The Sheffield Chamber Music Festival has just released it’s programme for the 2024 festival – it’s 40th anniversary. As Music in the Round’s ensemble in residence, Ensemble 360 will play a large part in bringing this exciting programme to life.
The Sheffield Chamber Music Festival has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1984. Founded by Peter Cropper, leader of the Lindsay String Quartet, the festival aimed to bring exceptional chamber music to the cultural landscape of Sheffield. Over the years, the festival has evolved into a prominent event, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024.
The festival consistently attracts world-class musicians and has featured a diverse repertoire, spanning from classical masterpieces to contemporary compositions. The 2024 edition, curated by renowned cellist Steven Isserlis, marks a significant milestone, reflecting the festival’s enduring commitment to showcasing exceptional talent and fostering a deep appreciation for chamber music in the vibrant city of Sheffield.
As the resident chamber group of Music in the Round, Ensemble 360 has played a central role in shaping the festival’s character and contributing to its enduring success. Comprising exceptional musicians, Ensemble 360 has consistently delivered outstanding performances, showcasing a diverse range of chamber music repertoire. Their participation in the festival highlights their commitment to bringing the beauty of chamber music to the forefront of Sheffield’s cultural scene. Their involvement underscores the ensemble’s dedication to fostering a vibrant and engaging chamber music community within Sheffield and beyond.
2024’s Guest Curator
Steven Isserlis is a distinguished cellist renowned for his exceptional musicianship and technical mastery. He has a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author, and broadcaster. His contributions to classical music have earned him global acclaim. Isserlis is celebrated not only for his virtuosic performances but also for his profound interpretations and commitment to expanding the classical repertoire. As the Guest Curator for the 2024 Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, his artistic direction promises a unique and enriching musical experience, showcasing his passion for the craft and dedication to sharing the beauty of classical music with audiences.
This year’s festival boasts a lineup featuring acclaimed musicians and a rich array of musical genres. Here are our top picks:
The Festival Launch on Friday, May 17, at the Crucible Playhouse promises a spectacular evening with Ensemble 360, presenting Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No.1 and Louise Farrenc’s Nonet, all in celebration of Fauré’s centenary year. The festival’s Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis, renowned for his nuanced musical insights, describes Fauré’s compositions as “uniquely moving and uplifting.” This special focus on Fauré not only pays homage to the great composer but also adds a poignant layer to the festival, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the beauty of his works within the context of this milestone year.
As dawn breaks on Sunday, May 19, the enchanting sounds of Ensemble 360 will fill the air at the Sheffield General Cemetery. Performing against the backdrop of the rising sun, their captivating selection includes Barber’s Summer Music and Messiaen’s Appel interstellaire. The dawn chorus of singing birds adds a harmonious layer, creating a serene and atmospheric musical experience that transcends the traditional concert setting.
Moving into the week, on Monday, May 20, the Crucible Playhouse becomes a stage for a not-to-be-missed collaboration. Violist Robin Ireland, formerly of the esteemed Lindsay String Quartet, joins Ensemble 360 for an extraordinary performance. The programme features Mozart’s Ach, ich fühl’s! and String Quintet no. 4 in G minor K516, showcasing the virtuosity of these musicians alongside other works that promise to captivate the audience.
Monday evening offers a unique opportunity for musical reminiscence with ‘Remembering the Lindsays’ at The Showroom. This special event features a screening of the 1977 Omnibus arts documentary dedicated to the Lindsay String Quartet. Hosted by Paul Allen and enriched by the insights of special guests, the evening provides a nostalgic journey into the history of this renowned quartet.
Shifting to Thursday evening, the festival takes a personalized turn with ‘An Evening with Steven Isserlis.’ The Guest Curator himself, Steven Isserlis, collaborates with violinist Irène Duval and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen. Their program includes works by Debussy, R. Schumann, and Fauré, with a special arrangement of a movement from Schumann’s Violin Concerto. This promises to be an intimate and memorable musical encounter.
The festival reaches its zenith on a delightful note with ‘Friday Night in Paris’ on May 24. Baritone Roderick Williams, alongside Ensemble 360, embarks on a musical journey through the enchanting sounds of Fauré, Ravel, Poulenc, and more. This finale promises to be a magical exploration of Parisian musical treasures, bringing the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival to a resounding close.
For the full programme, you can download the brochure here.
Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of classical music and celebrate the rich tapestry of the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival in 2024. General booking is now open! Get your tickets here.