Final preparation underway for Swaledale Festival

Apollo Sax Quartet.

Final preparations are underway for the Swaledale Festival, the annual festival of music, arts and walking, that begins on May 26 and runs for two weeks until June 9.

The festival will see a whirlwind of 66 top-quality events taking place in venues across the sublime landscape of Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale, including classical, folk, jazz, dance, puppetry, choirs, soloists and orchestras.

The international line-up features musicians and artists from Syria, Iran, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Ireland, China, South Africa, Senegal and Venezuela, as well as a large number from the UK – all coming to share their talents with audiences in the Dales.

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Artistic director Malcolm Creese said: Each year I think the Festival could not possibly get any bigger, and yet each year it does. 2018 really is a bonanza festival with something for every person of every age.

“We are also experimenting with some exciting new events such as printmaking, poetry walks and fell running.”

Festival highlights include guitarists Craig Ogden and Gary Ryan, Brighouse & Rastrick Band, violin virtuoso Jennifer Pike, The Youngun’s (folk singing workshop and performance), Sacconi String Quartet, pianist Martin Roscoe, and the Apollo Saxophone Quartet.

Marketing coordinator Emily Rowe Rawlence said: I am massively excited about the family events, especially as the festival takes place in summer half term.

“I have two primary-aged children and can’t wait for them to see The Boy, the Piano and the Beach by Slot Machine Theatre. The show will feature puppetry, dance, projection and classical music from a world-class pianist.

“Classical music is sometimes considered inaccessible to young people, but Slot Machine demystify the experience and make it exciting and full of adventure.

“I am also taking the kids to see PuppetCraft perform The Tin Forest on bank holiday Monday in Reeth, and to see Janet Seymour’s School of Theatre Dance performance.

“Janet is an amazing tour de force and what she brings to the young people of the Dales – in terms of opportunities in dance and creativity – is mind-blowing. Their shows are always a treat.”

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Craig Ogden and Gary Ryan Guitar Duets

Saturday 26 May, 19:30 – St. Andrew’s Church, Grinton

Two leading classical guitar masters play solos and duets by Dowland, Vivaldi, Bach, Rossini and Piazzolla, as well as a few surprises.

Adults £19, Under 25 £3

Brighouse & Rastrick Band

Sunday 27 May, 19:30 – The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn

This eagerly-awaited concert is the first Swaledale Festival appearance by the giants of the brass band world. They come here in fantastic form – as the reigning National Champions of Great Britain. It should be a great evening!

Adults £15-£25, Under 25 £3-£9

Jennifer Pike – violin & Petr Limonov – piano

Tuesday 29 May, 19:30 – Influence Church, Richmond

Violinist Jennifer Pike was crowned BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2002 at the age of twelve. Since her astonishing performance in the final she has blossomed into a commanding soloist with exquisite poise. Tonight Jennifer and her talented pianist celebrate the rich musical heritage of their native Poland with works by Szymanowski, Karłowicz, Knapik, Wieniawski, and the respected violinist and composer Grażyna Bacewicz.

Adults £19, Under 25 £3

The Younguns Folk Singing Workshop

Friday 1 June, 11:00-12:30 – St. Andrew’s Church, Grinton

The heroes of the modern-day folk scene come to Grinton to share their incredible talents!  The Youngun’s are a hugely celebrated, award-winning folk trio from Stockton.  In April their album ‘Strangers’ was crowned ‘Best Album’ at the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Ahead of their Swaledale Festival performance at Tennants, they will be running a relaxed folk-singing workshop in the beautiful church at Grinton.  No qualifications required and absolutely everyone is welcome!  

Adult £8, Under 25 £3

The Young’uns – performance

Friday 1 June, 19:30 – St. Andrew’s Church, Grinton

Evocative folk songs from the modern-day heroes of the folk scene. The award-winning trio of vocalists are delighting audiences all around the world with their musicianship, camaraderie and humour.

Adults £19, Under 25 £3

Sacconi Quartet & James Gilchrist

Sunday 3 June, 19:30 – St. Andrew’s Church, Grinton

The Sacconi Quartet and leading tenor James Gilchrist perform Jonathan Dove’s In Damascus which the quartet commissioned in 2016. Set to texts by Ali Safar which draw on his experiences in Syria, this beautiful piece pays homage to those affected by the tragic conflict there. The Sacconis will also play Haydn’s ‘Razor’ Quartet and Janacek’s passionate and playful Intimate Letters.

Adults £19, Under 25 £3

Martin Roscoe & EUCO Wind Soloists

Monday 4 June, 19:30 – Influence Church, Richmond

A mouth-watering programme of music for piano and wind instruments including Beethoven, Poulenc, Ibert and Mozart, performed by the outstanding pianist Martin Roscoe and principal wind players from the European Union Chamber Orchestra.

Adults £19, Under 25 £3

Apollo Saxophone Quartet

Tuesday 5 June,19:30 – St. Gregory’s Church, Bedale

Since 1985, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet has been at the forefront of the contemporary music scene – commissioning, collaborating, recording and performing all over the world. Their repertoire includes classical, jazz, folk and world music influences, and their presentation is accessible and stylish. Here the quartet presents a selection of its commissions – from the eclectic artistry of Richard Rodney Bennett to the imaginative and playful music of Barbara Thompson, and the world premiere of a piece by Simon Parkin.

Adults £16, Under 25 £3