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Cambridge Music Festival

When Justin Lee took the helm as director of Cambridge Music Festival in 2012, his mission was to bring musicians of the highest calibre to the city and explore the refreshingly unusual. Not only has he excelled in this, but through innovative programming – embracing the eclectic and the extraordinary – he has shaken off the traditional image of ‘classical music’ and sparked the interest of a younger audience.
Restrictions on live concerts during the pandemic resulted in two inspiring online collaborations: two films of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (Nos. 5 & 6) with Dunedin Consort, with sweeping camera shots to capture every player close-up; and A Percussionist’s Songbook – a series of nine newly-commissioned pieces for pitched percussion and electronics, inspired by songs, short poems or stories, performed by Joby Burgess and filmed in pop gig-style to be released online.
For Justin, who has worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music and the Southbank Sinfonia, live music has an unmatchable exhilarating quality. And thanks to CMF’s new model, audiences can savour more live music, with ‘seasons’ of concerts replacing the static two-week November festival.
Talking of which, look out for a spectacular Carnival of the Animals themed sound and light projection, set to illuminate Cambridge in November 2022, with imagery created by local schoolchildren.
Artists appearing in 2022-23 include: the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with pianist Jan Lisiecki; London Mozart Players with pianist Martin James Bartlett and tenor Ben Johnson; the Choir of King’s College with the Academy of Ancient Music and soprano Sophie Bevan; cellist Steven Isserlis in recital with pianist Connie Shih; and four pianists including Kathryn Stott in music for up to 8 hands. From January the concerts continue with appearances by early music pioneer Jordi Savall, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and The Tallis Scholars.