East Neuk Festival to launch this week

Last year's sand sculpture brought Beethoven to life.
Last year's sand sculpture brought Beethoven to life.

The annual spectacle of the East Neuk Festival is set to enrich the area with culture once more this week.

The festival aims to once more fill the churches, cafes, and town halls of the Neuk with lovers of classical music.

This year, highlights include pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja leading the 2017 Schubertiad, and a tribute to poet and composer Thomas Kingo.

And not to be missed are the Belcea Quartet, baritone Thomas Oliemans and Malcolm Martineau on piano.

There will also be a celebration of the connection between Fife’s mining heritage and brass band music, led by renowned trumpeter John Wallace.

As ever, there will be a little something special by the talented Sand in your Eye team, who will create a sand sculpture on Crail High Street.

Around 20 tonnes of sand are to be deposited outside venue the Honeypot Tearooms, which wwill then be painstakingly sculpted and moulded into a huge bust of Franz Schubert.

Previous displays have included a giant Beethoven and a portrait of Schubert on Elie beach.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday, continuing until Sunday, July 2.

This year’s venues include Anstruther Town Hall, the Bowhouse, Cocoa Tree Cafe, Crail Church and Church Hall, Elie Church Hall, Kilrenny Church, St Ayle Church in Cellardyke, St Monans Church, and the Dreel Halls.

East Neuk Festival founding artistic director Svend McEwan-Brown said: “Every year at ENF you will find something familiar and something completely new – that’s how we keep it fresh.

“Our venues are all important – the Neuk is full of beautiful old buildings, including halls, gardens, churches – and we use different ones each year and pick the music to fit the space.

“In the Bowhouse, a converted cattle barn in Anstruther, we are staging our big project called De Profundis which celebrates the brass band legacy of generations of Fife miners,.

“In the intimate space of Crail Church we have a Schubertiad featuring five concerts of some of Schubert’s best loved songs and chamber works performed by such musical luminaries as pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja and the Belcea Quartet.

“As well as public recitals by the emerging talent from the annual ENF Retreat this year, the young Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe returns for the 3rd time with an exciting project that we are helping him put together – playing acoustic and electric guitar and performing old Scottish music of heart-breaking beauty.

“He is definitely one to watch – as is the Castalian Quartet, making its ENF debut this year.

“As director I am intensely proud to offer great musicians a wonderful place to perform, hear them tell me how superb the team is, and see a terrific audience enraptured and delighted.”