2020 has been a challenging year for the music industry due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival has bucked the trend with characteristic imagination, passion, and willpower, to deliver live music performances to the North of England.
Internationally renowned cellist, and curator of the Festival, Jamie Walton [pictured, taken by Matthew Johnson] has called on other venues and arts organisations to do the same and to stand up for an industry that has provided solace for so many during lockdown.
Jamie Walton said: ‘In a year when the world more or less stopped, we must have voices to speak through the silence. Music has the capacity not only to heal, but to express what we cannot possibly make sense of; therefore, how cruel the irony that the Arts have been forced to hibernate or, in many cases, collapse altogether. Many artistic organisations are teetering on the edge of collapse, whilst some of our most talented individuals are resorting to exploring alternative careers in order to survive. This is not acceptable. So, to create a haven up in North Yorkshire where musicians and audiences can work together through the music we love and cherish, is more significant than ever before.’
Now in its twelfth year, the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival celebrates great music through friendship, sharing, the landscape, history and architecture, and prides itself in serving its local community. This year’s festival (9 – 22 August 2020) is entitled Revolution! and celebrates the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven alongside that of William Wordsworth who was also born 250 years ago. Normally held in a variety of churches across the North York Moors National Park, this year has seen the Festival move to a 5,000 square foot marque in the grounds of Welburn Manor, just south of the National Park. Despite the venue change, there has been no compromise on the artistic quality offered, with ten concerts, twenty-four musicians and a broad range of music dazzling audiences from Beethoven, Elgar and Mozart, to Ravel, Satie, Messiaen and Schoenberg.
Walton continues: ‘’Revolution’ was reserved for that great force of nature, Beethoven, but it could quite easily apply as a description to any movement which rebels against artistic and social suppression. So this year’s festival celebrates Beethoven’s struggle in solidarity with a plethora of composers and works which either affected or were influenced by the great man. Beethoven was one of the most tumultuous and expressive composers who ever lived, but ultimately struggled to hear his own works through profound deafness. But we can hear it, and his music will not be silenced in this part of Yorkshire!
‘I implore other Arts organisations to be imaginative, think outside the box and show the way towards hope and away from this climate of fear that is suffocating what we hold so dear. The Arts always has a voice and now is precisely the moment when it is strongest.’