Some of the World’s Finest international Artists To Perform at Absolute Classics Festival

French classical pianist David Fray will open the 2017 Absolute Classics Festival with a programme of music by Chopin and Schubert on Friday, 11 August at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries.

The multi-award-winning musician and Warner Classics artist will set the bar for a world-class programme of internationally acclaimed classical superstars who will be performing at two of the region’s most prestigious venues over the festival’s 10-day run.

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Taking place at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, and the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel, Thornhill, this year, the Absolute Classics Festival is a celebration of classical music with concerts and workshops given by some of the world’s finest international artists from 11 to 20 August.

The festival is brought to the region by Dumfries & Galloway-based performing arts promoters Absolute Classics and has become a popular event on the region’s musical calendar.

One of the UK’s biggest selling classical artists will deliver a programme of music by Brahms, Rossini, Poulenc, Reade and Bernstein to Dumfries audiences. Celebrated London Clarinettist Emma Johnson will appear in concert with John Lenehan, piano, on Saturday, 12 August at the Theatre Royal.

On Sunday, 13 August, classical fans will be treated to a feast of song, fizz and food when popular Thornhill tenor Nicky Spence returns to his home with mezzo soprano Madeleine Shaw and pianist Simon Lepper. They will deliver a song cycle between courses of Janáček’s The Diary of the One Who Disappeared at the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel starting from 6.30pm. A sumptuous five course menu with fizz and table wine is all part of the evening. Tickets to this event are very limited, so booking is essential.

The Theatre Royal is once again the venue for a special concert with Soraya Mafi, soprano, accompanied by Simon Lepper on piano. The concert takes place on 15 August. The English National Opera star will showcase a wide range of musical genres which include music by Argento, Sullivan, Britten, Bernstein, Copland and Cole Porter.

On 16 August, one of the most exciting British cellists of his generation, Guy Johnston, will play a programme by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Sibelius and Beethoven in Scotland’s oldest working theatre. He will be accompanied by Simon Callaghan on piano.

For fans of the opera, Opera Bohemia returns to the region with Bizet’s masterpiece, The Pearl Fishers on Thursday, 17 August, at the Theatre Royal. In this moving tale set in Ceylon, two men’s vow of friendship is threatened by their obsession with the same woman, a beautiful priestess who battles to suppress her feelings of love in order to uphold her sacred oath.

The Edinburgh Quartet features the outstanding musical talents of Anthony Moffat, guest leader; Tom Hankey, violin; Morag Robertson, viola; and Mark Bailey, cello. The quartet is considered to be one of the foremost chamber ensembles in Britain and bring a programme of music by Haydn, Tippett and Beethoven to the Theatre Royal on 18 August.

Each year, young artists from Dumfries and Galloway spend a week taking part in master classes with visiting international artists. This year the Absolute Classics Festival will present a young musicians recital. The programme will be selected over the course and will be announced on Absolute Classcis’ social media pages and website.

Absolute Classics director Alex McQuiston said: “We hope you will come and support these young musicians in what will surely be a wonderful concert full of variety.”

The concert takes place in Thornhill at 2pm on Saturday, 19 August and entry is free.

On the same evening, Austrian violinist Filip Pogády brings his “lightening-like virtuosity” to the Theatre Royal. Filip has played in some of the most renowned concert venues in the world and will deliver a programme of music by Kreisler/Corelli; Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Sarasate and Waxman. He will be accompanied by Simon Callaghan on piano who makes a welcome return to the region.

The festival plays out in formidable style on 20 August when award-winning pianist Oxana Shevchenko delivers a programme of music by Rameau, Granados, Stravinsky and Brahms to Thornhill. Oxana is internationally recognised as a pianist of outstanding artistry, sensibility and versatility and is in high demand both as a soloist and as a chamber musician.

Alex said: “Once again, the Absolute Classics Festival showcases a stunning array of internationally-acclaimed musicians, brought to the doorstep of audiences in our region.

“Although of world-class standard, we believe that quality classical music should be made available to everyone to enjoy and Absolute Classics aims to be an inclusive organisation. To this end, our concerts are accessible, affordable and completely free to young people under the age of 26.

“We hope you will find much in this year’s festival and look forward to welcoming you to our concerts.”

Programmes are available from outlets across the region or online and further information and tickets from www.absoluteclassics.co.uk. Subject to availability, tickets may also be purchased at the venue on the night.

Absolute Classics would like to take this opportunity to thank its patrons, partners, venues and supporters who help make this possible. Including BDS, Arts & Business Scotland, The Holywood Trust, The Foyle Foundation, The Robertson Trust, DG Unlimited, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Blüthner Pianos.

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