Like new, summer light coming in through old windows, it’s time to look forward to the Dartington International Summer School & Festival.
During the four weeks of the festival there will be more than 90 concerts and events. These will encompass opera, jazz, folk, orchestral, chamber recitals, gospel, film music, and more.
Open to all
The concerts are open to Summer School course participants and the public alike. And they are set against the backdrop of a medieval estate in the heart of Devon.
This is Artistic Director Joanna MacGregor’s fifth and final year. Her 2019 programme sweeps a broad range of musical collaboration – she is gifting Dartington audiences a personal and intimate series of performances.
Personal and intimate
Highlights include composers and music Joanna has found profoundly influential.
Among them are the New York street musician Moondog (whose work Joanna was so passionate about she recorded 14 new arrangements on the album Sidewalk Dances) aired with Bach’s Art of Fugue; Beethoven’s magnificent Choral Fantasy and Piazzolla’s sizzling tango-études; Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw with Tom Randle as Peter Quint, and Saint Nicolas conducted by Steuart Bedford; John Cage’s iconic Musicircus, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
Summer school programme
The programme also features conductors Stephen Barlow, Laurence Cummings and Graeme Jenkins, mixed media performance poet Caroline Bergvall, pianist and author Alfred Brendel, vocal ensemble Stile Antico, Czech string group Škampa Quartet and Harrison Birtwistle’s 85th birthday celebrations – one of Europe’s leading figures in contemporary music.
Joanna has also commissioned Eleanor Alberga to write a new work for large choir and piano, with a text by Alice Oswald.
Flourish, grow, and reach out
Joanna told ArtsCulture: “It’s been an enormous pleasure to be the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School and Festival for five years; to watch it flourish, grow, and reach out.
“Each year we’ve added to the artistic programme, so it now carries a substantial folk and jazz profile; music for film, and mixed media installations; poetry and improvisation; and a new composition course entirely for early instruments.
Magic and inspiration
“The magic of the ancient buildings and gardens has never ceased to inspire me. It’s been a privilege to be part of the long, rich history of the Summer School.”
top image: Dartington Great Hall during a concert