Soak up the atmosphere at Dartington’s annual music extravaganza

Every year in one of the most beautiful parts of rural South Devon on the banks of the River Dart a wonderful extravaganza of music (and other arts) takes place.

Dartington International Summer School & Festival announces 2019 Concert Programme curated by Joanna MacGregor 27 July – 24 August 2019 Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon

Internationally-renowned Dartington Summer School & Festival has announced its 2019 concert programme, with Joanna MacGregor as Artistic Director for her fifth and final year. Through the four weeks of the Summer School & Festival, Dartington is to host more than 90 concerts and events.

The concerts are open to Summer School course participants and the public alike, set against the backdrop of a medieval estate in the heart of Devon. This vibrant programme of events encompasses opera, jazz, folk, orchestral, chamber recitals, gospel, film music, and more. Joanna MacGregor’s 2019 programme sweeps a broad range of musical collaboration – as her final year as Artistic Director she is gifting Dartington audiences a personal and intimate series of performances. Highlights include composers and music MacGregor has found profoundly influential. Among them are the New York street musician Moondog (whose work MacGregor 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.

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. MacGregor has also commissioned Eleanor Alberga to write a new work for large choir and piano, with a text by Alice Oswald. Joanna MacGregor says: “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. 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.” Concert tickets are available from 1 March 2019. Details can be found on Dartington’s Summer School & Festival website:

Background information:

Dartington Hall is a Grade1listed country estate located in Totnes, Devon. The estate was built in the 14th century but founded as a centre for culture and creativity by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst in 1925. The International Summer School moved to Dartington in 1953, following its founding by William Glock in 1948 at Bryanston School in Dorset. Professor Joanna MacGregor OBE is Artistic Director of the Summer School & Festival and is a British concert pianist, conductor and composer. As well as directing the artistic programme for the festival she is Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music, Professor of the University of London and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge. She was previously artistic director of the Bath International Music Festival from 2006 to 2012 and in 2015 was appointed Artistic Director of the Dartington International Summer School & Festival.The event is run by the Dartington Hall Trust, a registered charity and historically was one of the most important experiments ever undertaken in the social, economic and cultural regeneration of a rural area, led by the founders Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst – an American husband and wife who began their ‘English experiment’ in 1925. Over the years, Dartington has influenced national and international policy and practice in the arts, craft, education, farming, forestry, rural enterprise, ecology and social reform. The surrounding area and town of Totnes has become a focus for devotees of the stress free rural way of life with organic farms and restaurants.

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