21 Feb The Festival goes virtual!
For the 2020 Cambridge Summer Music Festival we had 30 fantastic concerts lined up presenting the wonderful performers listed below. While for now we can’t hear them live we are providing links to performances by these musicians for you to enjoy in your homes – a ‘Virtual Festival’! Please check back frequently to see what’s new – and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates.
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Artists who were due to perform at the 2020 Cambridge Summer Music Festival
With links to their Virtual Festival performances
Ruth Applin, Mark Austin, Banks Piano Trio, Chiaroscuro Quartet, Classico Latino, English Voices, Faust Chamber Orchestra, Fran & Flora, Ashley Fripp, Gabrielli Roar, Evelyn Glennie, Freya Goldmark, David Hill, Jamal & Alaa, Guy Johnston, Junior Prime Brass, Josh Kemp, Tasmin Little, Rui Matos, Robert Max, Leon McCawley,Roger McGough & Little Machine, MishMash Productions, Manus Noble, David Ponsford, Prime Brass, Jonathan Radford, Martin Roscoe, Dan Shao, She’Koyokh, Dinis Sousa, Lucy Taylor, Te Deum, Jeremy Thurlow, Julian Trevelyan, Trio Fiero, UMD Chamber Singers, Fionnuala Ward, Maria Włoszczowska
Latest additions to the Festival
Elgar’s Violin Concerto
One of the UK’s most acclaimed and best loved violinists Tasmin Little was due to open the Festival this year in one of her last public performances before retiring from the concert platform. Her programme with pianist Martin Roscoe would have included sonatas by Beethoven, Mozart, Franck and Amy Beach. Here she plays Elgar’s glorious ‘Violin Concerto in B minor’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davies.
Tasmin Little’s multi-award winning career encompasses international concerto and recital performances, master classes, workshops and community outreach work.
Gracias a la Vida
A home recording from Classico Latino during lockdown, Gracias a la Vida (‘Thank you to Life’) by Violeta Parra is an uplifting song about being grateful for all the small but fundamental things that make life so precious.
See below for another video recording by this ever popular band who were due to perform at the Festival with their signature blend of Latin-American and Classical music.
Chopin’s Prelude No. 6 Op. 28
Leon McCawley performs Chopin’s Prelude No 6 from his Op. 28 series of pieces encomapssing all the major and minor keys. This heartrendingly beautiful piece was played on the organ at Chopin’s funeral.
One of Britain’s foremost pianists Leon McCawley was due to give a recital in Trinity College Chapel of works by Schumann, Grieg and Beethoven for the Festival. See below for a video of him playing Beethoven’s ‘Piano Sonata in A flat, Op. 110’.
She’Koyokh is a prize-winning Klezmer, Balkan and Turkish band, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the finest British-based exponents of global music’. Due to play at one of the Festival’s open-air Sounds Green concerts in Cambridge Botanic Garden the group comprises an exhilarating mix of vocals, clarinet, flute, bagpipes, guitar, accordion, double bass and percussion.
Hear they display their breathtaking skills with ‘Romska Igra’ from their latest CD ‘First Dance on Second Avenue’.
Evelyn Glennie and Dominik Połoński
Olga Hans’s Entelecheia
Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie was due to appear at the Festival in conversation with broadcaster Richard Coles, combined with musical demonstrations. Here, Dave Evelyn and cellist Dominik Połoński perform Olga Hans’ thrilling Sinfonia Concertante for Cello and Percussion, Entelecheia with the Arthur Rubinstein Łódź Philharmonic.
Dame Evelyn selected this recording for our Virtual Festival as a tribute to Dominik Połoński, who at the time was recovering from a brain tumour which had paralysed his left side. Sadly he lost his battle against the disease two years ago.
Evelyn Glennie and Fred Frith
A Little Prayer
Dame Evelyn is here joined by Fred Frith on electric guitar, playing her transcendentally beautiful piece for marimba, A Little Prayer. The video is an excerpt from the documentary film Touch the Sound . It was filmed in a derelict sugar factory in Germany and also includes poignant shots of the farm where Dame Evelyn grew up, after it burned down during the production of the film.
Dame Evelyn is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest orchestras, conductors and artists. Fred Frith is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improvisor, who was awarded the 2008 Demetrio Stratos Prize for his career achievements in experimental music.
