To begin the evening, Mendelssohn will take us to the Hebrides with his overture of the same name.
Then giving is a taste of what a performance might have been like in Beethoven’s time, three pianists will share the stage playing one movement each of his Piano Concerto No. 2
The evening's performance will conclude with Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Composed in February 1886, Saint-Saëns regarded the work as a piece of fun. However, he was adamant that the work would not be published in his lifetime, seeing it as detracting from his "serious" composer image. He relented only for the famous cello solo The Swan, which forms the penultimate movement of the work, and which was published in 1887 in an arrangement by the composer for cello and solo piano.
Saint-Saëns did specify in his will that the work should be published posthumously. Following his death in December 1921, the work was published by Durand in Paris in April 1922 and the first public performance was given on 25 February 1922. Carnival has since become one of Saint-Saëns's best-known works.
Inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns's 1886 composition, John Lithgow's exhilarating word play, narrated for us by Peter Florence, will provide a narrative to the piece. Lithgow created the text for the New York City Ballet, where the Carnival of the Animals ballet, with his narration, debuted in 2003.
Cardiff University Chamber Orchestra
The Cardiff University Chamber Orchestra is, as its name suggests, a smaller ensemble than the Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra. Made up of students from across the University who successfully audition for a place, the orchestra offers the chance to experience a different dynamic to playing in a larger orchestra. It has a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to contemporary music.
Recent repertoire has included Bach's Orchestra Suite no. 2 and Beethoven's First Piano Concerto.
Conductor Andrea Quinn
Andrea Quinn studied conducting at The Royal Academy of Music, going on to win the NAYO Conductor’s Bursary enabling study in Hungary. She later became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College of Music.
She has worked with several of Britain’s leading orchestras, including BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, The Halle Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also been Music Director of the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
Andrea has worked with numerous orchestras abroad, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Adelaide and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, NRK Orchestra in Oslo, L’ensemble de Paris, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
Her flourishing career as an operatic conductor has included projects with The Flying Dutchman in Norrlands Operan, Aida with Malmo Opera, Misper (a commissioned opera for children) at Glyndebourne and The Merry Widow at Opera North.
Narrator Peter Florence
Peter Florence created Hay Festival in 1987 around his mother’s kitchen table, with his parents and a few friends. Over the past 32 years, Hay has brought more than 5 million people to events in 15 countries around the globe. Peter has championed many of the world's greatest writers from early on in their careers, among them Arundhati Roy and DBC Pierre, who went on to win the Booker and Man Booker respectively. He has hosted conversations about fiction with several Booker and Nobel Prize winners, including Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Toni Morrison and Kazuo Ishiguro. He was awarded a CBE for services to literature and charity in 2018.