The Glasgow Cathedral Festival is returning after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic.
Bringing life to Glasgow’s oldest building, which was closed to the public for much of last year, GCF2021 offers a particularly special opportunity to enjoy performances by acclaimed Scottish and international artists in the airy surroundings of the city’s striking medieval cathedral, from Thursday September 30 to Sunday October 3.
The festival will launch with an expressive tribute to the turmoil of the past eighteen months from the Edinburgh Quartet and Scottish clarinettist Ross Montgomery, who perform music by Brahms and James MacMillan that mirrors the mixed emotions many are experiencing as we emerge from the grip of COVID-19.
The late-night series, Twilight in the Crypt, returns after a sell-out debut in 2019. Providing space for personal reflection and meditation, the opening concert is given by Explore Ensemble—who make their Scottish debut performing works by Lawrence Dunn and Catherine Lamb (UK premiere), alongside mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean.
As part of a celebration of Scottish artists, the second late-night event of the festival features an exclusive album preview from Lewis Banks – whose performance integrates saxophone and electronics in a powerful fusion of jazz and classical – while the following evening the event will screen the 1925 silent horror film Phantom of the Opera, with semi-improvised accompaniment from organist Aaron Hawthorne and soprano Rosie Lavery.
Sing Sistah Sing!, performed by mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker, is an uplifting celebration of the African American female voice. Joined at GCF2021 by Scottish pianist Richard Lewis, Baker tells a deeply personal story through this engaging mixture of storytelling, jazz, blues, opera, art song, gospel and rollicking piano virtuosity.
The evening concert series ends with a performance from multi-award-winning guitarist Sean Shibe, who returns to his native Scotland after appearances at Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms. This deeply personal programme features 17th-century lute manuscripts alongside Steve Reich’s hypnotic Electric Counterpoint and the amplified guitar and multiple bagpipes of Julia Wolfe’s LAD, revelling in the contrast between quiet introspection and wild catharsis.
The festival closes with a celebratory service to which all are welcome—led by the cathedral minister, Rev Mark Johnstone, and featuring music from Glasgow Cathedral Choir.
Glasgow Cathedral Festival is operated by the Society of Friends of Glasgow Cathedral. The Society of Friends is a charitable, non-religious organisation that oversees the care and preservation of the cathedral for posterity. It encourages both Glasgow residents and visitors to experience the unique architectural and historical legacy of the city’s oldest building, as well as supporting artistic activity in and around the cathedral.
For more details, visit the Glasgow Cathedral Festival website HERE.