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Arran International Festival

of Chamber Music and Song

19th to 25th August 2024

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Purple heather
Brodick Bay, Goat Fell, Isle of Arran

Welcome to our website!

 

We are delighted to announce the programme for the inaugural Arran International Festival of Chamber Music and Song, running this summer from the 19th to 25th August 2024.

You can find details of the programme of concerts and events below, as well as links to book and purchase tickets.

 

We will be updating the website on an ongoing basis, adding more details and information about the festival and our artists in the coming days and weeks. So please keep watching this space!

Green Scottish hills
Brodick Castle, National Trust for Scotland, Isle of Arran

A word from the director:

Our festival programme is announced and I’m thrilled with the concerts and events we have on offer for you in our inaugural year. We have outstanding local talent, world class artists, a UK premiere, a world premiere, beautiful music and art workshops, a guest lecture and the best of Scottish traditional music. Please read on! A unique sequence of chamber concerts spread across a summer afternoon. Gary Hoffman is considered by many to be one of the greatest cellists of his generation and on Saturday August 24th, he and his internationally acclaimed colleague, Lydia Shelley, will play Bach’s Six Suites for solo cello, in three sittings, at 1pm, 3pm and 5 pm, in the Drawing Room of Brodick Castle. Their programme will also feature a UK Premiere of Trois Partitas for two cellos by the French composer, Graciane Finzi. Brodick Castle itself resonates with musical history. The castle was the seat of the Hamilton Family, and a portrait of the Duchess of Hamilton hangs in the Drawing Room, playing a pianoforte owned by Chopin, who gave her piano lessons. The Duke of Hamilton, who built Brodick Castle, was tutored by Mozart. This musical connection adds an eloquent and meaningful dimension to the concert, and this is why we are making Brodick Castle the centrepiece of our festival, the history and intimacy of the Drawing Room providing a wonderful, atmospheric venue for chamber concerts. Three outstanding local talents are appearing at the festival. The pianist Iain Clarke, playing in the opening concert in Whiting Bay, is the Gilbert & Eileen Edgar and Anthony Saltmarsh Collaborative Piano Fellow at the Royal College of Music; Lucy Walsh, studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, brings her Iorsa Collective to perform a Candlelight Concert in Brodick Parish Church. Lucy will also be giving a musical workshop for local, young classical and traditional musicians. I am thrilled to announce that Electra Perivolaris has taken the position of Festival Composer in Residence. Electra is very highly acclaimed, both as a pianist and a composer, having been described by Sir James MacMillan as 'one of the most exciting young composers emerging in Scotland today’ and by the BBC as a Classical Star of the Future. Electra is composing a new piece for the inaugural festival, inspired by the mountains of Arran, which will be premiered by Lucy Walsh and Christopher Clarke in their concert in Brodick Parish Church on Friday August 23rd. During my initial conversation with Electra, I was immediately struck by her enthusiasm, imagination and vision. Alongside her remarkable talent as a composer, her dedication to musical outreach and educational projects, and her extensive experience working with children, young people, and more isolated communities, will undoubtedly be invaluable to the festival's creative growth and development in the coming years. We have several free music and art workshops for children and young people during our festival week, led by Electra and Lucy, as well as a special music therapy workshop for local, young people with autism. Acclaimed local writer and storyteller, Marty Ross, presents his new storytelling show, a vivid and dramatic tale of Scotland’s very own variant of the vampire legend, the beautiful, seductive, but deadly Baobhan Sith. Our inaugural guest lecture will be given by Professor Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts, the managing editor of the Sir Walter Scott Minstrelsy Project and the founder of the JGU Scotland Hub, Mainz, Germany. A passionate advocate for developing cultural exchange between Scotland and Germany, Sigrid will talk about culture and the beauty of nations, preserving the authenticity of cultures, heritage, and the importance of local voices. A specific aim of the Arran International Festival of Chamber Music and Song is to bring together the finest artists from the classical and traditional genres, so I’m delighted to report that Gillian Frame and Findlay Napier will be giving a concert at Brodick Golf Club on the evening of Saturday August 24th. As residents of Brodick, that’s just round the corner for them! Gillian, recently listed in The Scotsman as one of twelve influential women in Scottish Culture, and Findlay, a former Scots Trad Music Musician of the Year nominee, are two of Scotland’s finest traditional artists. On Sunday 25th, on the lawn at the Douglas, we’ll meet for a final farewell ‘Border Raid’ - all comers welcome! - to make some music, have a wee drink and let the good times roll. But before all of this, please join me and some special festival guests for the opening welcome concert, on Thursday August 22nd in Whiting Bay Hall - an evening of music and song when, among other things, I’ll be singing The Songs of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson and Vaughan Williams, mélodies by Fauré, hits from operetta and American Musical theatre, and a Scots song or two. I welcome you to our inaugural festival, set in the midst of the outstanding natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Isle of Arran. We're getting across borders - whether international, cultural or genre. That's the beauty of music and art. Please join us and enjoy yourself and, if you see me around, come and say hello! Richard Morrison Festival Director

