Leeds Lieder Festival, 21 April – 23 April 2017: Songs of Travel
A passport to the imagination – songs: those glorious vignettes that combine the best of poetry, the miracle that is the sung human voice and the distinctive colours and textures that a piano can offer. All songs are Songs of Travel to a greater or lesser extent. As we sit, listening in the concert hall, in the comfort of our own home or even on the move, ears plugged into headphones, songs are inviting us to travel with the poet and composer, to enter into the inner sanctum of their creative partnership. Through the manipulation of sound, our imaginations are fired, for each of us the response to the music and words different. It’s a broad theme of course for a Festival, but then the pleasure has been in receiving programme ideas from artists all responding differently to this open-ended brief.
And what artists we welcome to our 2017 Festival! The internationally acclaimed jostle alongside rising stars, and platforms are given to the next generation of singers, pianists, poets and composers.
One of the world’s most sought after and charismatic singers, British baritone Simon Keenlyside opens the Festival on 21 April with a characteristically thoughtful programme featuring Schubert, Vaughan Williams, and Sibelius. One of our patrons, the much loved Dame Felicity Lott joins us as Guest of Honour. She will be exploring the collaborative nature of song performance ‘In Conversation’ with long standing duo partner Graham Johnson, who performs twice at the festival, once in the Saturday evening recital where he will partner rising star Sophie Rennert, and then in the final recital too.
Maurice Ravel is the focus of our Saturday morning activities, beginning with a talk given by Roger Nichols. It is a pleasure to invite back to Leeds Lieder Clara Mouriz, past BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, who has such an affinity with this elusive composer, together with award-winning Benedict Nelson.
Poetry remains at the heart of our activities, and our unique Composer and Poet programme will this year produce eleven new collaborations. The Festival commission has been written by Iain Bell and to give the première it is especially satisfying to welcome Yorkshire-born Rowan Pierce, an alumna of the Leeds Lieder masterclass programme. She is to be accompanied by Leeds Lieder favourite Roger Vignoles who will also lend his considerable knowledge to other young pianists and singers in our Festival masterclass. Poetry will also form the basis for Timothy West’s workshop, another Yorkshire-born artist.
Leeds Lieder would not of course have been born without the extraordinary vision, drive and determination of its founder, Jane Anthony, whose untimely and tragic death was felt by many. It is with enormous gratitude that we celebrate her life and musical achievements in the final gala concert on 23 April. It speaks volumes that following a few phone calls we have assembled a remarkable line-up of the finest artists, all of whom in a flash agreed to keep the date free and perform without fee so that we can raise money for two most worthy causes.
If you are already one of our ‘Friends’, thank you! If not, join here! At this most perilous time for the arts in schools, Friends support means we can continue our trailblazing education work, commission works so that Lieder remains a forward-looking genre, and also bring the finest artists to the North of England.
The booking brochure is hot off the press and available to browse here: festival-brochure-2017
We look forward to your company in April,
Joseph Middleton, Director.
General booking: Now Open – Call Leeds College of Music Box Office on 0113 222 3434.