BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at St Magnus International Festival
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at St Magnus International Festival
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  • BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at St Magnus International Festival
  • Circulous at St Magnus International Festival
  • Lezdek Mozdzer at St Magnus International Festival
  • performers at the festival
  • lots of drama
  • the New Rope String Band
Orkney St Magnus Festival

St Magnus International Festival is one of the UK’s leading arts festivals and is held for six days in midsummer in Orkney.  It was founded in 1977 by Orkney-based composer, the Queen’s musician, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.  The inaugural festival featured his opera, The Martyrdom of St Magnus, based on the novel, Magnus, by the late Orcadian writer George Mackay Brown.  The festival continues to commission new work from established and young composers.

International orchestras and soloists, theatre and dance companies, poets and authors, bands and visual artists perform, as do community participants who also perform new work to a high standard.  Visiting artists hold materclasses in schools, conducting and composing courses are open to audiences and the Festival Chorus of 100 singers perform major work.  The late Alan Plater wrote plays for and attended two festivals while many top musicians have taken part including André Previn, Julian Bream and Evelyn Glennie.

The festival’s venues range from the large space of St Magnus Cathedral to the tiny Italian Chapel, from the Pickaquoy Centre transformed into a large concert hall, to parish halls.  Productions premiered in Orkney at St Magnus International Festival have gone on to tour elsewhere including at the Edinburgh Fringe.  And Orkney has its own festival fringe, the Magfest, which offers a range of exciting events from drama to circus to cabaret and music.  The festival club is a brilliant end to the day with music and the chance for artists, visitors and locals to relax together. 

Google News
Max at 80: Old rebel may have mellowed, but spark remains
Back in June at the St Magnus Festival - the Orkney midsummer series that Maxwell Davies helped set up shortly after he moved to the islands in the 1970s - young musicians gathered in a packed auditorium at Kirkwall Grammar School to perform his music ...
Herald Scotland
Ben Gernon - New Music
?Conducting Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's music at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney in 2011. That's where it all started really. I'm so thrilled to be playing his music at the Proms on his birthday. That would be an honour for anyone, but for a spotty ...
Young Shropshire conductor Ben Gernon makes his BBC Proms debut at 25
He says one of the biggest highlights of his career so far was conducting Sir Peter's music at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney in 2011. Ben has spent most of this year in Los Angeles as part of his involvement with the Los Angeles Philharmonic ...
McArthur welcomes return to local eye tests for diabetic drivers
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed clarification from the DVLA that diabetic drivers in the county will be able to continue having eye tests done in the islands, rather than travel to Dingwall, as had previously been proposed. The DVLA has confirmed ...
The Orcadian