Richard Morrison baritone, Scottish baritone singer, song festival director

Festival Programme 2024

Arran International Festival Dance Beneath a Scarlet Moon
Arran International Festival Gillian Frame Findlay Napier
Arran International Festival Richard Morrison - Border Raid for all comers
Arran International Festival International Guest Talk Sigrid Rieuwerts
Arran International Festival Gary Hoffman Lydia Shelley Bach Six Cello Suites
Arran International Festival Richard Morrison baritone Opening Concert
Arran International Festival Music & Art Workshop Electra Perivolaris
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Arran International Festival music therapy workshop with Electra Perivolaris
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Arran International Festival programme at a glance
Marty

Dance Beneath a Scarlet Moon, a storytelling show by Marty Ross.

Arran Botanical Drinks, Cladach Beach House,

Tuesday August 20th, 7pm

Tickets £15.

 

 

Arran storyteller Marty Ross is set to chill spines with another of his vividly dramatic and theatrical storytelling performances, this time focusing on Scotland’s very own variant of the vampire legend, the beautiful, seductive, but deadly Baobhan Sith.

“This draws on folk tale,” says Ross, “but it’s not some dry and dusty recitation of an ancient legend. My story relocates this ancient supernatural figure here to the Isle of Arran in 1919, as a WWI soldier and his new bride encounter a vampiric tempter with a taste for warrior’s blood."

Marty Ross has given many performances on Arran over the years, although there’s been a slight hiatus of late as he’s been busy working with Oscar winner Sam (American Beauty) Mendes, scripting an epic trilogy of Dickens adaptations for Audible, starring the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Toby Jones and Miriam Margoyles (who reminisced with Ross about her time on Arran filming with Alan Cumming!).

But all this hob-nobbing with the rich and famous hasn’t diverted Ross from his great love of the purest, most traditional forms of live storytelling - in this new show, Dance Beneath A Scarlet Moon, Marty once again presents his own unique take on traditional Scots lore.

“As a modern storyteller, you’re constantly fighting the assumption that storytelling is just for the kiddies at bedtime. Not here – this aims to be a piece of adult drama, as rich and complex as anything you might experience at the theatre or cinema: a feature length work of vividly enacted narrative. And if it gets too intense at times, nae bother -  we’re in a venue where it’s easy to get a fine drink to calm your nerves!”

Opening

A Warm Festival Welcome with Richard Morrison and special guests

With Iain Clarke and Alan Kitchen, on piano

Whiting Bay Hall,

Thursday August 22nd, 7:30pm

Tickets £18

This is the opening concert of the inaugural Arran International Festival of Chamber Music and Song and Richard will be welcoming you with an eclectic programme of music and song, featuring The Songs of Travel by Vaughan Williams, mélodies by Fauré, Debussy and Duparc, hits from Operetta and American Musical Theatre, and a Scots song or two.  He'll be accompanied by the young Arran pianist, Iain Clarke, just one of the several talented, local artists who are appearing at the festival this year.

Widely respected for his warm, lyrical voice and versatility as a performer, Richard Morrison appears at concert halls and opera houses throughout Europe. Opera highlights include principal guest roles at Oper Leipzig, the Staatsoper Hannover and the Staatstheater Nürnberg; in concert he has appeared at the Berliner Philharmonie, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall; on CD he has recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos and Warner Classics. He has broadcast BBC TV & Radio and Classic FM, both as a singer and a presenter. Richard’s versatility extends beyond classical music and opera into musicals, theatre and film, he has toured and recorded with the John Wilson Orchestra in the hit concert productions, A Celebration of the MGM Film Musicals and Cole Porter in Hollywood

 

“Being on big concert hall stages is magic, opera is wonderful, the theatrical drama, the thrill of singing with orchestras, the scale of the art form, but most of all I love to sing songs, just me and a piano in a room with some people there to sing to. There’s a freedom in that. German Lieder, French and Russian songs, I love them all - but especially, I love to sing the songs of my homeland, Scots songs.”


Richard has released two CDs of Scottish Songs, Songs of my Home and Isle of Arran.

Iorsa

Candlelight Concert

Christopher Clarke – Harp

Lucy Walsh – Flute 

Brodick Parish Church

Friday August 23rd, 7:30pm

Tickets £12

With works by Debussy, Vaughan Williams, McGuire and Takemitsu and featuring a world premiere, inspired by the mountains of Arran, by festival Composer in Residence, Electra Perivolaris

Lucy Walsh

Lucy is a Scottish flautist studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and will soon start her Masters at the University of Arts Bern in Switzerland. She is strongly influenced by her upbringing on the Isle of Arran, creatively channelling the sounds of a childhood immersed in traditional music and nature. Her time in London has facilitated exploration of contemporary flute technique and improvisation/composition, most recently experimenting with electronic music production. 

She is passionate about pushing the boundaries of flute performance and advocating for increased accessibility of classical music to the wider public. In her free time, she makes jewellery for her friends and propagates her houseplants.

Christopher Clarke

Christopher (he/him, they/them) hails from Windsor, Canada, where their musical journey began at a young age with the harp. After completing a Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University, they pursued a Master of Performance at the Guildhall School in London, UK. Now residing in London, Christopher continues to explore contemporary harp repertoire and collaborate on various experimental musical and theatrical projects. Follow their musical journey on Instagram/YouTube/TikTok: @mainlychrisclarke.

Anchor 1

J. S. Bach, 6 Suites for solo cello 

Graciane Finzi : Trois Partitas for two cellos 

Gary Hoffman, cello 

Lydia Shelley, cello and piccolo cello

The Drawing Room of Brodick Castle

Saturday August 24th, three concert sittings at 1pm, 3pm & 5pm

Tickets £40 per concert; three concert ticket £100

World class music in a beautiful national heritage building.

 

The world-renowned cellist, Gary Hoffman, is considered to be one of the greatest artists of his generation and the internationally respected, Lydia Shelley, is a former member of Quatuor Voce, one the world’s leading string quartets.  In this unique concert event, taking place over three sittings in the beautiful Drawing Room of Brodick Castle, Gary and Lydia will play Bach’s Six Suites for solo cello, as well as the UK Premiere of Trois Partitas for two cellos by the French composer, Graciane Finzi.

 

Programme details are as follows:

 

