Festival Director Meurig Bowen welcomes you to the 2016 Cheltenham Music Festival
Happy 150th birthday Erik Satie! It’s not one of the grand composer anniversaries that the widespread musical world will focus on – he was too much of a maverick and a miniaturist for that – but as one of history’s great pioneers and provocateurs, his music, his life and his legacy are all too fascinating for me to ignore. I hope that the way this year’s Cheltenham programme salutes Satie and his subsequent influence is appealing and illuminating. There was so much more to him than the beautifully fragile, justifiably beloved Gymnopédie No 1. Our series Keyboard Inventions takes us from an overnight marathon of Satie’s Vexations to a piano trail around town and Will Gregory’s Moog Ensemble.
Not so widely known is that Satie was half-Scottish – a connection that is marked by the welcome return of Nicola Benedetti and Evelyn Glennie, and the music of James MacMillan, Sally Beamish and Judith Weir.
Elsewhere, this ever-diverse programme takes in the Somme and Yehudi Menuhin centenaries, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, a musical wine- tasting with Oz Clarke, a residency of Tibetan Monks, Hollywood romance with Claire Martin and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
A Satie-inspired focus, and all sorts of wonderful things alongside: lots for you to explore here in the brochure, and during the Festival in July.