Lorn Live is a new chamber music festival being held from 18th August to 8th September in St. John’s Cathedral, Oban.
The aim of the festival is to share and promote the wealth and beauty of classical chamber music throughout the area of Lorn. In addition, the festival is particularly interested in introducing classical music to a younger audience by taking the musicians into the local schools and by offering free admission to those under 18 attending festival concerts.
The weekly concerts will be held in St. John’s Cathedral and will feature four different ensembles performing much loved works from the chamber repertoire. The young artists performing in this year’s festival are all extremely distinguished performers and can be heard throughout the year performing with the country’s top orchestras and opera companies including The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra, Manchester, Camerata, The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Scottish Opera.
The aim is for the festival to become an annual event, offering a wider range of concerts each year in a variety of interesting and unusual venues throughout Lorn.
This year the festival has been kept quite small in order to determine the market for an event like this, in addition to publicising the ‘Lorn Live’ brand.
In the green room
The energies behind this exciting initiative are three stellar and much awarded musicians, pianist Andrew Dunlop, Ruth Gibson on viola and clarinetist William Stafford.
One of the three – Andrew Dunlop – was born and brought up near Oban at Connel, has brought chamber music events to Oban before, building the audience which is now the base for this new initiative to move forwards into becoming an annual festival.
Just skimming through short summaries (below) on the careers and achievements of these musicians is enough to conjure the sound they – and those playing with them in the festival – will make in the acoustic of St John’s Cathedral.
Festival dates and programme
All concerts are in St John’s Cathedral on the Esplanade in Oban; and each will start at 3:30 pm.
18th August: Ruth Gibson (viola), William Stafford (clarinet) & Andrew Dunlop (piano)
- Mozart: Kegelstatt Trio in E-flat major, K. 498
- Bruch: Eight Pieces, Op. 83
25th August: Jessica Gillingwater (soprano) & Andrew Dunlop (piano)
- Works by Strauss, Marx, Rachmaninov, Hahn, Messiaen & Britten
1st September: Anya Muston (violin), Paul Grennan (cello) & Andrew Dunlop (piano)
- Rachmaninov: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor
- Jennifer Higdon: Pale Yellow
- Smetana: Piano Trio in G minor Op. 15
8th September Eblana String Trio & Andrew Dunlop (piano)
- Mozart: Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat major, K. 493
- Brahms : Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 6
(Pictured top) Andrew is currently the John Wilson Junior Fellow in Collaborative Piano at the Royal Northern College of Music.
He recently received his Doctorate from the Eastman School of Music in New York where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar under the guidance of Professor Barry Snyder.
Previously, Andrew studied at the RNCM with Carole Presland, Alexander Melnikov and Mark Ray where he graduated with the Masters of Music in Performance with Distinction and the Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours, in addition to the Alfred Clay Scholarship and the Hilda Anderson Dean Award for the highest recital and academic marks.
During his student career he was awarded scholarships from numerous organisations including Fulbright, Eastman, RNCM, Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Craxton Memorial Trust, Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship Trust and the Doris Strake Prize from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He was also a prize-winner in the RNCM Concerto, Recital and Weill Prize for Chamber Music in addition to numerous accompanying awards.
Recent concerto performances include Beethoven ‘Emperor’ Concerto, Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1, Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major K.488 and both Bartòk’s Third Piano Concerto and Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra. Andrew has performed in numerous venues throughout the UK, USA, Canada, Spain, Switzerland and New Zealand in addition to appearing on several television and radio broadcasts in both a solo and collaborative capacity.
Andrew works regularly as a staff pianist for Lake District Summer Music, the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain and the International Summer Festival and Academy of Music in Geneva.
A keen pedagogue, his paper investigating practice methods and musical achievement was presented at the 2009 International Research in Music Education Conference, at Exeter University. Andrew has served on the Piano Faculty of the Hochstein School of Music and Dance and was Director of Music at Elmgrove United Methodist Church while residing in Rochester, New York. He currently teaches for the Yorkshire Young Musicians in Leeds and at Cheedle Hulme School.
Born in Dublin, Ruth Gibson began her musical studies on the violin at the age of 5, continuing with the viola at 11.
In 2005, Ruth began her degree at the Royal Northern College of Music and graduated with First class Honours. During her studies, she was the recipient of an RNCM Entrance Award, winner of the Cecil Aronowitz Viola Competition and the Nossek Chamber music prize with the Roberts String Quartet. She was also finalist in both the RNCM Paganini Prize and the J&A Beare Solo Bach Competition in London in 2008 and performed York Bowen’s Viola Concerto with Manchester’s Beethoven Orchestra.
Ruth continued her studies at the RCM with Lawrence Power where she was kindly supported by the Musicians Benevolent Trust, South Dublin County Council and the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
As an Allcard winner, she gave recitals at St John Smith’s Square and regularly performs in the St Lawrence Jewry Fesitval.
Ruth was also a member of the Finzi quartet (2007-2012), winners of the ROSL Ensemble Prize in 2010 and Second Prize winners in the 5th Trondheim International String Quartet Competition. Selected by the Tillett Trust, the Park Lane Group, and Kirckman Concerts Society, the Quartet delighted critics and audiences alike at its debut appearances at Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.
This year Ruth continues her chamber music fellowship alongside a viola fellowship at the RNCM. Following her recent broadcasted performance of Holst’s Lyric Movement for Viola and Orchestra Ruth was delighted to perform with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in December. Next year Ruth will be studying with Nobuko Imai in Geneva and continuing her viola fellowship at the RNCM.
After turning down an organ scholarship to University College, Oxford, William Stafford read music at Manchester University and studied clarinet with Nicholas Cox (principal clarinet, RLPO) at the Royal Northern College of Music.
In 2008, he was awarded the RNCM’s Gold Medal, the college’s highest and most prestigious award for performance, before moving to London to study for one year at the Royal College of Music.
William has since appeared as guest principal clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, English National Opera, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra. In August 2011, he was appointed sub-principal clarinet with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Much in demand as a chamber musician, William performs regularly with the Eidos Trio which made its debut at the Wigmore Hall in January 2011. In addition, he has enjoyed collaborations with artists such as Maurice Bourgue, Sergio Azzolini, Richard Watkins and Michael Collins. Having been selected to join the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme in 2008, William has given concerts at various music clubs across the UK.