Concert 1, 1pm to 2pm

Bach 

Suite no 3 in C major 

Finzi  

« Trois Partitas » pour duo de violoncelles - Partita no1  

Bach 

Suite no 5 in C minor

Concert 2, 3pm to 4pm

Bach 

Suite no 2 in D minor 

Finzi 

« Trois Partitas » pour duo de violoncelles - Partita no2  

Bach 

Suite no 4 in E flat major

Concert 3, 5pm to 6pm 

Bach 

Suite no 1 in G major 

Bach 

Suite no 6 in D major / piccolo cello 

Finzi  

« Trois Partitas » pour duo de violoncelles - Partita no 3

Arran International Festival Brodick Castle National Trust for Scotland

Gary Hoffman and Lydia Shelley The essence of a musician's life undoubtedly lies in the delicate balance between a desire for solitude and the urgent need to express and engage in a dialogue, and "bring to life" works that truly exist only in the time of their performance in concert. The mystery and magic of live performance! Like any poet of the concert platform, cellist and pedagogue Gary Hoffman took responsibility for his choices early on. Thanks to his parents, both professional musicians, and later to his teachers, Karl Fruh in Chicago and, even more vital, János Starker, he is a stranger to compromise. Winning the Premier Grand Prix of the Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 1986 opened doors for him. For all that, he has never made any concessions in his artistic decisions. The rules impose themselves naturally: to master the instrument’s technique and enter step by step into the universe of a work. He plays to transmit absolute respect for the score, but also the need to question tradition. His recordings for La Dolce Volta bear witness to this. To young musicians, he passes on an appetite for doubt, curiosity and risk, from the standard repertoire to new music. For the past twenty years British cellist Lydia Shelley has dedicated her musical life to the art and discipline of playing string quartets. Residing in France since 2012, from 2013 until 2023 she was the cellist of the internationally renowned Paris-based Quatuor Voce. From the Philharmonie de Paris to the Oji Hall in Tokyo, from the Wigmore Hall in London to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, passing by the Frick Collection in New York, the Quatuor Voce is considered "among the best ensembles in the world" (Reinhard Palmer, Süddeutsche Zeitung). Their numerous recordings have been praised by the international press, including The Strad, Télérama, and Diapason. Musicians from different generations, and having followed very different paths until now - one a soloist and the other a chamber musician - Gary Hoffman and Lydia Shelley have long shared their vision of music through various channels: first, one as mentor, the other as student, later as colleagues in chamber music and ultimately as friends with a shared passion for music and its place in the world. In 2024 these two cellists come together in another context: to create an innovative and moving project looking at a musician’s relationship to solitude through the musical monument which is Jean-Sébastien Bach’s Six Suites for solo cello.

Graciane Finzi Although the interpretation of Bach's Suites in concert inherently involves solitary practice, the artistic complicity of these two cellists has led them to seek a way to experience this solitude together by intertwining their personal interpretations of the Suites with a new commission from the French composer Graciane Finzi: a work for two cellos, specially conceived as an echo to the Bach Suites, composed of three pieces, each placed alongside two Suites. Conceived as three concerts taking place either over three days or all on one day, each concert comprises two Suites - one for each cellist - with one of the three new duos by Graciane Finzi. The choice of Graciane Finzi for this project was immediately evident to both Hoffman and Shelley, both artists having a strong musical link with Finzi. In 2002 Gary Hoffman commissioned her « Ballade » for cello and orchestra, Errance dans la nuit, and in 2017 Lydia Shelley recorded her Kaddish for tenor, piano and cello on the album Confluences. Having been awarded amongst others the SACEM Grand Prize for the ensemble of her work in 2001, and in 2006 the Chartier Prize from the Institut de France, Finzi’s work has been at the forefront of French contemporary music since the 1970s. Her ability to communicate a very real emotion in music was prized by both cellists, and the idea of writing a work which mirrored Bach’s Suites was a challenge Finzi eagerly accepted. The osmosis between the three musicians was felt straight away, and the idea for the « Trois Partitas » was born : exploring the most intimate of works for solo cello in an atypical way : together. As if these two cellist’s inherent need to dialogue together might put an end to the solitude of the Six Suites.

Gillian

An Evening with Gillian Frame and Findlay Napier

Brodick Golf Club

Saturday August 24th, 8pm

Tickets £18

Scottish fiddler, Gillian Frame, listed recently in The Scotsman as one of twelve influential women in Scottish Culture, and singer, songwriter Findlay Napier, former Scots Trad Music Musician of the Year nominee, are two of Scotland’s leading traditional artists.  Join them on their home turf, in Brodick Golf Club, for an evening concert of the best of Scottish Folk and Traditional Music.

Border

The Border Raid!

on the Lawn at the Douglas Hotel

Sunday August 25th, 12pm - 4pm

Free entry.

A festival farewell musical get-together - all comers welcome! - featuring special guests and local musicians. The only imperative here, to make a bit music and have a lot of fun.

Music & Art

Music and art workshop

led by Festival Composer in Residence, Electra Perivolaris

Festival Hub Pavilion, Ormidale Park, Brodick

Wednesday August 21st, 4:30pm

Free to take part

In this workshop, Electra will use graphic scores as a means of enabling participants to perform, compose and improvise their own brand new music. The workshop will be suitable for beginner and advanced musicians of all ages, including those who are comfortable reading musical notation and those who prefer to play by ear. We will explore the possibilities of composing new music for different instruments and voices, using the graphic scores created as a means of accessing a wide range of musical colours and textures. 

