Absolute Classics Festival 2018

Now in its 4th year, the Absolute Classics Festival will be presenting an array of concerts by world-class musicians in Dumfries and Thornhill from Friday 3rd – Sunday 12th August. 

Opening the Festival on Friday 3rd August are two multi-award-winning musicians, Huw Wiggin, saxophone, and John Lenehan, piano, making a welcome return to the Theatre Royal, Dumfries. Their diverse programme spans the centuries from 15th century Baroque to the hugely popular 20th century Argentinian tango composer, Astor Piazzolla, taking in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebeealong the way.  

Huw said: “Absolute Classics concerts are always a highlight for me. Performing in smaller, more intimate venues is very enjoyable. It’s great to be close to the audience and really connect.”

Dumfries & Galloway's own tenor, Nicky Spence is joined on Saturday 4 August at the Theatre Royal, by one of the world’s most sought-after dramatic sopranos, Susan Bullock. Accompanying the duo in an evening opera highlights by Wagner, Puccini and Verdi and popular songs will be pianist, Audrey Hyland

Fantasy is the theme of Russian pianist, Anna Fedorova’s afternoon recital at the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel in Thornhill on Sunday 5 August at 2:30pm. Fedorova’s performances have achieved over 17 million views on YouTube and her popularity around the globe knows no limits. This is a concert not to be missed! 

Known for his flamboyant personality, as well as his world-class voice, tenor Nicky Spence, will return to the Theatre Royal on Monday 6 August with Audrey Hyland to perform a programme of Strauss, Holst and Schumann songs.

On Wednesday 8 August at the Theatre Royal, the acclaimed Fedorova Ensemble, Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin; Anna Fedorova, piano; Georgy Kovalev, violin; Benedict Klöckner, cello; and Nicholas Schwartz, double bass, will perform Brahms’ Piano Quartet No 2 and Schubert’s famous ‘Trout Quintet’.

Back by popular demand, Opera Bohemia and a small orchestra will present Verdi's Falstaff, on Thursday 9 August at the Theatre Royal at 7:30pm. Based on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, the opera revolves around the unlikely, plump protagonist, Sir John Falstaff and his farcical attempts to seduce women in order to gain access to their husbands' wealth. Falstaff is as energetic and exciting musically as it is dramatically. This promises to be a thrilling night!

The exciting young cellist Benedict Klöckner leads us into the weekend with a wholesome programme of Schumann, Shostakovich and Brahms. Klöckner has made a name for himself the world over, having performed throughout Europe, USA and South America. Sharing the platform for this performance on Friday 10 August at the Theatre Royal will be pianist Anna Federova.

Pianist Dmitry Masleev took the First Prize and the international spotlight when he won the most recent International Tchaikovsky Competition (2015). He is guaranteed to dazzle the audience at the Theatre Royal on Saturday 11 August at 7:30pm. In high demand worldwide, Dmitry has confirmed his status as a pianist who has virtuoso brilliance and musicality of metaphysical proportions. His programme features works by Tchaikovsky, Scarlatti, Liszt and Prokofiev.

Closing the 2018 Absolute Classics Festival is celebrated percussionist, Rhys Matthews. His afternoon concert takes place at the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel, Thornhill on 12 August, at 2:30pm. Rhys is accustomed to performing before large audiences in many of the UK’s most famous concert halls, as well as on live radio and television. He will be accompanied by Welsh pianist, Michael Davies.

Director of Absolute Classics, Alex McQuiston, said: “We are delighted with our Festival line-up this year. We have a mix of returning musicians and some exciting new faces. This will be wonderful opportunity for local residents to enjoy terrific classical concerts on their doorstep.”

Alongside the professional concerts, Absolute Classics works throughout Dumfries & Galloway to bring new, exciting and innovative educational opportunities for local young people. The Festival programme includes a series of one-to-one masterclasses with the visiting musicians for young people. These masterclasses and all the concerts are free of charge for everyone under 26 years of age and resident in Dumfries & Galloway.

For tickets and information on the Festival or to book a place on the masterclasses, visit www.absoluteclassics.co.uk.