The line-up of 40 events and 35 artists features song, chamber music, organ events, family concerts, late-night events, an outreach programme, a world premiere, talks, and a ceilidh.
A relative newcomer on the festival scene, New Paths has quickly established itself as a serious player, drawing major international artists and building a strong reputation for creative programming and community involvement.
Artistic Director Libby Burgess says:
“Community has always been at the heart of what we do; our first ever event, before the festival began, was a huge free singing day, with 200 people performing to a packed Beverley Minster – and the first piece of music in our first festival was Old MacDonald, to an audience of toddlers!”
“I love the fact that New Paths combines this genuine, inbuilt commitment to presenting music in a fresh way, to all, with music-making of the highest level. Our singers and chamber musicians form a starry international cast, and are a constant inspiration.”
“They will be playing shanties on a boat one minute, teaching local teenagers the next, and then performing heartbreaking Schubert masterpieces to a rapt audience. The festival would not function without the warm welcome we’ve received from the people of Beverley; it’s a beautiful and special town, and we’re happy to be introducing it to new people.”
Saturday 7th April sees a ‘Musical Takeover of Beverley’, a musical carnival trail through the town, featuring free performances by New Paths artists in ten unusual venues across Beverley. The day concludes with a festival ceilidh, a concert of folk- and dance-inspired music giving way to Triple Scotch, feted as the finest ceilidh band in the UK.
The Nordic ancestors of Yorkshire are celebrated in a ‘Viking Invasion’ theme, welcoming Nordic artists Gunnar Idenstam, Katarina Karnéus, Eva Thorarinsdottir and Torun Stavseng, and featuring music by Scandinvian composers including Sibelius, Grieg, Stenhammar and Halvorsen.
Thanks to generous support from the Finzi Friends, the work of this special English composer will be profiled on Thursday 5th, in his choral, instrumental and song works; the Finzi Friends are also funding a new commission of two songs for mezzo-soprano, viola and piano by Diana Burrell, in her 70th birthday year.
This will add to the previous commissions by New Paths: Grayston Ives’ Es steh’n vor Gottes Thron, premiered by Richard Pinel in 2016 (part of William Whitehead’s Orgelbüchlein Project), and Alasdair Nicolson’s The Ebb Variations, premiered by Christian Wilson in 2017.
In ‘Larkin’ About’, local man Philip Larkin headlines a musical exploration of poets, featuring musical settings of his work by Huw Watkins and Thomas Hyde, and including also Auden and Hardy. ‘Poets’ Corner’ is completed with Stephen McNeff’s ‘Vivienne’ (2013), a staged piece looking at TS Eliot from the perspective of his first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood.
A core of regular New Paths artists returns, including Fenella Humphreys (violin – January 2017 BBC Music Magazine Instrumental CD choice), Jamie Campbell (violin – Principal Second, Aurora Orchestra), Cara Berridge (cello – Sacconi Quartet), Alex Caldon (trumpet – CantiaQuorum), John Slack (clarinet – Berkeley Ensemble), James Turnbull (oboe).
Founder and Chairman Roland Deller writes, “New Paths is committed to a vigorous presence of music in our culture. We believe that music enriches lives and we strive to bring music to all corners of the community. Over half of our events have been free in every festival. We are proud that since its launch in 2016, New Paths has delivered a meaningful increase in public access to high-quality music making: the twenty events in our inaugural festival attracted over 2,000 people from the local community and further afield; and our second festival featured more than thirty musical events attracting an audience of over 3,000.”
Opportunities for family include two concerts for babies and toddlers, a family concert in the East Riding Theatre, workshops for young brass players, and a singing club for the school holidays, ‘Crescendo!’.
The inspiration for the festival is the much-loved and hugely respected Alan Spedding MBE, one of the leading members of the North of England’s musical community, who died in 2014. The Easter Sing, a community singing day in Beverley Minster on the Bank Holiday Monday 2nd April, under dynamic conductor Joanna Tomlinson, will again raise funds for the Alan Spedding Memorial Fund, which provides bursaries for talented teenagers on the Oundle for Organists summer courses.
Inspired by Alan, a major strand of the festival is a programme of organ events. Wednesday 4th April sees an organ day at Selby Abbey, presented in conjunction with the Royal College of Organists. Nicholas Wearne gives a lunchtime recital; international Bach expert John Scott Whiteley gives a masterclass on Bach to the festival’s three resident organ students; and local young pianists have the opportunity to try the organ for the first time as part of a specially devised introductory session.
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