Participation is free, but please click the Register button, which will take you to our Ticket Shop - going through the 'purchase' process is the way to register - there's no cost! Many thanks.

Therapy

Music therapy workshop

for young people with autism

led by Angie McLeod and Festival Composer in Residence, Electra Perivolaris

Festival Hub Pavilion, Ormidale Park, Brodick,

Thursday August 22nd, 4:30pm

Free to take part

We welcome you to our musical workshop.  Angie and Electra have a lot of experience and understand working with those of us who have sensory sensitivities.

 

Participation is free, to register please click the Register button, which will take you to our Ticket Shop and the 'purchase' process - but there's no cost, it's just the way to register!

 

Many thanks and look forward to seeing you!

Musical storytelling workshop

for young traditional and classical musicians

Imagination, improvisation, poetry -

let’s explore what Arran means to young people on the island!

​with the Iorsa Collective

Lucy Walsh and Jessica McNulty

Brodick Parish Church,

Friday August 23rd, 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Free to take part

Iorsa Collective

We are the Iorsa Collective and we focus on multimedia, interactive events with the aim to create accessible ways to enjoy a variety of art forms. We strive to foster cross-art collaborations through the integration of Western classical/contemporary music with spoken word, acoustic singer-songwriter sets and traditional (Scottish/Irish) music in a casual, laid-back setting. We hold the core value of uplifting marginalised voices in the arts, and pledge to advocate for diversity and accessibility in classical music, for both audiences and participants. The name Iorsa Collective derives from Glen Iorsa on Arran.

This workshop is based on improvisation, in order to provide accessibility for young musicians across genres. This is to cater for the fact that most young musicians on Arran play Scottish traditional music, and therefore the tendency is to learn by ear as opposed to reading Western classical notation.

Lucy and Jessica will work with visual and written stimulus, encouraging the children to connect soundworlds and harmonies to images and poetry. Through this connection, the children will be encouraged to explore writing spoken word pieces, and improvising on their instruments to accompany these. The aim is to not only open these young people up to the world of contemporary musical improvisation, but also spoken word poetry.

Lucy Walsh, flautist and Jessica, also a flautist and librettist are both in their final year at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and have received training in both classical improvisation, with David Dolan, and contemporary improvisation and composition. Jessica has also received training in Creative Writing during her studies.

Participation is free, to register please click the Register button, which will take you to our Ticket Shop and the 'purchase' process - but there's no cost, it's just the way to register!

 

Many thanks and look forward to seeing you!

Arran International Festival Iorsa Collective Lucy Walsh

International guest lecture

by Professor Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Arran Heritage Museum,

Saturday August 24th, 11am

Tickets £5

Our inaugural guest lecture will be given by Professor Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts, the managing editor of the Sir Walter Scott Minstrelsy Project and the founder of the JGU Scotland Hub, Mainz, Germany.  A passionate advocate for building cultural exchange between Scotland and Germany, Sigrid will talk about culture and the beauty of  nations, preserving the authenticity of cultures, heritage, and the importance of local voices.

(this event will be signed for the deaf.)

 

Many thanks and look forward to seeing you!

Supporters and partners

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Festival patrons

Dear Richard and Trustees of the festival, The Arran International Festival of Chamber Music and Song looks fantastic and you’ve clearly put in an enormous amount of work to get to this stage. As you know I’ve always been a huge fan of arts festivals of any kind, not least because my first professional job in the industry was at the Edinburgh Festival. Whilst organising and participating in festivals requires huge commitment, many regard festivals as the lifeblood of our industry, they allow artists to get together to share and celebrate their work and enrich their skill and talent, but more importantly they offer audiences the opportunity to experience creativity, entertainment and work that is usually difficult for them to access, it looks like The Arran International Festival fulfils all of these things. Having spent many happy times on Arran over the last 20 years, I believe your festival will be embraced wholeheartedly by local people and business, and will add to the many existing attractions on the island for visitors. PW Productions is delighted to be able to support the festival, congratulations for getting this far and we wish you every success with it this year and well into the future, With very best wishes, Iain Gillie CEO, PW Productions, London.

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If you'd like to know more about the festival then please add your email and subscribe below - we'll keep you updated!

Thanks for your interest!

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