sir David McVicar and opening on July 3 for six performances.

The company has now revealed that the outdoor venue will be open until August 1, culminating in two performances by Scottish Opera Young Company of Kurt Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken. The stage there will also host Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre and a new production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, directed by Dominic Hill and running from July 11 to July 24 for a total of 11 shows, including two matinees.

Completing the line-up are three concerts by the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, under the baton of Stuart Stratford, playing Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 and brass and wind music by Crespo, Dvorak and Stravinsky, and four “picnic” concerts of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by the Scottish Ensemble, partnered with charity Social Bite, on July 18 and 19.

Full details and booking information available on the Scottish Opera website.

Live music in Perth

Perth Concert Hall is setting the pace for the return of music performances before a live audience with four lunchtime concerts next week.

The diverse programme of recitals begins on Tuesday with mezzo-soprano Jess Dandy – one of the featured soloists in the venue’s Easter St Matthew Passion by Dunedin Consort – accompanied by pianist Malcolm Martineau.

Perth-raised pianist Alasdair Beatson, who recently partnered cellist Aleksei Kiseliov in an online RSNO concert, leads a piano trio in the music of Faure and Haydn the following day and saxophonist Jess Gillam plays the music of Meredith Monk, Kurt Weill, Graeme Fitkin and Astor Piazzolla on Thursday.

The sequence concludes on Friday May 28 when percussionist Colin Currie is at the marimba and Huw Watkins at the piano to play Helen Grime, Joe Duddell and Tansy Davies.

The recitals will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 as part of its Scotland Week, but crucially there are also 100 tickets available for music-lovers to attend them in person,  the first in-person concerts in the venue in over a year.

Tickets are priced at £11.50 each, including booking fee.

EIF al fresco 2021

A concentration on outdoor events has been announced by the Edinburgh International Festival as it promises a full programme from August 7 to 29, to be unveiled at the start of June.

Although no artists have yet been revealed, artistic director Fergus Linehan said that most would be UK-based, “a lot of them Scottish”.

“Large ensembles coming in from overseas is not possible, so ensembles are likely to be UK-based. Individuals are still able to come in, but not a company of 250 Italians,” he said.

Likewise, the socially-distanced audience that will be accommodated in three specially-constructed pavilions is expected to be made up mostly of local people. The Festival will have an on-line element to cater to those further afield.

“There will be a programme of online running throughout, but it is primarily a live festival. What we are doing online is mostly recorded relays of the live events,” said Linehan.

Some small outdoor events are planned, but most will be staged in three locations, where a canopy will protect the stage and audience. One of those remains unconfirmed, but the other two are at Edinburgh Park, close to the Edinburgh Park Central tram stop, and at the Old Quad of Edinburgh University, on South Bridge.

Linehan said he was keen to take the Festival out of the city centre, and the Edinburgh Park pavilion, in the city’s commercial development on its western edge, has “excellent transport links and unlimited parking”.

“The Quad should be beautiful”, he added. That venue provides a link with the cancelled programme of 2020, when the Festival had planned to erect a Spiegeltent in the space, hosting a long series of musical events.

“We offered everyone a return visit and a few of those things have survived,” said Linehan. “We can’t really do anything with an ensemble bigger that 40 or 50, we can’t have very long evenings and we can’t do anything with a lot of brass and wind. And a lot of that would be our bread and butter programming in the Usher Hall.”

Nonetheless, music is expected to form the bulk of the programming announced at the start of June. Concerts will be shorter, and some will be repeated to allow another audience to attend. Public booking will open on June 11 and tickets will be strictly allocated, either to individuals, couples, small groups or families. EIF Executive Director Fran Hegyi said that everything was being planned in accordance with current government guidelines on social distancing and face coverings, and the possibility  of so-called “Covid passports” was not part of the discussions.

She added that considerations were “not just artistic ones, but also our role in having as many people working on the Festival as possible. We have been really conscious over the past 12 months of the responsibility that we have that the industry has work to do, because that is the workforce that has to come back.”

Linehan said that the 2022 Festival is acquiring increasing significance, beyond its existing status as marking the events 75th anniversary.

“It may be the first time that we are able to have unfettered mass gatherings again. So that is not just about concerts in the Usher Hall, but about every choral group and every dance group – all those ways in which we come together as communities that have had to come to a halt. There will a huge surge of activity next year that we will have to think about, and beyond what we normally  do.”

Music at Paxton 2021 Revealed

Music at Paxton is confident that this year’s summer festival (16-25 July) will play to a live audience. Outlining the 10-day 2021 programme of chamber music centred in the famous Picture Gallery at Paxton House, artistic director Angus Smith said: “We anticipate that visiting Paxton for great music in the stunningly beautiful setting of the Scottish Borders will once again be a relaxing and joyous experience.”

Included in the international line-up of artists are pianists Steven Osborne (who opens the festival with an all-Debussy solo programme) and Imogen Cooper, tenor James Gilchrist, soprano Elizabeth Watts, the Gould Piano Trio, Maxwell Quartet, Concerto Caledonia and Paxton’s ongoing partnership with Live Music Now Scotland, which presents a series of concerts by young Scottish classical and folk musicians.

Gilchrist and pianist Anna Tilbrook perform Schubert’s Winterreise (17 July). Schubert also features in a solo recital by Imogen Cooper (22 July), who teams up the following day with the Maxwell Quartet to perform Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A. Watts is accompanied by Sholto Kynoch in a programme ranging from Richard Strauss to some of Britten’s fetching folksong arrangements. 

Baroque specialists, The Brook Street Band, follow the European trail of Patrick Home (the 18th century commissioner of Paxton House) with music by Frederick theGreat, Bach, Handel and Telemann (18 July). They also present “Mr Handel’s Pleasure Gardens”, the first of the Festival’s family concerts (17 July). 

Also for the family, Tracey Renton presents Boogie Beat, an interactive combination of songs, dancing, classical fairy tales and stories for young children, with opportunities after to explore Paxton’s riverside grounds (20 & 22 July).

Among the classical and traditional concerts presented by Live Music Now Scotland before and during the festival are a folk-inspired programme by Sally Simpson (fiddle) and Catrional Hawksworth (17 July), and Northumbrian traditional music performed by Eddie Seaman and Luc McNally (24 July).  

Other concerts with local historical resonance include lutenist Alex McCartney’s The Flodden Flag (the original flag, dating from 1513, can now be seen at Paxton House) on 25 July; and Concerto Caledonia’s tribute to the famous Union Chain Bridge that connects Scotland to England across the River Tweed, built just over 200 years ago in 1820.

New for 2021 are a series of online pre-festival talks and four ‘as live’ broadcast concerts available online. General manager Elizabeth Macdonald said: “Whilst the Music at Paxton team is working hard to ensure that we can reopen safely to live audiences in the Scottish Borders this summer, the addition of an online component to the programme is an excellent opportunity for us to connect with a wider audience, both nationally and globally.”

Full details of Music at Paxton are at

Scottish Opera’s Summer Programme

Scottish Opera has announced a summer programme of Covid-friendly opera that includes: a new outdoor production by Sir David McVicar of Verdi’s Falstaff; a Pop-up Opera Tour amounting to over 200 Scotland-wide performances, a new On Screen production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore; and a one-off film of Operatic Highlights encouraging local communities to support live opera once the lifting of pandemic restrictions permit.

“We plan to be back in theatres presenting live opera as soon as restrictions allow,” says Scottish Opera general manager Alex Reedijk. “I am delighted that we are preparing to bring live music back to audiences following almost a year without live opera.”

Scots-born McVicar, whose career has included hit productions for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and who last directed Scottish Opera in its 2017 production of Debussy’s Pelléas and Melisande, applies his creative energy to one of Verdi’s most popular comic Shakespeare operas. This co-production with Santa Fe Opera will be staged – as was last year’s outdoor La boheme – in the company’s Edington Street car park. Exact dates are yet to be confirmed, and a further announcement of additional Edinburgh dates is anticipated over the coming weeks.

Sung in English, the cast includes Roland Wood, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Louise Winter and Jamie MacDougall. Scottish Opera music director Stuart Stratford conducts.

The summer months (provisionally June to September, dependent on the Scottish Government’s timeline on lifting restrictions) also see a repeat of last year’s Pop-up Opera Tour to outside locations around Scotland, this time with a show that fuses together five Gilbert and Sullivan favourites: The Gondoliers, The Mikado, the Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe. 

During the final stages of the tour around September, Scottish Opera will also revive its children’s entertainment A Little Bit of Bubble McBea, aimed at lower primary school years, and containing an environmental message that coincides conveniently with the run up to Glasgow’s hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26.

One of the company’s best initiatives over the past year has been its enforced foray into filmed opera, with staff director Roxana Haines at its forefront. After her December success with Cosi fan tutte, she now turns her directorial talents to Donizetti’s playful opera buffa, L’elisir d’amore, which she sets in another “socially distanced” time, the Jane Austen era. 

Scottish Opera emerging artists Catriona Hewistson, Shengzhi Ten and Arthur Bruce star alongside guest principals Roland Wood and Elena Garrido Madrona and an 18-strong chorus in this collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Filming takes place on 22 May with a release date of 18 June. A special edition of BBC Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall on 13 June, will feature audio excerpts.

Prior to that, on 23 April, Scottish Opera releases Live in South Lanarkshire, a programme of operatic favourites recorded in Rutherglen Town Hall, designed to fulfil the role of the annual Opera Highlights tour that normally takes place in small venues around Scotland. This filmed version will be released via the Scottish Opera website.
Full information at

Perth Festival

May’s Perth Festival of the Arts has maintained a classical music core to its programme even as it has diversified into other areas of music, theatre and a popular art fair. This year, although it will not be able to welcome live audiences to its concerts, it has doubled down on that commitment, with a fine line-up of local and visiting artists.

The 49th festival opens on May 20 with a concert by the Scottish Ensemble, filmed in the Byre at Inchrya as the string group continues its eye-catching exploration of different venues in its own response to the current crisis. The programme will be an international journey, visiting the Balkans, Central Europe, the Americas and Scandinavia and culminating in Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, the work that had been due to close Perth’s 2020 Festival.

On the days following there is a concert from Perth Concert Hall, with Spanish saxophonist Manu Brazo, violinist Claudia Uriarte and pianist Prajna Indrawati, a performance by chamber choir The Sixteen followed by a live Q&A with its founder and conductor Harry Christophers, and a solo piano recital by Isata Kanneh-Mason featuring works by Mozart, Barber, Chopin and Gershwin.

The following week, the festival has concerts at Perth Museum and Art Gallery with the Gesualdo Six singing Monteverdi and Palestrina, and at Perth Theatre Studio with the Sitkovetsky Trio playing Schumann and Tchaikovsky and soprano Ilona Domnich, pianist Sholto Kynoch and critic Michael White exploring the songs of Rachmaninov.

The classical series closes at Perth Concert Hall with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and soloist Nicola Benedetti playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

Other ingredients of the programme include traditional music from Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton and jazz from the Fergus McCreadie Trio and big band Fat-Suit.

Tickets and Festival passes are on sale and full details are available at

Benedetti premiere

The world premiere of a new concerto written by clarinettist and composer Mark Simpson for Nicola Benedetti will be free to view on Thursday April 22 on Marquee TV and for seven days thereafter. The first performance of the work will be given by the London Symphony Orchestra with its Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda on the podium.

The LSO is one of four partner co-commissioners of the concerto, along with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Germany’s WDR Sinfonieorchester and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in the USA. The RSNO had been due to give the first Scottish performances on April 23 and 24 in Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of the season that was announced immediately  before the pandemic struck.

Benedetti is a featured soloist in the new digital season by the RSNO, playing concertos by Karol Szymanowski on April 16 and June 11, however the Scottish premiere of the Simpson concerto is now pencilled in for early in 2022. RSNO chief executive Alistair Mackie told VoxCarnyx that details were still to be confirmed, but a provisional date was being held in the soloist’s diary.

