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Site Seeing - Music FestivalsMusic Festivals

Plenty of individual festivals have their own websites, although they haven't all remembered that we're no longer in 1998! It appears (from taking a random sample) to be very easy to forget to update the festival website for the following year - organisers please note! Many festivals in the northern hemisphere take place in July and August, so it's maybe understandable if they're not yet displaying their new wares.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has a combined website with the Tanglewood Festival at This is a fascinating site with lots and lots of information. The 1999 Tanglewood Festival begins on July 9th when the BSO and music director Seiji Ozawa play Beethoven's 6th and 7th symphonies. The 1999 Tanglewood season runs on into August, continuing the celebrations of Ozawa's 25th anniversary as music director, and featuring Claudio Abbado with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in residence, and Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in a Duke Ellington Centennial celebration.

The Vanbrugh Quartet play amongst some of Ireland's most spectacular scenery at the fourth West Cork Chamber Music Festival from June 27th until July 4th 1999. Guest artists include Quatuor Mosaïques, The Arditti String Quartet, Patrick Cohen, the Parnassus Piano Trio, Patricia Rozario (singing a new work by John Tavener for soprano and quartet, plus music by Beethoven and Villa Lobos) and Alban Gerhardt, winner of the 1993 International Leonard Rose Cello Competition. The festival takes place in Bantry House - a stately home in Bantry Bay, and its cyberspace home is

The 1999 Edinburgh International Festival (15 August - 4 September) lists a few highlights on its website at until the full programme is posted at the end of March. This three week festival embraces the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Angelika Kirchschlager, David Daniels, Bryn Terfel, Till Fellner, a Turandot production directed by Saburo Teshigawara, Ensemble Modern, John Adams, Bernard Haitink, Alfred Brendel, Christian Tetzlaff, Christopher Maltman, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Simon Rattle, Günter Wand, András Schiff, Sir Charles Mackerras, Maria João Pires, Soile Isokoski, Simon Keenlyside, Christian Zacharias, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

The 52nd Aldeburgh Festival of Music and The Arts - - 11 - 27 June 1999 has a new Artistic Director - Thomas Adès. Artists presented include Imogen Cooper, Alfred Brendal, Ian Bostridge, Steven Isserlis, Felicity Lott, Oliver Knussen, Thomas Adès, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Britten-Pears orchestra. Per Norgard is this year's featured composer, and a new production of the Adès opera Powder Her Face will be directed by David Alden and co-produced by the Aldeburgh Festival and Almeida Opera.

'Come to Worcester for the experience of a lifetime.' reads the website for this year's Three Choirs Festival ( at Worcester, UK, running from August 21st - 27th. They're celebrating the passing of 100 years since Elgar wrote his Enigma Variations, 150 years of the Berlioz Te Deum, anniversaries of Chopin, Duke Ellington, Poulenc and Richard Strauss, and they have a 'death and transfiguration' theme running through the programme, with the Strauss Four Last Songs, Mahler's 3rd Symphony, Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, Verdi's Requiem and A song for the End of the World commissioned for the festival by Francis Pott. Nearby, across the border into Wales, the Presteigne Festival at runs from August 26th - 31st and features the music of John McCabe, Alun Hoddinot and Graham Fitkin - well worth staying in the area for both festivals.

The Bonk Festival of New Music at begins very shortly in the Tampa Bay (Florida) area. The festival runs from February 28th until March 7th 1999 and presents 'high-caliber performances of cutting-edge works by emerging composers from around the world'. Includes acoustic, computer and electronic media.

I suspect we'll be returning to look at more festivals before long, when a few more festival directors have put up their 1999 calendars! Mea culpa, of course, for producing this too early in the year :)

Directories of Festival web sites

In general the information here is a little disappointing. No single one of the sites listed here has all the information in an easy to access form. Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe this area of the on-line music world isn't yet that advanced? Where, for example, can I see a list of all the music festivals taking place next month?

  • If you're looking for festivals in a particular country, try the Music Information Centre for that country - many centres have lists of or features about festivals. I found 'Festivals in Norway' at by visiting the NMIC site.

  • lists many festivals and concert series in the United States. FestivalFinder - - also lists the music festivals of North America in various genres. MusicalOnline lists festivals in the USA and internationally at

  • The Arts Bureau for the Continents at - has a list of festivals. Most (if not all) seem to be competitive festivals.

  • BAFA, the British Arts Festivals Association, maintains a directory of its member festivals, with links to those with websites, at An alternative guide to music festivals in the UK is Festival Focus at

  • Festivals en France - visiter This site covers all sorts of festivals - not just music - organised into categories. 

  • Festival Seeker - - is Canada's Guide to Festivals and Events.

  • Festpass ( - the European Festival Network) has now been updated for the 1999 season, containing details of 1000 European festivals. Ideal for those seeking cultural to-do's whilst travelling.

  • has a large list of festivals, competitions, concerts and concert venues in various countries.

  • has a clickable map of the world with festivals listed in most areas. This seems the most comprehensive of all the directories, and has the nicest interface. Unfortunately it doesn't currently include website links to individual festivals.

  • The classical music department of Georgetown Preparatory School's World Wide Web Virtual Library at has a section entitled 'Festivals and Miscellaneous Organizations'. More miscellaneous than festivals, some of the links are also out of date.

Copyright © Keith Bramich, February 23rd 1999.

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