Leeds Lieder Festival 2016

Friday 1 – Sunday 3 April 2016

It is such a pleasure to be writing an introduction to the inaugural Festival that I am overseeing as Director of Leeds Lieder. The visionary founder of this Festival, the much-missed Jane Anthony, left a great legacy, and audiences who enjoy song recitals in the North of England owe her a debt as do we performers whom she engaged. Before I was appointed, I already knew that Jane had invited Roderick Williams to be the Artistic Director of the 2016 Festival. Universally loved by colleagues and audiences alike, it will come as no surprise to anyone who has attended one of Roddy’s recitals, or dipped in and out of his award-winning discography, that he would choose ‘storytelling’ as a theme for the weekend, for he is the master in the art of communicating sung text. We have assembled what I hope you’ll agree is a mouthwatering line-up of artists: The internationally acclaimed jostle alongside rising stars and we celebrate young singers and pianists by providing platforms on which they can perform. It is a particular thrill to welcome our President, the celebrated soprano, Elly Ameling, to be with us as Guest of Honour.

Roddy has chosen to juxtapose the spoken word with the sung, making clear his mantra that ‘the words came first’ and so actors feature throughout the weekend, to hold a mirror up to the words being set by the great composers here represented.

It has been heartening to witness our three education projects blossom over the past few months and we will continue to put learning at the heart of the Festival’s activities well into the future. Hundreds of schoolchildren have been introduced to some of the core works in the song literature over the past few months and this weekend we welcome representatives from the country’s top conservatoires to appear in masterclasses and performance platforms. In addition to programming the finest composers in the grand tradition of song-writing, we have added to the gloriously rich canon of song repertoire by commissioning two new song cycles by Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Edward Rushton. A Forum for student composers and locally-recruited poets will produce yet more delights and I’m intrigued to hear these new works.

The past year has seen ambitious change and ever-expanding audiences at Leeds Lieder as we now programme a season-long series of recitals together with the Howard Assembly Room at Opera North, the University of Leeds and Leeds College of Music. The success of these recitals, hosting some superb artists to share music with the audiences of the North, has given us much optimism for the future. We have attracted newcomers to our existing core audience of loyal supporters and, at the time of writing this introduction, advance ticket sales for this Festival have been well ahead of those of (delete word, replace with) in previous years. We have received acceptances from Sarah Connolly CBE, Dame Felicity Lott, Graham Johnson OBE and Richard Stokes to become our Patrons: that these illustrious names wish to lend their international reputation to our party is an honour indeed.

Programming such excellence on the concert platform, commissioning new works and running extensive education projects comes at a price however, and this cannot be covered by ticket sales alone. Leeds Lieder exists and is run in the most frugal of ways, committed as we are to putting all our resources into the music-making we wish to champion. Coming to the Directorship of Leeds Lieder via my day-job as a pianist, I have been overwhelmed by the philanthropic support we receive from individuals, Friends, Patrons and charitable trusts, without whom, Leeds Lieder would cease to exist. To them all I offer our sincere thanks. I hope that if you are not already a ‘Friend’ that this weekend’s activities might inspire you to offer your support for this great tradition of music-making. Details of our Friends scheme are available at the back of this programme.

Receiving increased funding from the Arts Council has made it an easy decision to make Leeds Lieder an annual Festival. Put April 21st-23rd 2017 in your diaries! Plans are already taking shape for next season and we hope to welcome you at many more Leeds Lieder events in the future. In the meantime, enjoy the Festival.

Joseph Middleton Director, Leeds Lieder

Download Festival brochure here

Friday 1 April

BBC Radio 3 – In Tune
4.30pm – 6.30pm

Welcome Party and Pre Concert Talk with Roderick Williams and Joseph Middleton
6.15pm- 7.00pm

Opening Concert: Songs of the Sea – Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams, Rory Kinnear, Julius Drake

Saturday 2 April

Composers & Poets Forum
11.00am – 5.00pm

Morning Recital; Katarina Karnéus and Joseph Middleton
11.30am – 1.30pm

In Conversation; Elly Ameling with Iain Burnside
2.15pm – 3.15pm

Coffee and Cake Recital: Nicky Spence and Iain Burnside
4.15pm – 5.15pm

Storytelling and Poetry Workshop with Rory Kinnear
5.30pm – 6.15pm

Composers & Poets Showcase
6.30pm – 7.30pm

Songs to the Moon – The Myrthen Ensemble

Sunday 3 April

Festival Masterclass: Roderick Williams and Jo Blake Cave
10.00am – 1pm

Historic Leeds Walk
10.30am – 12.00 noon

Pre-Concert Talk – Edward Rushton and Graham Hearn
2pm – 2.30pm

Coffee and Cake Recital: Christina Gansch and Christopher Glynn
2.45pm – 3.45pm

Masterclass Fringe Concert
4.15pm – 5.00pm

Pre- Concert Talk – Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside
5.45pm – 6.15pm

Celebrity Recital: Shining Armour – Roderick Williams, Iain Burnside, Mary Bevan and Victoria Newlyn

Post-Festival Reception for Friends, Sponsors and Festival Saver ticket holders