The Lammermuir Festival opens today with a rich and ambitious programme of beautiful music in beautiful places. The festival runs until 19 September, featuring 35 live performances at 17 venues across East Lothian, allowing audiences to truly explore and appreciate the beauty of this stunning corner of Scotland well within reach of Edinburgh, the Borders, Northumberland and Newcastle.
The festival’s days begin with the popular Coffee Concerts featuring internationally acclaimed Scottish accompanist Malcolm Martineau who brings major singers Jennifer Johnston, Joshua Ellicott, Sarah Fox and James Newby to join him in a celebration of Duparc’s songs, in partnership with BBC Radio 3. These concerts also see the chance to enjoy Haddington based, Konditormeister Falko Burkert’s twist on Scotland’s favourite, the custard slice, invented specially for the festival, as well as other treats inspired by the music in each programmme.
In Scottish Opera’s 60th anniversary season, it performs a semi-staged performance of operatic rarity, Massenet’s Thérèse (1907) on the opening night of the festival. Conducted by Alexandra Cravero, this passionate two-act opera set during the French Revolution stars one of today’s most exciting singers, soprano Justina Gringytė in the title role.
Festival Artist-in-Residence 2021, American pianist Jeremy Denk returns for five performances mixing solo recital, a performance with violinist Maria Włozczowska and in appearances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia.
Denk also shares a witty and warm insight into his relationship with music exploring what he learned from his tutors about classical music, in an event which mixes him reading extracts of his book Every Good Boy Does Fine with pianistic illustrations.
Scale also returns to the festival with the BBC SSO and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra among the line-up filling beautiful buildings like St Mary’s Haddington with their incredible sound.
Among the many prominent cultural figures who fled Germany in the early 20th Century were great composers like Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Hanns Eisler, and Kurt Weill who found their freedom in Hollywood. Their stories, music, and films will take the centre stage in The Lure of Hollywood in Film and Song, presented by television presenter and celebrated silent film pianist Neil Brand and Iain Burnside, one of the finest piano accompanists in the world.
Conducted by Christopher Bell, the newly formed National Youth Choir of Scotland Chamber Choir makes its debut live performance giving festival audiences the chance to be the first to hear their rich and exciting sound.
In addition, there is uplifting choral music from The Marian Consort, award-winning vocal group SANSARA and the inventive Orlando Consort.
Incredible string music performances from the always sensational Quatuor Mosaïques, French ensemble, The Quatuor Agate, Laura van der Heijden and Viviane Hagner among others.
Hugh Macdonald & James Waters, Artistic Directors of Lammermuir Festival said: “We’re delighted to be opening this year’s festival with a line-up of wonderful musicians ready to fill every corner of the county with music. American pianist Jeremy Denk captured hearts and minds last year and returns with another astonishing collection of performances. One of the very best string quartets in the world, Quatuor Mosaïques brings its incomparable insight to the music of Schubert and Haydn. Scottish Opera performs a late masterpiece by Massenet, and the exquisite French songs of Henri Duparc form the backbone of our coffee concerts.
“Our musical pilgrimage takes us to the secluded monastery of Sancta Maria at Nunraw for the first time and the ancient Collegiate Church of Dunglass will resonate to 15th century music sung by the Orlando Consort. These are magical experiences bringing place and musical excellence together to create unforgettable memories. We hope you can join us.”
Clare Hewitt, Music Officer at Creative Scotland said: “This year’s Lammermuir Festival is a vibrant mix of artists and creative programming, with familiar favourites returning and new guests being welcomed to this much-loved event. Creative Scotland is delighted to support the festival as it weaves its musical magic back into the beautiful East Lothian landscape.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting Lammermuir Festival through our National Events Programme as part of an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events taking place across the country this year.
“It showcases why Scotland is the perfect stage for events by allowing audiences to come together and enjoy beautiful music in beautiful places.”
Provost John McMillan said: “I warmly welcome the return of the Lammermuir Festival which over the years has become a real highlight of East Lothian’s cultural calendar. I’m very impressed by the variety of live performances and range of venues which have been lined up for the event, and am sure that those attending concerts will thoroughly enjoy their experience.
“I’m also pleased that the event has secured Local Authority COVID Economic Recovery Fund (LA-CER) funding. Funding is being directed to assist established events with a track record and to help support recovery in the tourism and events sector. I wish the organisers every success with this year’s festival.”