The Lammermuir Festival makes a return in 2021 to live performance with 14 days of 37 concerts at eight venues across East Lothian. The festival opens with four wonderful song recitals presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3 featuring Robert Murray and Alisdair Hogarth, James Atkinson and Sholto Kynoch, Catriona Morison and Malcolm Martineau, and Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton.
Over the course of these two weeks some of the best classical musicians gather to bring audiences a very special re-immersion in the power of live music.
Artistic Directors of Lammermuir Festival, Hugh Macdonald and James Waters, said: “We are so looking forward to sharing live music with you in September – it has been far too long. We have wonderful artists returning, or coming for the first time to Lammermuir to treat audiences to a very special return to music making.
“Careful thought has gone into the audience experience and we are confident that we are presenting a carefully managed and rich series of concerts. We are thrilled that with the support of our Friends, Benefactors and Supporters we are able to return with such a strong festival this year, including four live BBC Radio 3 relays. We look forward to welcoming you to this most magical part of the world this September.”
Lammermuir Festival is thrilled to welcome the visionary American pianist Jeremy Denk as its Artist in Residence for four concerts. Continuing Lammermuir’s Bach strand into its twelfth festival Denk brings his phenomenal technique and insight to The Well-tempered Clavier Book1 on Friday 10 September.
He is joined by Maria Włoszczowska and members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for Schubert’s popular ‘Trout’ quintet, treats us to a typically unorthodox solo recital of Bach, Taylor-Coleridge, Thomas ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins, Joplin-Chauvin, Beethoven and Rzewski; and finally closes the Lammermuir Festival for 2021 on Monday 20 September with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra playing two sublime Mozart Piano Concertos No14 in E flat major K449 and No23 in A major K488
On Thursday 9 September in St Mary’s Haddington, Scottish Opera returns to the festival for the fourth consecutive year to bring audiences a lightly staged performance of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with a fantastic young cast and full chorus and orchestra.
Old friends the Maxwell and Navarra String Quartets return with programmes of Haydn, Howells, Prokofiev, Beethoven and Dvořák, and Mozart, Bartók and Beethoven respectively. Tom Poster’s fabulous set of virtuosi the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective makes its Festival debut with two concerts.
The first offers repertoire for piano and wind soloists including works by Tailleferre, Poulenc, Glinka, Simpson and Beethoven. Their second concert is a tribute to the legendary horn player Dennis Brain two of the greatest pieces from Brain’s repertoire Mozart’s Piano and Wind Quintet and Brahms’s Horn Trio alongside a recent tribute composed by Huw Watkins.
The stunning acoustic of St Mary’s Haddington hosts ravishing choral music through the festival. On Friday 17 September Tenebrae perform Poulenc’s masterpiece La Figure Humaine – a spell-binding work that makes extreme demands of the ensemble. On Sunday 19th the Marian Consort presents a programme of Renaissance protest songs from Tallis, Cardoso, Duarte Lobo, Morago, Byrd and White.
Earlier in the festival brilliant new kids on the block The Gesualdo Six present two performances: a concert exploring Josquin’s legacy on Saturday 11 September, and a ‘Fading’, a programme which juxtaposes startling ‘modern’ sounds in Renaissance polyphony with music from our own time on Sunday 12 September.
In a festival programme which is bursting at the seams, Lammermuir presents semi-stagings of Wolf’s ‘Italian Songbook’ on Sunday 12 September and Wagner’s ‘Wesendonck’ songs in ‘The View from the Villa’ on Sunday 19 September, as well as Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in Schoenberg’s chamber version, welcoming fantastic singers to this year’s festival including Joshua Ellicott, Susan Bickley, Kathryn Rudge and Roderick Williams.
The Dunedin Consort continues its unbroken 12-year streak of performing at every Lammermuir Festival with Nicholas Mulroy leading singers and instrumentalists in a ravishing selection of Monteverdi madrigals about love, loss and war with soprano Julia Doyle and bass Matthew Brook.
Red Note Ensemble will transfix with the shimmering orchestration of James Dillon’s Tanz/Haus at Dunbar Parish Church on Wednesday 15 September, and four of Scotland’s finest musicians, pianist Susan Tomes and members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra come together on Saturday 11 September to play Mozart and Fauré Piano Quartets.
On the final weekend, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra plays Mozart, Britten and Haydn led by Conductor Peter Whelan and joined by star tenor Joshua Ellicott for Britten’s ‘Nocturne’ his setting of eight poems on sleep, night and dreams,.
Recitals come from a range of wonderful musicians from a late-night violin recital with Coco Tomita and Simon Callaghan on Saturday 18 September at Holy Trinity Church Haddington, to Ryan Corbett’s accordion recitals at Garvald Village Hall and Innerwick Church showing off a startling virtuosity in music from several centuries.
In The Apollo of the Theorbo, Alex McCartney opens our eyes to the versatility of this instrument in a recital of preludes, toccatas and dance movements by Kapsberger. And stunning young trumpeter Aaron Akugbo and organist John Kitchen perform a morning concert of Torelli, Telemann, Pachelbel, Bach and Florence Price at Crichton Collegiate Church on Saturday 18 September.
On the final afternoon Clare Hammond and Richard Uttley play a tribute to the great British inter-war piano duo in Remembering Bartlett & Robertson with music by Bach, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Granados.
Coco Tomita (credit Yukari Tomita). Alex McCartney. Clare Hammond.
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said: “The Lammermuir Festival is distinguished by its use of beautiful locations across East Lothian, which makes this year’s return to live performance even more precious. As the long pause between notes comes to an end, audiences and artists will once again share their love of music together in the same place, at the same time.
“Creative Scotland is delighted to support a festival that presents such a world-class array of home-grown and international talent in person, across the airwaves and online.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Events play an important role in our communities as they sustain livelihoods and bring social and economic change.
“EventScotland is delighted to be supporting Lammermuir Festival through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, which is helping event organisers be innovative in their event delivery and pilot new ideas as they adapt to running events in the new norm.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and supporting events, including Lammermuir Festival, is crucial in our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The comfort and safety of artists and audiences is the top priority and so the festival has introduced best practice concert management features this year to help us all look out for each other.
- Smaller audiences in large airy venues
- St Mary’s, Haddington and Dunbar Parish Church
- Very small audiences in other medium sized venues
- Social distancing with 1 metre between seating
- Seat bubbles of 1 and 2 people
- Advance booking with e-tickets to print at home
- No intervals or refreshments to avoid mingling
- Controlled entry and exit to venues
- Friendly ushers to guide you through your visit
- Customer information desk at every concert
- Please check the What to Expect page at lammermuirfestival.co.uk for more details
Lammermuir Festival also announces its Secret Places programme, a programme of stunning online concerts available in November 2021. The series will juxtapose a select number of performances from the live festival programme, alongside several new concerts where artists perform in secret, beautiful East Lothian places inaccessible to live concert audiences. More will be announced in due course.
The Lammermuir Festival would like to thank Creative Scotland for its continuing support, EventScotland, McInroy & Wood and the many trusts, foundations, benefactors and friends of the festival who make a festival of this scale and quality possible.
Tickets can be booked online at lammermuriefstival.co.uk and over the phone at 0131 226 0004. Friends and Benefactors Priority Booking from Tuesday 27 July. All other booking opens Friday 30 July.
Opening image ‘Tenebrae 3’ – credit Sim Cannetty-Clarke