Ripon International Festival: the festival that roared!

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By Graham Chalmers

Ripon International Festival tends to whisper, not shout. It’s biggest noise, perhaps, comes when the Hallé Orchestra is in full flight.

Since it was first launched in 1998 its talented co-founder and artistic director Janusz Piotrowicz has always preferred to let this highly-regarded festival’s wide variety of cultural events do the talking for themselves.

This year’s runs at venues in Ripon and, occasionally, Harrogate until September 21 with the visiting names including jazz singer Clare Teal, flamenco guitarist Juan Martin and the Royal Northern Sinfonia who launched the festival in a packed Ripon Cathedral last weekend.

As usual, Piotrowicz took the conductor’s baton for the opening concert and was praised afterwards for his typical dynamism and energy, allied to a keen sensitivity.

From its first days nearly 20 years ago, the festival has flourished, weathered a few storms, and, even in the face of severe public funding cuts, striven to maintain its national reputation for artistic excellence. Janusz Piotrowicz, who is to conduct l’Orchestre du Monde in London next month hosted by actress Joanna Lumley, said the festival was purely about the thrill of live performance and a commitment to quality artists from around the UK and wider world.

And it was a joy to be able to do so, he added: “I have conducted some of the world’s finest soloists in the festival, such as cellist Miklos Perenyi, flautists Samuel Coles and Adam Walker, clarinetist Michael Whight, violinist Alexandra Soumm, and oboist Nicholas Daniel.

“I have also had the great joy of bringing to life the miraculous symphonic repertoire of the great masters, outstanding occasions being the iconic Rachmaninov 2nd Symphony with the Hallé in 2014 and - also with the Hallé – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no 6, the Pathétique in 2011.”

Ripon International Festival offers an exciting and contrasting array of international orchestras and artists in its 18th season.

The celebrated London Mozart Players, will perform Mendelsson’s Overture Fingal’s Cave and Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s mighty Eroica Symphony on Saturday, September 19 at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

Conducted by Janusz Piotrowicz, the violin soloist will be Jennifer Pike, who was BBC Young musician of the Year in 2002, aged only 12.

Pike is now taking the world by storm with the intensity of her playing, being accorded a standing ovation at her recent Carnegie Hall début.

For full information and tickets, visit Ripon Festival