The artistic director of the Chester Music Festival says this summer’s event will be unlike any other in the country.
The festival, programmed by Storyhouse, will bring together musicians from across Europe in the city’s Town Hall and St Thomas’ Church between June 8 and 18.
Artistic director Clark Rundell has worked with the Royal Opera House and has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé as well as regularly conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s award winning new music group, Ensemble 10/10.
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He said: “I’m looking forward to all of it! The project with Mike Walker (Gran Caffe Jazz, June 9) will be incredibly interesting. He is one of the great creative artists of our time and to be that close to him, and the great Iain Dixon (on saxophone), as they explore this exciting sound world will be thrilling.
“Anything that has Giovanni Guzzo in it is going to be fabulous - whether it’s romantic or baroque, his imagination is dazzling. The same can be said for Martin Roscoe as he is a great artist who brings such honesty and integrity to everything he plays.”
As well as classical music, the festival will feature some of the world’s most exciting contemporary music including Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Reich (Monday, June 13), and new compositions and arrangements from members of Ensemble Deva (such as Tim Jackson’s new version of The Carnival of the Animals on Tuesday, June 14).
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Rundell added: “One of the big surprises for me last year was how many people attended and loved the music of Steve Reich. We have another concert, this time featuring his deeply moving WTC9/11 about the World Trade Centre (Monday, June 13). Hopefully when Storyhouse opens we’ll be able to do some of his larger, iconic ensemble works.
“And finally, to bring the legendary Jane Irwin to Chester for Das Lied von der Erde (Saturday, June 18) will be quite an occasion!”
The city has had an annual music festival for decades and 2016 is the fourth year that Storyhouse has held the reins.
Rundell said: “The festival now centres around our own productions, featuring Ensemble Deva, rather than receiving touring productions. This makes the festival utterly unlike any other event in the country as the programmes are all tailor made for our venues, our artists and, most importantly of all, our wonderful, loyal, knowledgeable audience.
“The artists love playing in Chester because the atmosphere is electric. With the audience so near the performers, the artists feel they have a real connection to the people and the people feel a real closeness to the performers. Not to mention the obvious fact that Chester is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.”
The festival offers music fans the opportunity to experience rarely staged concerts: “The thrill of chamber music is in the intimacy. I reckon that in our Town Hall concerts, not one member of the audience is more than 15 feet away from these great artists. Watching them play chamber music at that proximity is the musical equivalent of being adjacent to Usain Bolt as he sprints. It is incredibly powerful.”
Tickets for Chester Music Festival are on sale now, go to www.storyhouse.com to find out more.