Let’s face it, the end of summer can be a drab time of year. Happily the South Bank Centre is doing more than most to banish the back to school blues by lighting up September with another instalment of Africa Utopia. Back for it’s third year, Africa Utopia is an eclectic weekend celebration of African culture and the African diaspora that sets out to showcase the exciting art that’s emerging from one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-changing continents. This year’s highlights include celebrated drummer Tony Allen whose rhythms did so much to define Fela Kuti’s legendary afrobeat sound. Allen has been described as ‘perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived’ by no less authority than Brian Eno and his Royal Festival Hall performance will feature an exciting collaboration with the Grammy Award-winning kora player Toumani Diabaté, and Toumani’s son Sidiki Diabaté. The festival also features Senegalese supergroup Orchestra Baobab (also at the Royal Festival Hall) and one of Mali’s greatest singers, Kassé Mady, who will perform at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
One of the best loved and most acclaimed events on London’s musical calendar, Opera Holland Park returns for its 19th season this summer with an exciting program that composes five new productions and revivals in 36 main-stage public performances. Commencing with Puccini’s Il Trittico, three one-act operas that traverse a thrilling spectrum of human emotion. From the tragedy of Suor Angelica to the comedy of Gianni Schicchi, this tour de force must rank as one of Puccini’s greatest achievements and a promises truly spectacular show of theatrical virtuosity. Another highlight, Jonathan Dove’s acclaimed modern opera Flight, has won much praise for its humorous, melodic and accessible telling of the true story of a refugee trapped and living at a major international airport and makes its Opera Holland Park debut this summer. Verdi’s Aida, Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre Re and Lakmé by Léo Delibes round out another excellent season of world-class open-air opera in Holland Park.
12 points is a unique and exciting jazz festival showcasing 12 young European jazz ensembles each year. The festival will take place in Dublin’s Project Arts Centre over the course of four incredible evenings. The twelve bands have been carefully selected from hundreds of hopefuls who applied online. Which means there is no better festival to visit if you want to catch the best and most diverse collection of young European musicians making the jazz of tomorrow. Included in the line up are the French ensemble, Auditive Connection who are currently ranking high on the French jazz radar. The festival will also include some home grown talent from Irish quintet Umbra who effortlessly move between the rich harmonic world of contemporary jazz and cyclical grooves and have drawn comparisons to Meshuggah and Aphex Twin as well as John Hollenbeck & Jim McNeely. Austrian born Elias Stemeseder is the only soloist on the bill. He is one of the youngest performers at the festival. Stemeseder is hugely popular in Germany and has performed with many quartet & duo projects. However, he has now turned his attention to the fertile landscape of solo piano.
The Odessa Club is pleased to announce the fifth annual Kaleidoscope Night. Originally founded by violinist Cliodhna Ryan and cellist Kate Ellis, Kaleidoscope is the bridge between the diverse worlds of classical, contemporary and experimental music. Kaleidoscope promises to be an unforgettable night held in the magically intimate and informal setting of club Odessa and will showcase some of Ireland’s top performers across a wide variety of musical genres. This incredible evening has deservedly become something of a cultural institution in Ireland. Nonetheless, despite such gravitas Kaleidoscope retains a rare sense of intimacy. It is the people that make this night truly special and Kaleidoscope retains the inclusive warmth of a vibrant community. Kaleidoscope has been described by The Irish Times as “one of those life-saving, spirit-lifting, pioneering cultural ventures we keep hearing about”. In 2014, renowned violist Karen Dervan and cellist Lioba Petrie assumed the curatorial roles for Kaleidoscope Night, which has started an exciting new chapter in the series. 2015 is certain to build on Kaleidoscope’s ever evolving reputation as a unique and captivating highlight of Ireland’s musical calendar.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical thriller that’s not to be missed. The ENO is proud to present this fittingly gruesome musical starring Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson and international star Bryn Terfel who reprise their roles as Mrs Lovett and Sweeney Todd. Why do Mrs Lovett’s delicious pies taste so good? Find out the macabre answer when this acclaimed version of the classic story comes to ENO in 2015, following packed-out performances at New York’s famous Lincoln Center. Featuring an all-star cast, the musical showcases some of the composer’s most memorable tunes. It’s grisly entertainment for the whole family. So, why not help celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday with English National Opera and witness this thrilling, semi-staged production of one of his most enduring and popular works.
The Piatti Quartet takes its name from the great 19th-century cellist Alfredo Piatti, who was a leading professor and exponent of quartet playing at the Royal Academy of Music. The group holds the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship for String Quartet at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for 2014-15. They are amongst the UK’s most popular young string quartets, boasting plenty of awards and critically acclaimed recordings to their name. They have performed in all the major venues around the country and have appeared in Italy, Australia, Spain, Austria, Ireland, France, Switzerland and Holland. They are continually pushing boundaries and expanding their repertoire with premieres of new commissions from popular and contemporary British composers. They are about to embark on a tour of Scotland and Ireland and will record a CD in Oxford at the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building. Park Lane Group have supported the quartet extensively on a UK-wide concert tour and a recording on their Classical Label. Other recordings by the Piatti’s have been released on the Linn Records and Champs Hill labels, including their contribution to the complete string quartet works of Felix Mendelssohn (Champs Hill), which was BBC Music Magazine’s Critic’s Choice (September 2014).