The 43rd St Magnus International Festival takes place from Friday 21st to Thursday 27th June.
2019 sees the commemoration of the Scuttling of the German Fleet in Scapa Flow and Stromness Museum will be producing a locally-made drama called The Day the Fleet went down which tells the story of young Orkney children who were on a boat trip to see the battle cruisers as the boats began to sink.
Alasdair Nicolson, St Magnus International Festival Director, said:
“I’m lucky to have the backdrop of Orkney upon which to present so many wonderful artists, performances and programmes. The range of events has always been diverse representing the best artists from the UK and across the world, and this year is no exception.”
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will perform 3 concerts including the Festival’s own Chorus conducted by Ben Gernon. Cellist Jamal Aliyev joins the orchestra for a performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto – 100 years since its premiere
The other concerts feature the strings of the orchestra who are joined by the British soprano Mary Bevan and the Wind, Brass and Percussion culminating in Handel’s Fireworks Music. The Glasgow Barons orchestra makes its debut at the Festival with a concert including Festival Director Alasdair Nicolson’s new Trumpet Concerto.
Links with Scandinavia are not forgotten with professional choirs from Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark for the only UK date of the Nordic Choral Expedition. 86 singers from the Norwegian Soloists Choir, the Helsinki Chamber Choir, Ars Nova Copenhagen and the Eric Ericson Choir will perform a wide range of music old, nearly new and brand new in four concerts.
The chamber music programme is led by award-winning young Scottish string quartet the Maxwell Quartet with three concerts. Dinara Klinton from Ukraine and Anna Szałucka from Poland perform diverse programmes of piano music and cellist Jamal Aliyev is joined by another award-winning pianist Can Çakmur as part of the Festival lunchtime series.
Organist of the Tower of London Christian Wilson performs a meditative late-night concert in St Magnus Cathedral and the Kapten Piano Trio, and the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet take music out to Hoy and Rousay.
The Statsraad Lehmkuhl pays a visit to the Festival again this year with an on-deck performance by the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet.
A lecture by Terry Waite explores the theme of peace and reconciliation with music, art and theatre installations in some of Orkney’s gardens – Happy Valley, Woodwick House and Papdale Walled Garden.
Robin Robertson will read both his poetry and his new verse novel The Long Take. Older poetry from the Viking period The Song Weigher is performed in his own translations by poet Ian Crockatt.
MAGFEST brings a host of fringe activity to the Festival with the newly commissioned Writer’s Block from local fiddler/composer Eric Linklater, the award-winning comedy of Garry Starr Performs Everything and the South American puppet theatre of Theatre Cusan. The Sound Archive at The Old Library, will host the Festival Club.
St Magnus International Festival receives regular funding from Creative Scotland and Orkney Islands Council.
Clare Hewitt, Music Officer at Creative Scotland said:
“Midsummer illuminates Orkney as the centre of the musical world, and this year’s sparkling programme sees the islands’ communities sharing creativity and heritage with visitors and performers from around the globe. “