East Neuk Festival

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The East Neuk Festival is an annual music festival that takes place over five days around 1 July in the area known as the East Neuk of Fife.

Sand In Your Eye's Schubert sand drawing at ENF2014


Established in 2004 it was the brainchild of Donald and Louise MacDonald and founding artistic director Svend McEwan-Brown.

Venues and Artists

Inuksuit performed in Cambo Gardens at ENF 2013

The festival concerts take place in a range of venues including churches in villages such as St Monans, Crail, Kilconquhar, Kilrenny and Cellardyke as well as unusual spaces such as Scotland’s Secret Bunker an aircraft shelter at RAF Leuchars, gardens, caves, dells, local attractions and notably, The Bowhouse, a large barn on the Balcaskie Estate which is transformed into a performance venue especially for the event.

Musicians and ensembles join together in residencies for practically the duration of the festival playing core chamber music repertoire alongside new commissions, contemporary works, jazz and world music. Storytelling, poetry, literature, exhibitions, films and other art and installation projects also feature.

Other performers have included conductor/pianist Christian Zacharias, violinist Alexander Janiczek and writer Dr Richard Holloway, the Alban Berg Quartet, Skampa String Quartet, Belcea Quartet and Leipzig String Quartet, the Doric String Quartet, Elias String Quartet and Royal String Quartet.

Pianist, Christian Zacharias, a regular visitor to ENF since the first festival

In 2017 the festival line up included Elisabeth Leonskaja, The Belcea Quartet, Julian Bliss, Sean Shibe, Chris Stout, Catriona McKay, Mr McFall's Chamber, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Castalian Quartet.

East Neuk Festival Retreat

In 2015 the Festival created the ENF Retreat, a intensive chamber music seminar designed to offer young professional musicians who have demonstrated a special commitment to chamber music an opportunity to work with outstanding established artists. With the support of the Misses Barrie Charitable Trust it offered 10 string players from around the world coaching and mentoring by Alexander Janiczek (violin), Krzysztof Chorzelski (violist of the Belcea Quartet), David Watkins (Head of Strings at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and pianist Alexander Lonquich. in 2017 the third Retreat brought together 8 young players to be coached by Janiczek, alongside Isabel Charisius, Valentin Erben, Rafael Rosenfeld and David Watkins. The Retreat takes place in the village of Elie in Fife

Krzysztof Chorzelski coaching at ENF Retreat 2015

Music and Community

Tony George rehearsing De Profundis at ENF 2017

ENF is committed to commissioning new works by major figures that are intended for performance by professional and community musicians side-by-side. The first work in this series was Across the Distance for 32 horns by John Luther Adams in 2015. In 2016 this was followed by David Lang's Memorial Ground for amateur and professional singers, a choral commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. This was commissioned jointly by the East Neuk Festival and 14-18 NOW, with the support of Creative Scotland. Premiered on 2 July 2016, it was then made available for free to choirs to create their own performances, and more than 40 performances have taken place by April 2017. In 2017 ENF commissioned a devised performance with the musicians of the Tullis Russell Mills Band in Fife, led by trumpeter John Wallace and his The Wallace Collection musicians. Inspired by the stories of Fife's miners, and the music they made in their brass bands, it was called De Profundis and was premiered in Fife on 1 July 2017.


RPS Award for Audience Development 2017

East Neuk Festival has twice been awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Audience Development - in 2007 and in 2017.

External links

  • http://www.eastneukfestival.com
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