Pembroke Festival of Voice
Pembroke’s inaugural Festival of Voice brought international artists to Pembroke for four days of music.
Pembroke has a strong connection to Lieder music through our College Musician, Joseph Middleton. Joseph specialises in song accompaniment and is highly acclaimed; most recently he received the Young Artist Award at the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards. Joseph organises the Sir Arthur Bliss Song Series – a series of recitals in which he accompanies exciting singers from around the world. The Festival of Voice is the latest incarnation of this, and the first time so many recitals have taken place in Pembroke in such a short time.
The Festival began with a recital by Christianne Stotijn, who chose to perform Schubert’s Winterreise in the midst of some unexpectedly snowy weather. Christianne decided on Winterreise at the last moment, reflecting the change in the weather from the first signs of spring sunshine to stormy weather that covered Pembroke in a blanket of white.
We were also pleased to welcome back Ashley Riches, who had previously given a recital for the Bliss Song Series, and to hear from students participating in the Pembroke Lieder Scheme. The Lieder scheme provides coaching for promising Lieder singers from throughout the University of Cambridge. Lieder scheme students are coached by Joseph, and also work with a number of highly respected singers. On Monday they participated in a public masterclass given by John Mark Ainsley. These masterclasses provide another space for exploring and developing their skills as Lieder musicians.
The Festival closed on Monday evening with a recital by Kate Royal. Kate followed Schumann’s Liederkreis with a musical exploration of the final days of Mary Stuart. Coincidentally, Mary’s trial took place in Fotheringhay Castle, which was previously owned by Mary de St Pol, Pembroke’s Foundress.