2015 Programme Announced

  • Written by sonia
  • Tuesday July 14, 2015 at 11:19 am
  • Scotland’s unique festival is back for its fourth year with its most exciting programme yet. As the only festival in Scotland to focus solely on vocal and choral music, and one of only a handful of such festivals worldwide, St Andrews Voices attracts internationally acclaimed artists to the ancient coastal town. People travel from around the country for the chance to experience their favourite local performers alongside the greats in the picturesque and historic St Andrews.

    Four years after its creation, the festival continues to showcase the versatility of the voice in a wide array of genres, from opera and a cappella groups to cabaret acts and baroque choirs, demonstrating the variety and excellence found in the world of vocal and choral music today. The festival’s passion for engaging audiences of all ages and interests is reflected in this year’s programme which includes a lieder masterclass, songs and stories for children and talks by renowned authors, alongside concerts and recitals of the highest quality.

    The festival’s Artistic Director, Sonia Stevenson, said, “St Andrews Voices returns this October with a smorgasbord of vocal and choral delights. Now in its fourth year, I’ve been delighted with the reaction to this unique festival and the growing recognition of our high- quality, diverse offering. This year is no exception. With events featuring today’s most renowned performers – including John Mark Ainsley, Voces8, Scottish Opera and Patricia Hodge – masterclasses, workshops, family events and, new for this year, a literary strand, this is sure to be one of our most exciting festivals yet. Join us on this journey of vocal discovery in one of Scotland’s most picturesque towns; I promise you won’t be disappointed.”

    Fife Council added “We are delighted to see the launch of this very exciting programme for this year’s St Andrews Voices. As one of Fife’s strategic events we have been supporting over the past 4 years, it is impressive to see the quality and breadth of the programme which will undoubtedly see the on-going success of this relatively new festival”.

    The festival opens with events focussing on young talent. The first is an afternoon masterclass in which John Mark Ainsley will share his expertise with the most promising singers from Scottish universities (22/10). The star of the opera stage is returning to Scotland for Voices, as he is performing the role of Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore earlier in the summer at the Edinburgh Festival. In his recital for St Andrews Voices (23/10), he will present Lieder, Chansons and Songs all themes around Shakespeare, accompanied by young South African pianist, James Baillieu.

    Choral composer Philip Stopford leads a workshop on successful choral composition, with vocal ensemble Voces8 performing compositions submitted by students (22/10). As well as frequently leading education projects, Voces8 are known for the quality of both their performances of Renaissance polyphony singing and contemporary jazz, and have performed in churches and concert halls all over the world. This year Voices audiences will hear both sides of their repertoire, in a candlelit concert of choral masterpieces (23/10), and an a cappella showcase where they join forces with St Andrews favourites, The Other Guys and The Alleycats (24/10).

    Keeping to tradition, the festival will include the University’s Sunday morning service in the medieval Chapel of St Salvator. During this service, the chapel’s flagship choir, recently returned from touring in the USA and performing at international festivals in The Netherlands, will sing J.S. Bach’s cantata ‘Christ Lag in Todesbanden,’ BWV 4. The choir is thought to date back 600 years to beginning of the University, making it one of the oldest choirs in the country. The service will be led by University Chaplain, the Rev Dr Donald MacEwan.

    The festival’s finale features an exclusive appearance by star duo Patricia Hodge and pianist Jonathan Cohen, in an afternoon of cabaret songs in the Byre Theatre.  Most recently recognised from BBC’s ‘Miranda’ series, Patricia Hodge is one of the UKs best-known actors, whilst acclaimed pianist Jonathan Cohen is well-known to audiences from his long career on television presenting programmes such as Play Away, Playschool and Music Time.

    The variety of these events, alongside a film screening of The Jungle Book complete with singing led by The Other Guys, a morning of songs and stories for children from Emily Dodd held in the beautiful bookshop of Topping & Co, and talks from Janice Galloway and Alan Watson on how singing has influences their writing, ensure that this year’s festival is not one to miss!