The Lammermuir Festival takes place in thirteen beautiful venues across the historic Scottish county of East Lothian from 11 - 20 September 2015. Less than an hour from Edinburgh, East Lothian is one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets boasting a wealth of great country houses, ancient churches and idyllic rural towns and villages - a plentiful supply of beautiful places for the festival’s performances. The music is carefully matched to each venue’s character and acoustic and hearing music at the Lammermuir Festival is an extra-special experience.
Some highlights of this year’s festival are: the international stars of the Michelangelo Quartet (Mihaela Martin and Daniel Autrich, violins, Nobuko Imai, viola and Frans Helmerson, cello) as Artists in Residence, performing both as a Quartet and appearing as soloists; three superb UK orchestras, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Royal Northern Sinfonia with new Artistic Director, Lars Vogt; music by Sibelius to mark his 150th anniversary; festival debuts include pianist Danny Driver, Kungsbacka Trio, as well as Phantasm, who perform with Tenebrae for the first time; and even an exclusive Festival commission of baroque cakes by East Lothian Master Baker, Falko. We welcome back one of the UK’s finest pianists, Steven Osborne, who appears in recital and who takes up his new role of first ever Patron of the Lammermuir Festival.
Artistic Directors Hugh Macdonald and James Waters said, “ It's hard to believe that we have already reached our sixth Lammermuir Festival, but as always we have had a great deal of fun planning a programme that we hope will inspire, move and excite people - our many visitors as well as those who are lucky enough to live in this marvellous part of Scotland. We're especially looking forward to welcoming our artists in residence, the superb Michelangelo String Quartet, and all the other great musicians who will be bringing beautiful music to beautiful places in East Lothian this September. “
The festival opens with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra who return on Friday 11 September at 8.00pm in the venue at the heart of Lammermuir Festival, the mediaeval church of St Mary’s in Haddington. Ben Gernon conducts Sibelius, Beethoven and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with soloists from the Michelangelo Quartet, Mihaela Martin (violin) and Nobuko Imai (viola).
We visit one of East Lothian’s most notable stately homes, Lennoxlove House, on Saturday 12 September at 11.00am for an archlute recital by brilliant young Frenchman, Thomas Dunford, with music by Dowland and Kapsberger. Lennoxlove House, home of the Duke of Hamilton, is not open to the public and we are fortunate to be able to come to this wonderful, historic house.
One of Scotland’s finest surviving late mediaeval collegiate churches is Seton Collegiate Church, Longniddry where the Festival visits for the first time this year. Cellists Philip Higham (Young Artist in Residence, 2010) and Kim Vauhgan perform music by Biber, Couperin, Walton, Purcell and Britten on Saturday 12 September at 3.30pm.
The first of three concerts by Artists in Residence, The Michelangelo Quartet, is on Saturday 12 September at 7.45pm in Prenstonkirk Parish Church in East Linton. The quartet begins its series of concerts featuring the first of three Beethoven Razumovksy quartets, Op 59 No 1, Haydn’s String Quartet in G, Op 77 No 1 and Dvorak’s ‘American’ Quartet in F, Op 96. Their second concert is on Monday 14 September at 7.45pm in Chalmers Memorial Church, Port Seton, with its elaborately painted Arts and Crafts interior. Here they play Beethoven Razumovsky Quartet in E minor, Op 59 No 2; Haydn in D, Op 64 No 5 ‘Lark’ and Shostakovich String Quartet no 3. Their third and final quartet concert is on Tuesday 15 September at 7.45pm in the little kirk at Dirleton when they play Haydn’s glorious ‘Sunrise’ Quartet in B flat, Op 76 No 4; Bartok’s Quartet No 1 and the third Razumovsky Quartet, Op 59 No 3.
One of the performances which continues the Bach thread running through each Lammermuir Festival is the Dunedin Consort’s afternoon of Bach, Cantatas, Coffee and Cake on Sunday 13 September at 2.30pm in the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh. Exclusively for Lammermuir Festival, East Lothian’s German Master Baker, Falko will recreate some baroque cakes to enjoy with the coffee.
The Kungsbacka Trio make their festival debut at Abbey Church in North Berwick at 7.45pm on Sunday 13 September in a programme of Arvo Pärt, Arensky and the first of three works by Rachmaninov featured in this year’s festival.
On Tuesday 15 September we visit one of East Lothian’s prettiest but least-known villages, Oldhamstocks. This is the home of Lammermuir Pipe Organs. Organist John Kitchen and organ builder Neil Richerby take us on a visit to the workshop and then to the church for a short recital on two more of these superby crafted chamber organs. (To accommodate numbers, workshop visits are before and after the recital: 1.30pm workshop; 2.30pm recital; 3.45pm workshop.)
Gilmerton House is a great Georgian mansion to which we return for a second year on Wednesday 16 September at 3.30pm with violinist Cecilia Bernardini, harpsichord player Jan Waterfield and harpist Emily Hoile (Young Artist in Residence 2011) for a programme of Bach, Handel, Veracini and Bach.
Following his sensational Messiaen recital at last year’s festival, master pianist Steven Osborne is welcomed back to perform in Dunbar Parish Church on Wednesday 16 September at 7.45pm. He will play a programme of Schubert and Rachmaninov’s Etudes Tableaux.
One of our Artists in Residence, violinist Daniel Austrich, steps outside the Quartet for a recital in Holy Trinity Church, Haddington on Thursday 17 September at 2.30pm. Here he performs with a pianist well-known to Scottish audiences, Danny Driver in sonatas by Beethoven and Franck. Danny Driver performs a solo programme of György Ligeti and Debussy here in Holy Trinity on Saturday 19 September at 3.00pm.
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra return on Thursday 17 September at 8.00pm to perform Sibelius’s Finlandia, Rachmaninov’s epic Symphony No 2 and Brahms Concerto for Violin and Cello, with soloists Mihaela Martin (violin) and Frans Helmerson (cello) who make their final appearance as our Artists in Residence this year.
The vocal ensemble Tenebrae appears at the Festival for a second year on Friday 18 September at 7.00pm in the glorious setting of St Mary’s, Haddington for a programme of Bruckner and Brahms. Later that evening at 9.45pm, St Mary’s is the venue for the viols of Phantasm who make their festival debut with Bach’s extraordinary Art of Fugue. In an event unique to Lammermuir Festival, we bring these two ensembles together on Saturday 19 September at 7.45 in St Mary’s, in a programme of Orlando Gibbons.
The final day of the festival, Sunday 20 September, features Hebrides Ensemble in one of our most popular venues, the mediaeval church of St Mary’s in Whitekirk at 3.30pm, performing Sibelius, Brett Dean and Bruckner.
The closing concert on Sunday 20 September at 8.00pm in St Mary’s, Haddington, is the Royal Northern Sinfonia under their new Artistic Director in his very first week in the post, the distinguished pianist and conductor, Lars Vogt. He conducts Sibelius, Mozart, Erkki-Sven Tüür and is soloist in Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor.
The Lammermuir Festival is funded by Creative Scotland and East Lothian Council, and produced for the Lamp of Lothian Trust.