THE annual Music in the Round Festival which takes place next month will celebrate three centuries of music-making in Britain.
The festival is entitled Turtle Soup: The Curious Story of Music in Britain, and runs from May 10 to 18.
Among the music to be featured will be compositions by Haydn and Beethoven and there will be a performance by the world-renowned tenor John Mark Ainsley and visits from top baroque musicians the Avison Ensemble and Music in the Round’s own Ensemble 360.
Other highlights include a first-ever collaboration with Sheffield Industrial Museum at Kelham Island, a tribute to music-making in Sheffield, an exploration of the cross-fertilisation between British and Indian musicians, and a finale with a chamber music version of the Last Night of the Proms, with Beethoven’s take on Rule Britannia and a medley of Proms pieces.
Angus Smith, artistic director of Music in the Round, said: “This year’s festival takes its title from an off-the-cuff comment from the notoriously grumpy Chopin that music in Britain was like British cooking - ‘excellent, strong but nothing more’.
“His back-handed compliment not only took a swipe at roast beef and turtle soup - a noted royal delicacy and once a popular course at the annual Cutlers’ Feasts in Sheffield - but also at professional British musicians.
“This festival aims to prove Chopin greatly underestimated the nation and will re-evaluate the reputation of British composing and British music-making within the context of 400 years of often-ignored history. We are combining wonderful music with activities for the whole family, a film and music commission, and beer-tasting.”