Programme Announced For New Festival Celebrating Music For Strings In Glasgow

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Four innovative classical music organisations from across Europe announce the programme for a new festival celebrating music for strings, taking place across Glasgow from 14-17 May.

Presented by Scottish Ensemble (UK), Ensemble Resonanz (Germany), Trondheim Soloists (Norway) and PLMF Music Trust (Estonia), The Bridge Festival brings some of Europe's best string players - and most innovative ensembles - to Glasgow.

The festival centres around dynamic, creative, collaborative live performances that aim to showcase the power and variety of music for strings. In both separate and collaborative concerts, each company will bring their own slant on the more innovative ways in which classical music can be presented, as well as the spaces it can illuminate, with events taking place in venues across the city where classical music might not usually be found.

Each ensemble will deliver a headline event showcasing their own distinctive style and ethos, through a mix of acclaimed Signature Productions - including Scottish Ensemble's glittering music-and-dance production Prelude - skydiving from a dream, and Ensemble Resonanz's award-winning urban string chamber music club night - and new collaborations.

The most significant collaboration of the festival will be NachtMusik. Over fifty string musicians, including all three ensembles as well as musicians from the PLMF Music Trust umbrella, will take to the stage at Glasgow's iconic Barrowlands in a spectacular concert of massed forces celebrating the tantalising diversity and colour of music for strings, and its place in contemporary cultural life. The evening centres around new commissions by two composers straddling the worlds of rock, pop and classical composition: experimental pop artist and film composer Mica Levi (UK), and former rock frontman turned prestigious composer Erkki-Sven Tüür (Estonia).

Alongside the main programme, musicians from each group will present pop-up performances and other ways for members of the public to take part across the weekend (with a full programme to be announced in February 2020).

The Bridge network and festival are supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Seeking to ignite imagination at the same time as embedding classical music into everyday spaces and contemporary life, events will take place at a range of venues across the city, taking classical music out of the expected concert hall setting and into venues more readily associated with other art forms, and other musical genres. Concerts will take place at two of Glasgow's foremost east end gig venues, intimate music hub St. Luke's and Glasgow's iconic Barrowlands, as well as multi-arts venue SWG3 and its adjacent club space of The Poetry Club, and the newly-established Engine Works in Maryhill. Venues for the full daytime programme of events will be announced in February 2020.

Seeking to inspire new ways of thinking about music for strings, the events will also be enriched by collaborative endeavour across the board: from chefs, to dancers, to musicians from other cultures, to young musicians, to people on the street as professional musicians spring up for pavement performances.

With one of the main aims of the festival to bring string music to people who may not have previously experienced it, The Bridge hopes to encourage attendance from a wide section of society, partly through a range of ticketing options including concessions for those living in some of the city's less affluent postcodes and a 'Pay What You Can' policy at selected events.

The festival is presented by The Bridge network, established in 2018 with support from Creative Europe. Across the past year, these four forward-thinking classical music organisations from across Europe have come together to explore, share and develop ideas around artistic innovation and audience diversity in the classical music sector, as well as developing a string ensembles network.

Building Bridges, a project focusing on audience development, has already seen each group share their existing practices and knowledge within the network, with organisations swapping ideas and examples of best practice and preparing to pilot events in Spring 2020.

The Musician Exchange programme has also already begun, with musicians from each ensemble travelling to countries across Europe to play with the other organisations with the hope of sharing skills and strengthening a Europe-wide network of professional string musicians.

Amongst many other exchanges, in November 2019, a cellist and violinist from Trondheim Soloists will join Scottish Ensemble on tour for their Elemental project (9-13 Nov 2019, with Aidan O'Rourke and Kit Downes) and in January 2020, SE will be directed by Ensemble Resonanz Artistic Director Barbara Bultmann for RCS Week, adding a new source of inspiration and coaching skills for students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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