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Cambridge Music Festival unveils spring 2024 series: From ‘comfort’ music to high-wire acts

Cambridge Music Festival has announced its spring 2024 concert series, featuring classical masterpieces from the western world and spellbinding music from the Indian classical tradition, to be performed in venues across the city.

There are also surprises, like the piano duo Bugallo-Williams, who either play two pianos or one instrument at the same time to create “impossible-sounding” music, some of which was first written for pianola and requires more than 10 fingers at once.

Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: Theotime Langlois de-Swarte. Picture by Marco Borggreve
Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: Theotime Langlois de-Swarte. Picture by Marco Borggreve

World famous pianist Stephen Hough will perform favourites by Chopin, Liszt, while up-and-coming younger artists such as Arcangelo and 12 Ensemble will showcase their work.

Festival director Justin Lee says: “Some of these concerts are kind of comforting and familiar, like a delicious Sunday roast, and other programmes are a bit more exotic or spicy. I always aim for performers of the highest quality and this series has that, but it also has variety.

“So, in terms of comfort, you've got people like Steven Hough playing Chopin and Liszt, which is a very familiar repertoire and he is one of the best pianists in the world. You've got an Archangelo playing very famous pieces by Bach. But then you've also got an amazing piano duo from America, the Bugallo Williams, who play this complex music that is really physical and very high octane.

“I often call these high wire acts, because you wonder, are they going to fall off? Or, how do they do that? So it's really exciting.”

He is looking forward to welcoming the Tenebrae choir to King's College Chapel.

“They are wonderful and the setting of the chapel really suits them because of the acoustics there which give the sound an amazing bloom,” says Justin.

“They are performing Joby Talbot's Path of Miracles, which has almost become their calling card around the world. They have toured with it a lot and I’m excited to hear it in Cambridge.”

Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: 12 Ensemble
Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: 12 Ensemble

Path of Miracles is inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. Justin says: “It lasts just over an hour and by the end of it, you feel very different. It's a bit of a cliche to talk about the journey, but that's the whole point of the piece. You go through all the day to day trials and tribulations and end up at the pilgrimage sites.”

Justin says he is also “exploring what I call classical musics of the world” because these concerts draw in “a completely different audience” and he loves hearing works from different artists.

This time, the festival has booked sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degun, who has become something of a star on TikTok.

“He’s a British sitar player who has learnt with the great masters of the instrument,” says Justin. “So he's very well steeped in the in the traditions of the sitar. I'm hoping people will see is it kind of North Indian classical music, and very beautiful. I’m hoping it will change the way people listen, and the way they hear the music they normally know.”

Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: Stephen Hough. Picture by im Canetty-Clarke
Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: Stephen Hough. Picture by im Canetty-Clarke

The concert line-up

Stephen Hough - 6 February

Pianist Stephen Hough will grace the West Road Concert Hall, treating the audience to an enchanting performance featuring works by Chopin, Liszt, and the late Romantic composer Cécile Chaminade.

Arcangelo and Théotime Langlois de Swarte - 16 February

Trinity College Chapel hosts the celebrated Arcangelo ensemble, featuring Baroque star Théotime Langlois de Swarte on the solo violin. The programme includes an all-JS Bach lineup, showcasing the violin in the E major concerto, Brandenburg Concerto No 1, and two Cantatas, promising an evening of exquisite period music.

12 Ensemble - 5 March

Fitzwilliam College Auditorium comes alive as the dynamic 12 Ensemble take the stage. Celebrating the release of their latest recording, the ensemble will present Strauss' Metamorphosen, an iconic piece in 20th-century chamber music that promises to leave a lasting impression on the audience.

Jasdeep Singh Degun - 7 March

Virtuoso sitarist, Tik-Tok star and Ivor Award nominee, Jasdeep Singh Degun brings his extraordinary artistry and fresh approach to Indian classical music to audiences at Pembroke College Auditorium.

Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: Bugallo Williams Piano Duo
Cambridge Music festival Spring 2024: Bugallo Williams Piano Duo

Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo - 11 March

The Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo specialises in some of the most virtuosic 4-hands piano music of the 20th century. At Fitzwilliam College Auditorium, the duo promises a "simply stunning" performance (Gramophone).

Tenebrae - 27 March

The grand finale takes place at King's College Chapel. Tenebrae performs Joby Talbot's acclaimed choral meditation, "Path of Miracles," inspired by the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This breathtaking piece has received rapturous acclaim worldwide, making it a must-see event.

Tickets are available at cambridgemusicfestival.co.uk

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