Music at Paxton crosses Border for opening weekend

Music at Paxton is crossing the Border following the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon last month that the two-metre social distancing rules in Scotland will not be lifted before July 19.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:28 pm
Music at Paxton Festival will hold its opening weekend at Berwick Parish Church, before continuing with concerts at Paxton House (above).

The festival of international chamber music has relocated its opening weekend from Paxton House on the Scottish side to Berwick Parish Church.

On Friday, July 16, multi award-winning Scottish pianist Steven Osbourne opens the festival with concerts featuring Claude Debussy’s most enduring collections, the Deux Arabesques and the Suite bergamasque.

On Saturday, July 17, Sally Simpson and Catriona Hawksworth bring a blend of Scottish music, and their own new compositions influenced by folk traditions in Scandinavia and beyond, followed by tenor James Gilchrist, an exceptional interpreter of song repertoire, accompanied by pianist Anna Tilbrook for Schubert’s Winterreise.

Angus Smith, Music at Paxton artistic director, said: “Music at Paxton is immensely grateful to the vicar, the director of music and everyone at Berwick Parish Church for agreeing to host the opening concerts of our festival at such short notice.

"The church has great acoustics, in fact they rescheduled an organ recital to accommodate our concerts, so I know that our huge appreciation is shared by musicians who have been eagerly waiting for a return to live music-making for a very long time.”

Music at Paxton manager Elizabeth Macdonald, added: “It has been a huge challenge to stage this year’s festival, and we would like to thank those involved in the very last-minute turnaround to move our opening concerts.

"Everyone at Music at Paxton is excited to bring live music back to the local community. Opening this year’s Festival at Berwick Parish Church is an excellent opportunity to widen our audience and engage with the Berwick community.”

The move enables the festival to accommodate those who have already bought tickets and assures everyone that all the health and safety procedures set in place for Paxton House will be in place at Berwick Parish Church.

Canon Dennis Handley, vicar of Berwick, said: “We are delighted to help Music at Paxton ensure that its outstanding programme of recitals can continue in Covid-safe conditions.”