Time to face the music: Justin Lee talks to Alex Fice about the importance of experiencing live Performances ahead of this year’s festivities – and what treats lie in store
Image © Jake Turney
Cambridge is a city of music. Whether you’re hitting up the Corn Exchange to see the latest visiting artist, or stepping into one of the colleges to listen to choral evensong in a candlelit chapel, there are opportunities for musical encounters around every corner.
“I remember doing some research when I started this role in 2012,” says Justin Lee, director of Cambridge Music Festival (CMF). “I worked out there were over 600 classical concerts happening in Cambridge in one year. About 8-10% were professional, so there’s a lot of amateur and student music-making happening. Cambridge Music Festival aims to add to the higher-quality end of things.”
The festival distinguishes itself by offering the chance to hear extraordinary music, performed by artists who are exceptional within their field. There are some huge names to look out for, including pianist Jan Lisiecki, who despite being under 30, has held a major recording contract for over ten years, and has been performing professionally for almost 20. He will play works by Beethoven and Mozart, alongside the Academy of St Martin in the Fields on 30 September. Later in autumn, world-class cellist Steven Isserlis returns to CMF, along with Connie Shih, for a performance of deeply romantic works by Mendelssohn, Chopin and more on 8 November. We can also look forward to appearances by the sensational Sheku Kanneh-Mason, BBC Young Musician Martin James Bartlett and tenor Ben Johnson, winner of the audience prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013.
Continue reading this article in our September here.