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Dartington’s International Summer Festival is back to inspire and nurture creative talent in Devon

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Dartington’s International Summer Festival is back to inspire and nurture creative talent in Devon

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Dartington’s annual International Summer School and Festival is an event that gathers the best talent from around the world to educate and inspire from the Medieval beauty of Dartington Hall in Totnes. This year is already proving to be no exception.

Giving Artistic Director, Joanna MacGregor OBE, something to be proud of as she sees out her fifth and final year in the role, the newly released concert brochure features more than 90 concerts and events over the course of the season. Featuring a varied programme ranging from opera and orchestral performances to Jazz, folk, chamber recitals, gospel and film music, concerts are open to students of the Summer School as well as the public.

What has set the International Summer School’s creative offering apart since it moved to Dartington in 1953, are the collaborations it makes with international performers. Drawing on their passion and enthusiasm for their craft, they bring a unique brand of inspiration to a new generation of musical talent. MacGregor’s own passion and skill as a concert pianist, conductor and composer has no doubt only furthered this tradition.

Once again a feast for the senses, this year highlights include conductors Stephen Barlow, Laurence Cummings, Steuart Bedford and Graeme Jenkins, mixed media performance poet Caroline Bergvall, pianist and author Alfred Brendel. Vocal ensemble Stile Antico, Czech string group Škampa Quartet and Harrison Birtwistle - one of Europe’s leading figures in contemporary music - are also major draw cards.

Another particular feature to celebrate this year’s festival, is that MacGregor has commissioned Eleanor Alberga, a renowned Jamaican contemporary music composer, to write a new work for large choir and piano. It will be accompanied by a text by British poet, Alice Oswald, who lives in Devon.

Joanna MacGregor says: “It’s been an enormous pleasure to be the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School and Festival for five years; to watch it flourish, grow, and reach out. Each year we’ve added to the artistic programme, so it now carries a substantial folk and jazz profile; music for film, and mixed media installations; poetry and improvisation; and a new composition course entirely for early instruments. The magic of the ancient buildings and gardens has never ceased to inspire me. It’s been a privilege to be part of the long, rich history of the Summer School.”

Concert tickets are now available at:


Dartington Artistic Director Joanna MacGregor
Dartington Great Hall during a concert
Harrison Birtwistle Hanya Chlala Arena
Stile Antico credit Marco Borggreve min
A Henry Moore Sculpture in Dartington's Grounds

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