THE National Centre for Early Music's new season in York opens tomorrow with a celebration of the inspirational pianist and composer John Taylor, who died last July.
The 7.30pm programme of Taylor's music will be led by his former collaborators and students, with Julian Arguelles on saxophones, Steve Watts on bass, Tom Gibbs on piano, Raph Clarkson on trombone, Twm Dylan on bass and Dave Smyth on drums.
As part of this weekend's York Residents Festival, the NCEM is offering the chance to Come and Sing with Vivien Ellis on Saturday from 10am to 12 noon and 1.30pm to 3.30pm.
These workshops are aimed at anyone wanting to "enjoy the positive effects of social singing". Run by vibrant vocalist Vivien Ellis, the two sessions are open to adults and children over the age of five and no prior experience or knowledge of musical notation is required. Advance booking via the NCEM is recommended to avoid disappointment.
The York Residents Festival at the NCEM continues on Sunday with the chance to Come and Play with the Golden Rail Brass Band, whether you want to have a go on a brass instrument for the first time or you play already and would like to join a brass band. Free drop-in lessons for beginners, returning musicians and players new to bands take place from 11am to 1pm, followed by a family concert at 2.30pm with an opportunity to join in. Once more, booking is advised for the concert.
Glaswegian folk band Barluath
The University of York Song Day will be held on February 13 with soprano Mhairi Lawson, baritone Matthew Brook, clarinettist Lesley Schatzberger and fortepiano player Peter Seymour taking part. Entitled Journeys Of The Heart, the day features two of the greatest 19th century song cycles, Schubert's Winterreise and Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben, alongside Schubert's much loved Der Hirt Auf Dem Felsen (Shepherd On The Rock).
Concerts start at 12.30pm, 3pm and 7pm, and the afternoon one features student performers who have worked with singer and performance coach Richard Jackson.
Barluath, an innovative young Celtic folk band from Glasgow, make their NCEM debut on February 26 in a 7.30pm concert, co-promoted with the Black Swan Folk Club. Ainsley Hamill, Alistair Paterson, Colin Greeves, Eddie Seaman, Eilidh Firth and Luc McNally met while students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and formed the band in 2010, since when they released two albums and toured Scotland, Europe and North America, and increasingly England as well.
The Russian folksong of Otava Yo and the Latin American folk music of Perotá Chingo originally were to have travelled under the Making Tracks banner, playing concerts across 12 locations. However, the Perotá Chingo tour has been cancelled "due to unforeseen circumstances", so the Making Tracks ticket offer – Buy One, Get One Free – has fallen by the waayside.
Nevertheless, the Otava Yo concert on March 5 will go ahead, when they bring the abandoned traditions of Russian folksong to the 21st century, offering a glimpse into life in an old Russian village; full of romance, melancholy and a good dose of surreal humour.
Global guitar, wailing bagpipes, fiddle-scraping, pumping bass and pounding drum drive songs of rural passions, heroic sailors, goats and pancakes, delivered with casual wit and playful imagination. If you enjoy the Yiddish Twist Orchestra, then seek out these award winners from the Bratislava Humour Academy.
Icelandic cellist and software manipulator Hildur Guonadottir
Antonio Forcione, the multi award-winning guitar master, returns to the NCEM on March 11 with his blend of jazz, flamenco, soul and African sounds, while traditional folk singer Fay Hield and The Hurricane Party promote her album Old Adam on March 16 in a concert staged in association with the Black Swan Folk Club. Fay will be performing with Sam Sweeney, Rob Habron, Roger Wilson, Ben Nicholls and Toby Kearney, some of them having played with her in the Full English project.
Marking the 2016 European Day of Early Music on March 21, bass viol players Christophe Coin and Richard Boothby present L'Entente Cordiale, a programme of Anglo-French music that examines the two sides of this sometimes complex, musically fascinating partnership, as represented by Locke and Simpson versus Ste Colombe and Couperin. This 7.30pm concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
The 2016 York Literature Festival and Dyad Productions presents Austen's Women on March 22 and 23, when 13 of Jane Austen's heroines come to life in this bold revisiting of her work. Using only Austen's words, Rebecca Vaughan becomes Emma Woodhouse, LizzyBennet, Mrs Norris and more besides in Guy Masterson's production.
Among the April highlights will be the experimental Icelandic cello player, composer, singer and software manipulator Hildur Guonadottirr on April 17 in a co-promotion with the York Late Music Festival. Details of the April, May, June and July programme will follow in a second preview next week.
For tickets, ring 01904 658338 or book online at ncem.co.uk