Leeds Lieder’s Four-Day Celebration of Art Song in April 2018



Leeds Lieder Festival 2018: Thursday 19 – Sunday 22 April 2018

Leeds Lieder presents – ‘Poetry into Song’ – a four-day Festival (19 – 22 April 2018) celebrating art-song, poetry and community under the Artistic Directorship of pianist Joseph Middleton. Supported by Arts Council England, Leeds Lieder places song at the centre of the cultural landscape in the north of England, championing the art-form, and growing audiences. An array of world-class artists will appear in Leeds for an enthralling and varied concert programme, featuring cornerstones of the Lieder repertoire alongside works written especially for this year’s Festival. Legend of the opera stage and master of the recital platform, Sir Thomas Allen, appears at the Guest of Honour. An ambitious education programme, interactive and informative events for children, poets and amateur singers complement the performance programme.

Performance highlights include:

·  Critically acclaimed musical partners, Gramophone Award winning soprano Carolyn Sampson and pianist Joseph Middleton, will be joined by one of the finest young Lieder interpreters, tenor Julian Prégardien, to open the Festival with a performance of Robert Schumann’s Myrthen (19 April).

·  Fresh from his work with the London Symphony and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, composer Daniel Kidane presents a brand new song cycle Songs of Illumination set to poetry by William Blake, written specially for this year’s Festival in association with the Royal Philharmonic Society (22 April).

·  Louise Alder, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, joins Joseph Middleton to perform ‘songs of longing, love and lust’, featuring works by Strauss, Debussy, Britten, Liszt and Hahn (20 April).

·  Grammy-Award winning bass Matthew Rose and one of the world’s leading accompanists Malcolm Martineau perform Schubert’s Schwanengesang (21 April).

·  Legends of the Lieder world, Dutch bass-baritone, Robert Holl and pianist Graham Johnson close the Festival with Schubert’s masterpiece Winterreise – songs of unrequited love set to poems by Wilhelm Müller (22 April).

Other recitals include performances from acclaimed artists such as Kathleen Ferrier and Wigmore Hall International Song Competition Award Winners Julien van Mellaerts and Gamal Khamis (20 April), BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Kathryn Rudge and Jonathan Fisher (21 April), and rising stars Nick Pritchard and Ian Tindale (22 April), as well as the 2018 Leeds Lieder Young Artists, who will study under John Mark Ainsley. Sir Thomas Allen will lead masterclasses and feature ‘In Conversation’ with BBC Radio 3’s Donald Macleod, French song expert Roger Nichols celebrates Debussy’s anniversary with two study events and Lieder authority Richard Stokes will talk on Schubert cycles.

Community music-making is at the heart of this year’s Festival. Singers of all abilities are invited to open the Festival with a Bring and Sing! rehearsal and performance of Fauré’s Requiem, directed by Opera North’s Chorus Master, Oliver Rundell (19 April). Children under 5 and their families can discover stories in song in an interactive and informal workshop Lieder for Little’uns (22 April); and for the first time a Pop-Up Poetry open-mic night (20 April) and late night Lieder Lounge (21 April) allow the art-form and its elements to be explored in an informal setting.

Artistic Director Joseph Middleton commented: ‘a critic last year wrote that we had presented ‘a flourishing…outstanding…relentless sequence of superb recitals’ and this year we have programmed even more. Repertoire will span from the 18th century to works written specifically for the thriving 2018 Leeds Lieder audience, an audience that has, thanks to our rich and adventurous programming grown significantly in the past few years and is helping to keep this marvellous art form alive.’

For more about Leeds Lieder click here.

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