What to hear at The Cumnock Tryst 2015

What to hear at The Cumnock Tryst 2015

Sir James MacMillan

What to hear at The Cumnock Tryst 2015

October sees the return of The Cumnock Tryst, the East Ayrshire-based music festival that's the brainchild of one of Scotland's most eminent composers, Sir James MacMillan.

Held in MacMillan's own home town of Cumnock, the festival's intended to reflect the twin traditions of brass band music and choral singing which helped spur the composer to a life in music in the first place. But there's more to the Tryst than that; although not Scotland's biggest music festival (it's not even Ayrshire's biggest music festival it has a packed and diverse programme of world-class music, with Bach chorales, a piano recital, a brass band, late night jazz, Scottish music, pieces by emerging composers and even poetry recitals, not to mention new compositions from MacMillan himself.

The opening concert on Thu 1 Oct features the Scottish championship-winning Whitburn Band, which plays MacMillan's own Canite Tuba, conducted by the composer. Festival Club on Thursday sees jazz from the Fergus McCreadie Trio. On Fri 2 Oct, the festival's artists in residence, Hebrides Ensemble, along with Jo Mango, David Scott, MacMillan and others, perform songs and compositions by young composers written as part of a composition course that took place over the summer, and also issuing from workshops held in local primary schools by Drake Music Scotland and Hebrides Ensemble. In the late afternoon, Muriel Gray hosts a conversation between James MacMillan, folk musician Jo Mango, and Thursa Sanderson, director of Drake Music Scotland. Venerable a cappella group The King's Singers take the 7.30pm slot, in a concert featuring Renaissance pieces and works by MacMillan and the late Steve Martland. Festival Club from 9.30pm features players from the Dalmellington Band.

St John's Church is the venue for two Saturday concerts featuring former winners of BBC Young Musician of the Year. 11.30am sees the 2014 winner, Martin James Bartlett (piano), playing works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin and Prokofiev, while at 2.30pm cellist Laura van der Heijden, who won in 2012, plays solo works including MacMillan's A Kiss on Wood and the world premiere of a new piece by emerging Glasgow-based composer Jay Capperauld. On Saturday evening, the Festival Chorus gives its own Inaugural Concert with a new work by MacMillan and Fauré's ever-popular Requiem, supported by Hebrides Ensemble, NYOS Camerata and soloists from Harry Christopher's Genesis Sixteen – which is not, in case you were wondering, an upcoming sci-fi series but the young artists' scheme operated by Christopher's choir The Sixteen. Later the same evening, the Whistlebinkies bring their music to a late concert with poet and playwright Rab Wilson, at which you're invited to read your own poetry, but before you jump at the chance to recite that book-length epic about your misunderstood adolescence, the maximum length of poem is three minutes.

The Tryst closes on Sunday with Gabriella dall'Olio (harp) and Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) and a trio from the Hebrides Ensemble, playing a promenade concert in Dumfries House with music by Bach, Fauré, Kurtág, Maxwell Davies and MacMillan.

The Cumnock Tryst

The Cumnock Tryst is a music festival launched in 2013 by eminent composer and local boy James MacMillan, with Nicola Benedetti as patron. Brass and choral music are two especially strong traditions in Cumnock.

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