A free online festival of music from some of the world’s finest musicians is being organised by Sheffield-based chamber music promoter Music in the Round in response to the current challenges faced by arts organisations across the world.
Sheffield Chamber Music Festival at home (#SCMFhome) will feature more than a dozen specially curated performances, talks and family events, all launching on the Music in the Round YouTube channel over two days on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 May.
The plans follow Music in the Round’s recent announcement that this year’s Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, their 36th annual festival, cannot go ahead as planned from 8 to 16 May in the Crucible Studio.
Instead of appearing in the Studio, many of the city’s resident Ensemble 360 musicians are bringing people closer to the music by inviting them (virtually!) into their own homes.
They’ll perform a wide variety of classical music pieces, first introduced (just as they would on stage) with some informal chat about the music. The schedule also features items from guest artists, some of whom were also due to perform in the nine-day Festival, such as a recital from international guitarist and Classic FM favourite Craig Ogden, video content from the Mercury Music Prize-nominee Gavin Bryars, and a set from acclaimed folk musicians Fay Hield and Rob Harbron.
Highlights from Ensemble 360 musicians include a sunrise recital of horn music by Naomi Atherton, set against the stunning backdrop of her farm home in the Peak District; Tim Horton performing Beethoven and Chopin piano music; and a mix of solos and duets from all the string players.
For families, there is the chance to watch one of Music in the Round’s relaxed concerts for children aged 3 – 7 years, with presenter Polly Ives and Ensemble 360. The recording of Sir Scallywag and the Battle of Stinky Bottom, based on the hugely popular children’s book by Giles Andreae and Korky Paul, was originally live-streamed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital in November last year, and will be publicly available for the first time.
There will also be a specially-created Concerteenies event with Music in the Round hosted by Polly Ives, featuring violinist Benjamin Nabarro and cellist Gemma Rosefield, for younger children aged 3 and under.
Jo Towler, Executive Director, said: “Given the current circumstances it was not a huge surprise that we had to make the difficult decision to cancel Sheffield Chamber Music Festival this year; but it is still hugely disappointing for everyone involved: the audiences, Ensemble 360 musicians and guest artists, and Music in the Round staff and volunteers.
“We know that music can bring comfort, hope and community in difficult times, so we’ve been talking with our Ensemble 360 musicians and some of the guests originally lined-up for performances in the Crucible Theatre about alternative ways we can continue to share their music-making.
“I am absolutely delighted that we can now announce that we’ll be presenting two days of music packed with exclusive performances, talks and special events in mid-May.”
Music in the Round will also be running a fundraising campaign in support of the organisation and its resident freelance musicians from Ensemble 360 who would have been performing as part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival this year.
Donations can currently be made to Music in the Round