Welcome to the Bath International Music Festival and our second programme as joint artistic directors. Building on what’s made it special in the past, we look forward to creating a fresh identity for the Festival in the next few years.
What’s exciting us? There are so many fantastic songs and voices filling the extraordinary spaces in Bath and north-east Somerset – Anne Carrere singing Edith Piaf at the Forum in Piaf’s centenary year; Nicholas Mulroy singing the great Schubert song cycles across the first weekend and then joining forces with jazz pianist Jason Rebello in Bradford on Avon; Lera Lynn from True Detective bringing her dark Americana to Komedia; Tenebrae performing Brahms and Bruckner in Bath Abbey; Bath Camerata under their new musical director singing late-night Rachmaninov; Teddy Thompson unveiling his new album Little Windows and Mexican tenor Hector Sandoval singing great opera arias with the Bath Philharmonia.
Party in the City is a special opening event, with thousands of musicians playing dozens of concerts in halls and streets across the city to delight tens of thousands of people. It symbolises how we want to strengthen the Festival’s place in the hearts of people in the region and beyond, and build partnerships that make the Festival thrive and grow. We want a new place for major young artists in the programme – so Philip Higham will be playing all the Bach Cello Suites across the Festival before joining the Navarra String Quartet, who are also in residence across the Festival, and in the Masonic Hall we have commissioned Alasdair Roberts, Twelfth Day and Ranjana Ghatak to perform new collaborations for the very first time in front of late-night audiences.
We will continue to bring great artists to Bath – we are thrilled to be presenting a major Schubert programme by pianist Richard Goode and delighted to be welcoming the Philharmonia Orchestra back to the Festival with a concert of Elgar and Sibelius, conducted by Edward Gardner.
The jazz programme has grown this year – as well as saxophone master Branford Marsalis playing In My Solitude in Bath Abbey, the first Saturday will also feature an afternoon with writer and pianist Jay Rayner and the first Bath show by brilliant new cabaret group Kansas Smitty’s House Band. There’s so much more for everyone to enjoy across the Festival, from free outdoor performances by legendary choreographer Rosemary Lee to talks, walks and even more concerts. It’s all packed inside the brochure – we hope to see you at the Festival in May.
David Jones and James Waters