Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Dartington announces 70th anniversary programme

11:49, 6th March 2018

Dartington International Summer School & Festival has announced the programme for its 70th anniversary season, which features 100 concerts.

Week one will see Ex Cathedra perform music inspired by the dawn chorus and Latin American repertoire, Fretwork present a programme about sunrise and sunset, and soprano Clare Wilkinson sing of Elizabethan celestial bodies. Joanna MacGregor, Stevie Wishart and Tamim al-Barghouti will present a retelling of the Caliph and the Poet; Egyptian singer Merit Ariane will offer story and song devoted to birds; and jazz-musicians Huw Warren and Steve Buckley will collaborate with poet Alice Oswald. Other performers include the Brook Street Ban, Atéa Wind Quintet and the City Musick.

Bach is the focus for week two, which will culminate in a performance of the St Matthew Passion conducted by Tom Seligman, with Tom Randle and Gillian Keith sharing the role of the Evangelist. James Runcie’s play The Great Passion recreates Bach’s struggles in Leipzig and explores his influence on other composers, from his sons to Villa Lobos. The week will also feature appearances from Baroque instrumentalists including Robert Howarth, Steven Devine, Richard Tunnicliffe and Pavlo Beznosiuk, and Trio Gaspard, while Devon-based folk duo Harbottle and Jonas will perform alongside Paul Hutchinson in folk sessions in the concert hall bar.

Highlights of week three include a performance of Haydn’s The Creation, with Jane Glover conducting and Harriet Walter as narrator; a recital from Imogen Cooper and Felicity Lott; Quatuor Hermès’ Dartington debut; and two performances of Joan Littlewood’s satire, Oh! What a Lovely War.

Alfred Brendel will give a talk on Mozart, followed by performances of the composer’s works by violinist Thomas Gould, cellist Adrian Brendel, and pianist Florian Mitrea. Timothy Redmond will mentor conducting students in Brahms; and Dartington will host its second Piano Concerto Competition and Opera Gala.

The final week of the 70th anniversary year will celebrate the history of Dartington’s new music and vintage Summer School film. Byron Wallen and Eric Vloeimans will perform, and there will be a performance of Bernstein’s West Side Story Dances. The alt-folk duo Dead Rat Orchestra will curate late night installations around the garden; Neil Brand leads a programme of live music and film; and Freya Waley-Cohen’s installation Permutations will be unveiled. The Festival ends with Verdi’s Requiem, and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

There will be three concerts each day throughout the festival: an early slot at 5.15pm, an evening concert at 7.45pm and a late-night show at 10pm, in addition to a range of special events including a salsa ball and a medieval tavern night.

Artistic director Joanna MacGregor says: ‘Dartington is a place of shimmering beauty, and its world-famous Summer School is 70 years young this year – proudly contributing to the creative life of this country since 1948.

‘We have a packed programme of celebratory events, with over one hundred concerts, photographic exhibitions and installations, film and illustrated talks. From opera, jazz, chamber music, folk, and poetry, to musical theatre, Brazilian rhythms, gospel and choral music, there’s a vibrant sequence of live events, and a really festive atmosphere.’

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through the Dartington Summer School website. Tickets cost £10-£20 and the festival will also include a number of free events.


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