St Andrews Voices is the unique Scottish festival devoted to the voice. It takes place each October in the magnificent setting of St Andrews on the Fife coast and has grown to become a much-loved fixture in the cultural calendar.
The festival’s focus on the voice has led to an extraordinary diversity of performances and projects, encompassing choirs, opera, folk, classical song, jazz, cabaret, a cappella, family events, early music, new commissions, international artists and home-grown talent. Not to mention masterclasses, workshops and education projects, which form a core part of the festival’s mission.
The 2019 festival runs from 17 - 20 October, inviting audiences to embark on a journey of discovery and to celebrate all that the human voice has to offer. This, the seventh festival, is the most ambitious to date, and is programmed around the the themes of space and historic women. It heralds the beginning of an exciting chapter for St Andrews Voices with the first event in a new partnership with the award-winning light projection artists, Luxmuralis.
Sonia Stevenson, Artistic Director of St Andrews Voices: ‘This year’s festival is one of our most exciting yet We lift our gaze and explore the universe through our ground-breaking new partnership with light projection artists Luxmuralis, and we continue the space theme with the world premiere of Emma Wilde’s “Light is Withheld” at our festival Evensong service, and a beautiful “Music of the Heavens” programme with the University of St Andrews Renaissance Singers of past and present. We shed a musical spotlight on some of history’s most important women; Janice Galloway brings to life her novel on Clara Schumann, David McAlmont celebrates the extraordinary voices of Billie Holiday, Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I engage in operatic battle in Donizetti’s eponymous opera, and Robyn Stapleton explores the folk music of Scotland’s women.’
At the Centre of the four-day long festival is a new partnership between St Andrews Voices and the award-winning light projection artists, Luxmuralis. The light and sound spectacle entitledVoices at the End of the Universe, principally funded by EventScotland, is themed around space, and will create a truly breathtaking, totally immersive light and voice experience, shining a spot-light on Ensemble in Residence, The Gesualdo Six. Voices at the End of the Universe will run over two evenings, across a number of venues and involve the local community through the Festival’s Outreach Programme. The town-wide project features internal Son-et-Lumière, artworks, and sound and light installations that will transform the interior of some of St Andrews’ most beautiful spaces.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events: ‘Event Scotland is delighted to be supporting St Andrews Voices through our National Events Programme, with funding towards the spectacular “Voices at the End of the Universe”. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events, and St Andrews Voices’ diverse programme is a wonderful celebration of vocal and choral music, giving visitors the chance to see world-class musicians and artists in some of the historic town’s most stunning venues.’
World-class performance is at the core of the festival’s programming. International mezzo soprano Alice Coote makes her debut at the festival, with the acclaimed pianist Christian Blackshaw.Together they perform Beethoven’s song cycle An die ferne Geliebte and songs by Mahler and Schubert.
OperaUpClose return to St Andrews, a town replete with Mary Queen of Scots connections, for the only Scottish performance of their acclaimed production of Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda.
Ensemble in Residence, The Gesualdo Six appear across both nights of Voices at the End of the Universe, as well as at the Festival Evensong and Sunday morning Service alongside St Salvator’s Chapel Choir. Director, Owain Park, will lead a Come and Sing workshop focusing on the music of Haydn’s Creation as well as an Ensemble Masterclass for upcoming vocal ensembles from across Scotland.
The festival opens, with a celebration of the great composer Clara Schumann. In this special live presentation of her novel, Janice Galloway will read extracts from her book on Clara Schumann, interspersed with performance of music by both Clara and her husband Robert Schumann, given by staff and students of the University of St Andrews Music Centre.
The University’s music students will be showcased throughout the festival in performances of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, a Student Song Concert, a concert given by the University Renaissance Singers and Alumni, as well as in the Festival’s Evensong.
Former BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Robyn Stapleton performs a late night performance focusing on the music of Scotland’s woman, as well as a relaxed day-time performance which is a culmination of her pioneering work in St Andrews through the festival’s Outreach programme working with local dementia sufferers and their carers.
Following his June performance at the Glasgow International Jazz Festival, David McAlmont gives his unique interpretations of Billie Holiday’s legendary 1956 concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall, in a late-night concert at the Byre Theatre.
Events for all the family in the 2019 festival include a free, drop-in Space and Song Family Workshop, Sing-along screenings of The Greatest Showman, special openings of the University’s Telescope at the Observatory during the festival, as well as Andy Manley and Ian Cameron’s Stick By Me; a “joyful and funny show” for 3-6 year olds.
St Andrews Voices is grateful for support from Creative Scotland, Event Scotland, Fife Events Fund, University of St Andrews, Culture & Business Fund Scotland, McPherson Trust, St Andrews Community Trust, Cookie Matheson Trust, Northwood Charitable Trust, Fidelio Charitable Trust , Links Trust, Lisle Design Ltd., Stay in St Andrews, Shine, Byre Theatre and several Supporting Voices Patrons.