La Vie en Rose
The talented, Cambridge-based, brass ensemble Prime Brass was due to perform at one of this year’s Sounds Green concerts in Cambridge Botanic Garden. During the Covid 19 pandemic its members have put together a number of ‘lockdown’ videos, including this arrangement of La View en Rose, the signature song of French singer Edith Piaf – “to make your social isolation a little more bearable”.
Prime Brass are well known for their performances at the lighter end of the musical spectrum and for their highly popular family concerts.
Prime Brass were due to perform as part of the Festival’s Sounds Green series of open air concerts in Cambridge Botanic Garden, where the audience is often induced to get to their feet and dance to the music.
In this video they give us an upbeat arrangement of the jazz standard Autumn Leaves originally composed by Hungarian Joseph Kosma, guaranteed to get you dancing!
Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A minor
Described as ‘disarmingly precocious’ by the New York Times Ashley Fripp has won numerous awards and performed in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls.
Ashley was due to give a recital of Gershwin, Schumann and Debussy with saxophonist Jonathan Radford for our 2020 Festival. Here he plays the opening Prelude from J. S. Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A minor – filmed by Classic FM at the 2017 St. Magnus International Festival, Orkney.
Praised for his ‘exceptional musicianship and emotive playing’, Jonathan Radford is one of the leading classical saxophonists of his generation – in high demand internationally as a soloist and chamber musician.
In 2018 Radford was featured as a ‘Rising Star’ in BBC Music Magazine and the following year became the Gold Medal and First Prize winner in the 2018 Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition UK. In this recording we hear him play his ‘lock down’, multi-track arrangement of Barber’s glorious Adagio for Strings.
Claude Debussy’s Rapsodie, L 98
Jonathan was due to give a lunchtime concert with pianist Ashley Fripp for our 2020 Festival with a programme that included Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune.
In this second recording we hear him play another beautiful work by Debussy, Rapsodie, arranged here for alto saxophone. The pianist is Christine Zerafa
Gabriel Fauré’s Valse-Caprice N° 1 in A major, Op. 30
This is the first of four Valse-Caprice composed by Fauré. It has been described as “more caprice than waltz”, combining the scintillating style of Chopin and Saint-Saëns waltzes, and showing the composer at his most playful.
Julian Trevelyan is a young British pianist with a growing international reputation. At the age of just sixteen, he came top in the Long-Thibaud-Crespin 2015 international piano competition – the youngest laureate in the history of this prestigious competition. Since then he has continued to build his career, including performing over twenty different concertos in both the UK and Europe.
University of Maryland Chamber Singers
A Celebration of Benjamin Britten
In this concert for unaccompanied chorus the University of Maryland Chamber Singers commemorated the centenary of Benjamin Britten with a programme of the composer’s works, featuring his “Hymn to St. Cecilia” as well as “Five Flower Songs” – a work they were due to perform for our 2020 Festival.
The choir has achieved international renown with performances of the most challenging repertoire, ranging from the 16th through to the 21st centuries. The ensemble made its first European tour in 2007 with a prize-winning appearance at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. They won the Premier Prix for Mixed Choirs and the Prix Ronsard for the performance of Renaissance music at the 40th Florilège Vocal de Tours in France.
Beethoven and Schubert
The Chiaroscuro Quartet had a wonderful programme of Beethoven, Haydn and Purcell planned for our 2020 Festival. We look forward to inviting them back in the future but for now we are delighted to share this performance from a 2019 Wigmore Hall recital of Beethoven’s String Quartet in C minor, Op.18 No.4, followed by Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor, known as ‘Death and the Maiden’.
Formed in 2005, Chiaroscuro Quartet has been dubbed ‘a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music’ by Gramophone. This international ensemble performs music of the Classical and early Romantic periods on gut strings and with historical bows. The quartet’s unique sound – described in The Observer as ‘a shock to the ears of the best kind’ – is highly acclaimed by audiences and critics all over Europe.
Maria Wloszczowska & Dinis Sousa
Clara Schumann’s Romance No. 1, Op. 22
The romance was one of Clara Schumann’s favourite character genres and this piece, the first of three, was one of the last works she composed. With hints of gypsy pathos amid beautiful lyricism, it is given a stunning performance here by violinist Maria Wloszczowska and pianist Dinis Sousa.
