A cornucopia of concerts at Lake District Summer Music

Maxwell Quartet are heading to the Lake District Summer Music Festival Silk and Bamboo Ensemble will be performing at Lake District Summer Music 2016 Violin virtuoso Chloe Hanslip is making her Lake District Summer Music debut this year (photo Benjamin Ealovega)

From 30 July – 12 August the Lakes are alive with the sound of Lake District Summer Music’s 32nd Festival.

Lake District Summer Music promises a fortnight-long festival of musical delights with 45 events in 16 venues across the South Lakes

This Lake District musical highlight will once again welcome artists and audiences new and old with its cornucopia of concerts, providing two weeks of unmissable performances with artists returning as firm favourites alongside plenty of new faces.


// String Quartets plus

Chamber music has always been at the heart of the Lake District Summer Music programme, and this year’s focus is on ‘String Quartets plus’: quartets, quintets and sextets with the Maxwell Quartet, Škampa Quartet, Chilingirian Quartet and guests Roger Chase (viola), BBC New Generation artist Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn), Garfield Jackson (viola), Yuko Inoue (viola) and Christoph Richter (cello) with a thread of Mozart and Dvořák.

// Commemorating WW1

Following the strong audience response to the 2015 silent film screening, this year Lake District Summer Music has created a special event as part of its ongoing commemoration of World War 1: a presentation of the 1916 film The Battle of the Somme, the first feature-length war documentary. What makes Lake District Summer Music’s event unique is that composer and percussionist Jan Bradley has been commissioned to improvise a soundtrack live to accompany the screening.

WW1 centenary events include music by Debussy, Ravel, Bartók and Schoenberg alongside rarities by Granados, Ireland, Kelly, Kodály, Rebecca Clarke, Bainton and Bridge… & ‘Yakkers’ reading poetry of the time

Wiltshire Regiment at Thiepval on 7 August 1916
Wiltshire Regiment at Thiepval on 7 August 1916

// Opera, music-theatre, jazz, folk and much more…

Lake District Summer Music celebrates the launch of the Cumbria Festival Chorus, a merger of the Mary Wakefield Festival and Cumbria Choral Initiative, in the festival’s opening concert, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius in Kendal Parish Church. For lovers of opera, there is a specially-devised evening providing a showcase for the National Opera Studio with the tantalising title of Royalty, Romans, Rakes and Revenge!

A new venue has been chosen to present a major music-theatre event: St George’s Kendal will host Breaking the Rules, telling the dramatic life of Gesualdo, the Italian composer-prince – and murderer – to mark his 450th anniversary. Music spanning 450 years is also offered by early music rising stars Tabea Debus (recorder) with Duo Seraphim (counter-tenor and lute/theorbo), who include a world première by Laura Bowler alongside Monteverdi and Purcell.

Tabea Debus will be performing at Lake District Summer Music 2016 (photo Andreea Tufescu)
Tabea Debus will be performing at Lake District Summer Music 2016 (photo Andreea Tufescu)

World music, jazz and folk music have a growing following at Lake District Summer Music and this year’s festival presents Chinese music with the Silk and Bamboo Ensemble, a boundary-stretching evening from Project Jam Sandwich and a welcome return for Mike Walker and Gwilym Simcock alongside their colleague Iain Dixon. Young Polish virtuoso Bartosz Głowacki brings the classical accordion to Lake District Summer Music for the first time.

You might think that in our 32nd year, we would run out of novelties. But we’ve responded to our loyal audience, who warmly welcome the new alongside the familiar. From the 150+ works in this year’s programme, almost two-thirds of the pieces have never been performed here before – and that includes core works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart! – Founder and Artistic Director of LDSM, Renna Kellaway MBE

Major anniversaries are celebrated with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death acknowledged in film presentations from Kenneth Branagh’s Theatre Company, the Globe and live from Glyndebourne; and the legacy of Yehudi Menuhin in his centenary year lives on through violin virtuoso Chloë Hanslip making her Lake District Summer Music début, and cellist Colin Carr, and (from Menuhin’s Live Music Now scheme) Elinor Nicholson, harp, and Project Jam Sandwich. Lake District Summer Music also finds a place for the anniversary of a more neglected figure, William Sterndale Bennett, marking this Victorian composer’s bicentenary with a major piano work.

// Lake District Summer Music Festival Diary

You can download the Lake District Summer Music Festival Diary 2016 below. Free copies are also available by calling 01539 742620, by post or personal visit to the Festival Office at Stricklandgate House, 92 Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4PU.

Lake District Summer Music Festival 2016 runs from 30 July -12 August

Advance booking is open to LDSM Festival Patrons from 23 May, online and postal booking a fortnight later, and by phone (01539 742621) from 13 June.

To enjoy these Lakes Culture events and much more, book your break in the Lake District here