East Neuk Festival

With East Neuk Festival set to bring the best in chamber music and beyond to the Fife coastline, festival founder Svend McEwan-Brown curates a playlist around this year’s excellent programme

Bekki Bemrose
  • By Bekki Bemrose
  • 7 Jun 2019
  • min read
Later this month East Neuk Festival will celebrate 15 years of bringing the best in chamber music and beyond to the Fife coastline.

This year’s programme includes a PRS Foundation supported Beyond Borders project composed by Huw Watkins.

The duo for piano will feature his long-time musical collaborator, percussionist Colin Currie.

Other highlights of the festival include both a solo recital from harpist Catrin Finch and a concert with Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita, who she first collaborated with in 2013.

Elsewhere Colin Currie will also lead the Festival’s 2019 Big Project, which invites the community and professional musicians to create a special performance inspired by the heritage, landscape and history of East Neuk.

Ahead of the event East Neuk Festival founder Svend McEwan-Brown has curated a playlist around this year’s excellent programme. Dig in…

Antonín Dvorák: String Quintet in E-flat ‘American’, 1st movement
Someone called the Pavel Haas Quartet the "world’s most exciting" quartet a few years back, but they’re even better than that; they can thrill but they’ve got finesse depth and style too.

Steve Reich: Mallet Quartet: Fast
I’ve tried to get Colin Currie to ENF for years and this is the first time it has worked out: he is superb, and he’s become Steve Reich’s favourite interpreter: looking forward to hearing this live.

Seckou Keita: Tatono
The kora is one of my favourite sounds - mellow and bright, delicate and percussive at the same time. Keita’s giving a late-night concert at the festival – it’s going to be intimate and special.

Michael Nyman: In Re Don Giovanni
I love it when Michael Nyman takes on a classic and turns it into something completely his own.  This is an aria from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni given a punk make over. To make it yet more unique, we’ll be hearing it played by a full brass band in our opening concert.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Horn Concerto No. 1, Allegro
Horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill has given ENF some amazing performances over the years. This year he’s coming to play natural horn like he does on this, his latest CD: it’s spectacular playing.

Leoš Janácek: String Quartet No. 1
Belcea Quartet are unbelievably good: their latest CD features Janácek’s first quartet which is based on a story by Tolstoy about a man who kills his wife. It is intense music, and in the book the story is told on a train journey – you can hear that train from time to time here…

Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat major: Scherzo
Hands down the most joyful music I know – and it was written by a 16-year old. Pavel Haas and Belcea Quartet are playing it at the festival, but there’s no recording to share here (they’ve never played together before) so instead this is the classic Wiener Oktett recording.

Euan Stevenson: Piano Interlude
Euan’s a superb pianist who blurs the lines between classical and jazz – he’s playing Satie at ENF, but here’s his own moody interlude.

Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne No. 8
Elisabeth Leonskaja is a piano legend and I am so happy that she will return to ENF this year. Her Chopin is matchless – beautiful but unsentimental.

Tim Kliphuis: Waltz du Passé
Mellow jazz to end: violinist Tim Kliphuis pays tribute to the great Stéphane Grappelli, but the style’s all his own.

East Neuk Festival 2019 takes place from 26 – 30 June at venues throughout The East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit