January is not, traditionally, an enjoyable month for most people living in the cold, dark, wet UK. One quite simple way of battling through this, we have found, is planning things to look forward to. So, on the tenuous claim of providing some kind of service to the community, we’ve compiled a list of what we’ve got coming up over the next few months until we’re released into the warm embrace of summer (or, ‘summer’, as it may well be).
On Thursday 19th January we’ll be limbering up once again for a performance of Goldberg Variations – ternary patterns for insomnia, our 2015 collaboration with Swedish contemporary dance company Andersson Dance, which is continuing to be snapped up by promoters and venues across the world.
This time we’re taking it to Bruges as part of the Bach Academy Bruges 2016 (or Bach Academie Brugge, for those with more continental leanings). Now in its sixth year, this is a really wonderful festival which celebrates the works of the Baroque genius, often with an twist (and it really is a packed and exciting programme; take a look for yourself and try and refrain from immediately booking a plane ticket to Belgium).
Closer to home, on Friday 3rd February, we have been invited to perform at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, a high-profile festival which truly does attract people from all over the world as well as making the dark start of the year a whole lot more bearable for native Glaswegians since its inception.
Alongside a host of musicians from various genres, from fiddler Duncan Chisholm to the Gaelic Psalm Singers, we’ll be performing new works by composer Craig Armstrong and Gaelic musician and composer Calum Martin, inspired by the psalm singing tradition. This includes the critically-acclaimed Ballantyne, which we had the pleasure of performing at the premiere in Stornoway in 2016. You can read more and book tickets here.
Later in the month, we are delighted to be collaborating with yet another exceptional musician, this time from the classical canon. Alina Ibragimova has established a deserved reputation as one of the most accomplished and intriguing soloists of the younger generation. Anyone following the 2015 BBC Proms will have surely noticed one of her many performances, the highlight being a complete recital of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin, repertoire for which she is now particularly and understandably renowned.
Alina will be joining us in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London for a tour called Music Is Power which celebrates the political, spiritual and emotional power of music, with pieces ranging from Arvo Pärt’s heart-rending six minutes of Silouan’s Song to Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major (with Alina as soloist – do not miss this!).
March will be a burst of busyness for us. From the 18th to the 21st, we’ll be in Inverness for one of our SE Residencies, where we swap the concert hall for the community with the aim of bringing music to as many people as possible, in ways which are meaningful and relevant to them. This year’s stay in Inverness has been planned in conjunction with three organisations: the Highland Chamber Orchestra, Quarriers and Dalneigh Primary School. Watch this space for the full details.
Intertwined with this, we also have a tour – one we’ve decided to call Baroque Dance Party. In the interests of full disclosure, it’s not really a party, but when you see the programme you’ll get the drift – Bach’s Air on the G String, Purcell’s Suite from The Fairy Queen, Telemann’s Tafelmusik… this is a Baroque-style good time. There is a twist, courtesy of star guest Johannes Fischer who, as well as providing Baroque percussion on the 18th-century big hitters, will also be playing live from an ‘electronic sound table’ (one of his own creations) during Tafelmusik. For a taste of exactly what that might entail, this is Johannes playing his own composition, Air:
Then, at the end of the month on Thursday 30th, we’re popping down the road to Dumfries, one of our newer concert destinations, for a more intimate evening as violinist Cheryl Crockett and cellist Alison Lawrance perform a selection of duets for violin and cello from the likes of Glière, Bartók, Ravel and more. If you live in the Dumfries & Galloway area, please do come and support us on Thursday 30th March at Theatre Royal.
We’re off to Europe again in April for another festival celebrating the works and legacy of J.S.Bach, this time in his home country, and specialising not just in Bach but Baroque music in general. The Thuringia Bach Festival is another packed and prestigious European festival so we are genuinely thrilled to have been invited for not one but two performances; on the first night we’re playing a programme you may recognise from our Concerts by Candlelight tour in 2015, alternating string pieces by Bach with meditative jewels by Arvo Pärt, and on the second, we’ll perform Goldberg Variations – ternary patterns for insomnia.
At the very end of May, we’ll be (metaphorically) swapping the tour bus for the Eastern Europe Express, and (musically) calling at various stops across Poland and the Czech Republic; there’s even a slight detour to France, thanks to David Matthews’ stunning string arrangements of two Chopin nocturnes. We will be expertly guided through Gòrecki, Bacewicz, Dvořák and more by Polish-born Bartosz Woroch, a gifted young violinist who will be guest director for these concerts across Dundee, Dumfries, Inverness and Glasgow.
Those of you who have been enthusiastically following along at home with your 2016-17 season brochure spread in front of you will notice that this is indeed the last tour of the current season. However, do not panic – we repeat, DO NOT PANIC – as at the end of May, we’ll be announcing our 2017-18 season, which is ridiculously full of concerts, collaborations, exciting soloists, creative learning activities, community events and much in between.
We hope we’ve given you something to look forward to over the next few months, and we also hope that you can make it to a concert or two. If you’d like to get news of these in your inbox you can always sign up to our mailing list – go to the homepage and scroll down, and you’ll see a box where you can sign up in approximately 60 seconds.
In the meantime, here’s Bartosz doing some lovely Mozart really well: