Mendelssohn on Mull Festival 2009

Mendelssohn on Mull Festival 2009

At a time of year when classical music in the central belt takes a bit of a breather in anticipation of the abundance of the Edinburgh International Festival, the annual Mendelssohn on Mull Festival offers a refreshing change of scene. Celebrating its 21st anniversary, this six-day event runs at various venues from village halls to ancient castles across the island, as well as at Iona Abbey, finishing up on the mainland in Oban’s St John’s Cathedral. Inspired by the young Mendelssohn’s visit to Mull in 1829, the Festival has always offered a unique experience to performers more or less the same age as he was when he wrote his famous Hebrides Overture, a direct result of his visit to the area and, in particular, Fingal’s Cave on the rugged isle of Staffa. ‘We are giving young musicians the chance to experience performing alongside older ones,’ explains artistic director and renowned violinist, Levon Chilingirian. ‘The really important aspect of this is that we’re not putting on masterclasses, or teaching. It’s actually about playing together and learning about music.’

Not surprisingly, in this 200th anniversary year of Mendelssohn’s birth, the programme has an extra-special focus on Mendelssohn, which includes a newly commissioned Jonathan Cohen arrangement for strings of the Hebrides Overture. Heard to remarkable effect at the festival’s launch onboard the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, Waverley, en route to Tobermory, the new arrangement appears twice in the Festival programme. Originally written chamber music covers Mendelssohn string quartets, quintets, sextets, as well as the glorious octet. ‘We always have a large element of the unknown,’ says Chilingirian, ‘which is the beauty of this festival. Young players are recommended to us and we don’t really know how it will work or if it will gel, but it always does.’

Various venues, Mull, Oban, Mon 29 Jun–Sat 4 Jul

Mendelssohn On Mull Festival

Set up by celebrated violinist Leonard Friedman, this week-long festival of chamber music sees young musicians work alongside experienced professionals on a varied programme to give them a taste of what they will face in their future careers. In addition to Mendelssohn, works by Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms will also be…

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