Polish violinist Maria Włoszczowska performs as a soloist, chamber musician and guest concertmaster worldwide. She has collaborated with many musicians including Philippe Graffin, Nobuko Imai, Maxim Vengerov and the Doric String Quartet. Maria is joined by her duo partner, the celebrated Portuguese born pianist and conductor Dinis Sousa.
As featured on the album HAVANA CLASSIC. Performed by Classico Latino with special guest Omar Puente. Music by “Cheo” Marquetti©
This powerful song, made famous by the Afro-Cuban All Stars, explains in dramatic terms how the only true love is the love of a mother. When everything else goes wrong, and friends have abandoned you, it is a mother’s love which never fails.
The award-winning Classico Latino seamlessly blend the techniques and sounds of classical music with authentic Latin American rhythms and melodies.
Roger McGough and Little Machine
Poems, classic and obscure, are given a new voice in songs crafted by the South London trio of musicians LiTTLe MACHiNe. Described by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy as ‘the most brilliant music and poetry band in the world’, LiTTLe MACHiNe set poems to music and perform them with energy, passion and humour.
This video features Payback Time by Roger McGough, performed by Roger, Brian Patten and LiTTLe MACHiNe. It was recorded live at Liverpool Playhouse in 2017 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Penguin’s Mersey Sound collection.
Guy Johnston & Faust Chamber Orchestra
Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129
Cellist Guy Johnston is joined by Faust Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of their conductor Mark Austin, to perform Schumann’s transcendental and lyrical Cello Concerto. Both Guy and the orchestra were due to perform together at our Festival Finale.
Once a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge and former BBC Young Musician of the Year, Guy Johnston is one of the most exciting cellists of his generation. Now in its 8th year, Faust Chamber Orchestra has emerged as a leading force, aiming to make classical music fresh, comprehensible and inspirational.
Fran and Flora
Due to perform at one of our Sounds Green open air concerts in Cambridge Botanic Garden, Fran & Flora are one of London’s most sought-after bands. With a distinctive improvisatory style and ethereal aesthetic, they draw inspiration from their travels and mentors in eastern Europe and beyond.
Their reputation for mesmerising live shows has sold out venues worldwide. Recent performances include Montreal, Latitude Festival, EFG London Jazz Festival and King’s Place. They have also made live appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Worldwide FM and Cerys Matthews’ 6Music.
John Featherstone’s setting of the Te Deum
This extract from the classical-jazz-gospel setting by John Featherstone of the beautiful ancient prayer of the Te Deum was due to be performed at the Festival by Cambridge Chorale, eight soloists and four musicians.
Composed in 2017, the work is highly innovative in its juxtaposition of styles, combining a classical Latin choir, an English gospel choir and a quartet of French soloists, accompanied by piano, percussion, double bass and saxophone. With its seamlessly connected musical diversity, the composition engages the public in a unique reconciliatory dialogue between different musical worlds. This video features Bath Camerata.
Bach’s Ach Herr, lass dein Engelein from his St John Passion BWV 245
Our 2019 Festival opened with a stunning performance of Bach’s St John Passion by English Voices and the English Voices Baroque Orchestra conducted by Tim Brown.
We are delighted to share a beautiful excerpt from that performance in which the choir sing – Ach Herr, lass dein Engelein.
English Voices has an outstanding reputation as a vocal ensemble of precision and passion. It embraces those who have soloist careers but still enjoy singing in ensemble. English Voices is dedicated to historically-informed techniques, both in oratorio and opera.
Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A flat, Opus 110
In this video Leon McCawley plays one of the works he was due to perform for us in the Chapel of Trinity College, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A flat, Opus 110, recorded live in the Wigmore Hall in 2019.
One of Britain’s foremost pianists, McCawley has forged a highly successful career since winning first prize in the 1993 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition the same year. Since then, his concert performances and extensive discography have established him as a pianist of great integrity and variety, bringing freshness and vitality to Classical, Romantic and 20th Century repertoire.
Gary Ryan’s Out of Clonmel
Manus Noble plays one of the pieces from his programme for the Festival: Out of Clonmel by composer and guitarist Gary Ryan.
Full of energy and reminiscent of Irish folk music, the melody is decorated with ornaments which imitate those played on the pipe or whistle.
One of the UK’s leading classical guitarists, Manus Noble is known for his strong and unique sound, original compositions and varied recital programmes that aim to break down audience’s preconceptions of what is possible on the guitar.