The concerto is of particular interest because Simpson and Benedetti are near-contemporaries whose early fame came through the bi-annual BBC Young Musician Competition. The violinist won at the Usher Hall in 2004, playing the Szymanowski’s Concerto No 1, and Simpson was the winner at the Sage, Gateshead, in 2006.

The decision by Mackie and the RSNO to postpone their performances raises interesting questions about concert scheduling as a result of the move to online streaming, and ones which may persist beyond the health emergency if orchestras build on the experience of making work available that way, as seems likely.

Previously, it would have been perfectly acceptable for a new work to be heard in front of a live audience in London, and then repeated for concert-goers in Edinburgh and Glasgow the same week. However, the RSNO felt that it could not broadcast its performance when the LSO’s would still be available to watch, especially, perhaps, as the London orchestra’s premiere is initially free to view, while the RSNO’s would have been part of a subscription season. Orchestral managements have yet another variable to take into account as they look to a future beyond Covid-19.

The LSO’s chief executive, Kathryn McDowell, has announced the Chief Conductor who will succeed Sir Simon Rattle. Another musical knight, Sir Antonio Pappano, will move from his current position at the Royal Opera House, where his contract ends in July 2024. Pappano will be styled Chief Conductor Designate at the LSO from September 2023 and take up the post a year later.

Keith Bruce

Blended menu in East Neuk

As Scotland looks forward to the possible return of some live performances over the summer, following this week’s announcement at Holyrood by the First Minister, the East Neuk Festival in Fife has come sprinting out of the blocks with a programme of online, on air and outdoor activity.

Running over the weekend July 1 to 4, the Festival, directed since its inception by Svend McEwan-Brown, will be providing pop-up performances by its Band-in-a-Van in the pretty coastal villages.

Its regular sand artists, Jamie Wardley and Claire Jamieson, will be creating work on Elie beach, and the grounds of the National Trust-run Kellie Castle at Pittenweem will see the installation of a labyrinth based on the contours of the Fife Coastal Path, cut into a wildflower meadow.

The programme that will be available online includes many artists who have visited the festival in the past, alongside some making their East Neuk debuts. The Tallis Scholars mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Josquin with a performance of his Missa Ave maris stella alongside music by Gibbons, Byrd and Tallis. The Castalian String Quartet will play Beethoven’s late String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132 alongsideJanáček‘s The Kreutzer Sonata and pianist Llyr Williams will perform Chopin’s 24 Préludes, Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau, and Mozart’s Sonata No. 13 in B flat major, K333. 

BBC Radio 3 will collaborate with the festival on four concerts. Ranging from Adès to Zacharias, the performances will be recorded on Saturday 3 July and Sunday 4 July for future broadcast. Musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and guitarist Sean Shibe will be joined by composer and conductor Thomas Adès, in his first visit to the festival, in a performance of two of his works – Court Studies from The Tempest and Habanera from The Exterminating Angel – along with music by Poulenc, De Falla, Janáček and the UK premiere of Francisco Coll’s Turia for ensemble and solo guitar.

Pianist Christian Zacharias returns to Fife to perform a programme of Bach, Haydn and Schubert’s Sonata in G, D894 – a work he performed by candlelight in his first ENF recital in 2005. The Castalian Quartet pair Beethoven’s early string quartet, No. 3, Op.18, with Dvořák’s final string quartet, No. 14, Op. 105, whilst violinist Benjamin Baker and guitarist Sean Shibe, both currently embarking on ENF Retreat residencies, will perform as a duo for the first time in a programme that will include Bach, Cage, Piazzolla, Pärt and Steve Reich. At present the festival is unable to offer tickets to these recordings but should it become possible to invite an audience, the festival will make event details and tickets available.

“We know not everybody will feel comfortable coming to a festival this year, so we hope that by giving the opportunity to visit digitally, and – in partnership with BBC Radio 3 – on the radio, we can offer the joy of ENF to as many people as possible,” said McEwan-Brown.

General Manager Ian Gray added: “Following yesterday’s announcement by Nicola Sturgeon we welcome the possibility of a return of performances with audiences indoors, and will respond swiftly to announce more events in Fife 1- 4 July once we have the full details of how this will work.”

Full details of what is currently on offer at ENF this summer can be seen on its website:

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