Festival with a global theme has jazz great as highlight

ONE of the world’s greatest living jazz musicians, the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, is to make a rare North of England appearance at the Harrogate International Festival in July.

Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra will pay homage to the music of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, as well as playing some of his own pieces.

The concert in the Harrogate International Centre on July 25 is part of a Jazz Weekend which also features one of Britain’s leading jazz soloists, the tenor sax player Denys Baptiste.

Together with his eight-piece band and the vocalist Juliet Roberts, he will perform tracks from his new album Alternating Currents at Harrogate Theatre on July 27.

The Jazz Weekend ends on Sunday, July 28, with Stacey Kent and her musicians, whose first solo album was one of Britain’s biggest selling jazz records.

The festival will also have an African Voices strand featuring Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab – recently nominated for Radio 3’s World Music Listeners’ Award, and Queen Salawa Abeni, Nigeria’s biggest female star with 75 hit albums.

She leads an explosive dance orchestra with talking drums, bata drums and call-and-response vocals.

Classical highlights include celebrity recitals by the all-star trio of Julian Lloyd Webber, Emma Johnson and John Lill; the Danish National Symphony Orchestra with the violinist Nikolaj Znaider, performing in celebration of Denmark’s Presidency of the EU this summer, and the Prague Philharmonia.

The programme includes a rare opportunity to see one of America’s major symphonic choirs, the 120 voices of The Choral Arts Society of Washington.

The choir is joined by the North-West’s leading chamber orchestra, Manchester Camerata, for a programme that includes the Chichester Psalms and Bruckner’s Mass in E minor.

Among those returning to the festival, which runs from July 18 to August 3, are the Black Dyke Band; the George Piper Dances, featuring the Ballet Boyz Michael Nunn and William Trevitt with a new work by Russell Maliphant; the stand-up comic Jeremy Hardy, plus pianist Melvyn Tann and violinist Tasmin Little.

As always the festival showcases young musicians. This year they include 14-year-old violin prodigy Chloe Hanslip, who will join the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Concert which opens the festival on July 18.

Other young performers are Julian Bliss, the 12-year-old clarinetist, Finghin Collins, the winner of the Clara Haskill Piano Competition, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and Danish Radio Young Musicians of the Year Trio con Brio.

Festival director William Culver-Dodds says that more than ever this year’s programme has a truly global feel with African Voices being one of the shining examples.

Tickets can be purchased from the Harrogate International Centre box office, online at www.harrogate-festival.org.uk or on 01423 537230.