Music at Paxton Festival

17 — 26 Jul 2015 at Paxton House in Berwick-upon-Tweed, United Kingdom

21 APRIL 2015
Signum Quartet, Photo by Irène Zandel
Signum Quartet, Photo by Irène Zandel

Music at Paxton, a summer festival of superb international chamber music, takes place in Paxton House on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders from 17 – 26 July 2015. The concerts offer an intimate, friendly and relaxed experience and take place in Paxton House’s splendid Picture Gallery. With its large, domed roof-light that lets in the summer sun and walls hung high with paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, it is an idyllic setting for chamber music.

An 18th century neo-Palladian mansion, audiences can take in more of Paxton House enjoying afternoon tea, an early-evening supper, a stroll and a picnic in the grounds or a pre-concert drink in the courtyard. House tours, boat trips along the Tweed and net fishing can also be arranged. Our 10th anniversary is a celebration of world-class concerts every night and a wide variety of ensemble and repertoire performances, so that Music at Paxton offers something for everyone.

To open the 2015 festival programme, Notos Piano Quartet, a prize winning young quartet from Germany, will be making their Paxton debut on Friday 17 July at 7:30pm. They will be performing pieces by Beethoven and Suk, as well as introducing the Festival’s Brahms theme with a performance of Piano Quartet in C Minor Op.60.

Music at Paxton welcomes a number of first time performances to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary. The mesmerising and truly gifted cellist Natalie Clein is accompanied by one of Scandinavia’s finest pianists, Norwegian Håvard Grimse on Sunday 19 July at 6pm for a programme of Kurtag’s “Signs Games and Messages”, as well as sonatas from Debussy, Britten and Rachmaninov.

An artist making his Paxton debut on Saturday 25 July at 7:30pm is the award-winning pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor. One of the most remarkable pianists of our time, Grosvenor’s pianistic flair will be contributing to the Festival’s Viennese thread with a solo programme including Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli, alongside pieces by Mendelssohn, Chopin and Ravel.

Another debut performance is the Phoenix Piano Trio, led by Jonathan Stone, 2nd violin of the Doric Quartet, with Marie Macleod on cello and Sholto Kynoch on piano. Their impressive performance talents will be on display in their recital on Thursday 23 July at 7pm with a programme featuring Haydn, Korngold and Brahms.

Performing for the very first time in Scotland, Music at Paxton is delighted to welcome Signum Quartet, previous BBC Radio 3 New Generation artists from Germany. Their concert on Friday 24 July at 7:30pm will include a performance of Beethoven’s Quartet Op. 130 with Grosse Fuge.

Music at Paxton welcomes back critically acclaimed pianist Steven Osborne and Jean Johnson (clarinet) on Saturday 18 July at 7:30pm. This husband and wife duo continue the Brahms thread running throughout this year’s Festival with performances of Brahms’ clarinet sonata op.120, as well as Schumann’s 3 Romances and James Macmillan’s From Galloway. There will also be an opportunity to meet and talk with Steven and Jean in a symposium on Saturday 18 July from 5-5.45pm.

A regular fixture at Music at Paxton, Pure Brass return with their humorous brass musical pyrotechnics for an hour of family fun and banter in the grounds on Saturday 25 July at 3:30pm.

Dowland’s Table invites audiences to experience this music as it would have been enjoyed in Dowland’s time (1563-1626): seated around the table alongside the musicians of Les Canards Chantants, with the intimacy and spontaneity of a gathering of friends making music for pleasure at 2.30pm on Sunday 19 July. Some of the music is selected from Dowland’s ‘First book of songs’, interspersed with solo songs, duets, quartets and lute songs by Dowland’s contemporaries. For this special event, and to celebrate the Year of Food and Drink 2015, refreshments of the period will be served to enhance the experience.

The superb Hebrides Ensemble has been performing at Music at Paxton since the first event in 2006. They return to close this year’s festival at 6pm on Sunday 26 July. The final performance will feature Brahms’s String Quintet in G major, Mozart’s String Quintet in C minor, and Brett Dean’s ‘Epitaphs’, a series of five memorial portraits in celebration of the composer’s friends and colleagues.

Music at Paxton has proudly supported exceptional young musicians since its inception, working closely with Live Music Now Scotland. As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, Music at Paxton presents its International Double Bill Live Music Now Scotland performance on Tuesday 21 July at 7.30pm with Spencer-Strachan Duo (Rachel Spencer, violin, and Duncan Strachan, cello) and Vienna’s Elisabeth Juen (clarinet) and Elena Ivanova (piano). The programme includes Brahms, Bach, Schulze and Dance Suite for Two by Edward McGuire, commissioned by Live Music Now Scotland in 2012 for the Spencer-Strachan Duo with funding from Kimie Trust. This piece will also be featured on a CD being released in May 2015, in celebration of Live Music Now Scotland’s 30th anniversary.

This year has an abundance of exceptional young British artists. Anna Huntley and Joseph Middleton, will perform on Wednesday 22 July at 7.30 pm. Anna was the winner of the Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera Vocal Fellowship at the Song Competition and is mentored by Angelika Kirchschlager. Joseph is the official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and one of the most gifted and enterprising pianists of his generation.

Once again, in conjunction with Live Music Now Scotland and Paxton House, we see the return of the extremely successful free one-hour taster concerts ‘Music at Paxton…Plus’ starting at 2.30pm, on Sunday 17 May and Sunday 14 June. This year, supported by Gavin McEwan in memory of his late father, Arunda Wind Trio (Sarah Cruickshank, oboe, Jenny Stephenson, clarinet and Anna Mary Lynch, bassoon) and husband and wife duo Phil Gault (baritone) and Claire Haslin (piano) perform respectively. You can make an afternoon of it with Sunday lunch beforehand in the stables Tearoom or afternoon tea afterwards.

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