2019 London launch of New Paths Music

New Paths Music launched its 2019 festival programme in London on Wednesday evening.  Supporters of the young musical charity gathered with volunteers, trustees and artists at Skinners’ Hall in the City for the special event.  The joyful occasion was an opportunity to raise awareness of the festival among a wider audience and encourage even more people to visit the East Riding of Yorkshire for this vibrant event.

Publishing the charity’s new Manifesto, its Founder, Roland Deller, explained that New Paths is driven by a belief that music is a birthright of everyone, that it enriches life, and that there should be a vigorous presence of it in our culture.

“Music and the arts are a vital part of human flourishing and make a significant contribution to the prosperity of the UK.  And yet music is under threat – it faces extinction in some schools.”

Mr Deller described how New Paths seeks to create new avenues for music, by mounting a dynamic, inclusive and accessible festival.

“A festival is the perfect vehicle for our endeavours.  By bringing a group of thirty outstanding singers and players from across the country to the same place for a long weekend each spring we’re able to put on an array of performances throughout each day – from morning to night – in a variety of venues, both formal and informal.   And we can give numerous free performances for families and in nursing homes and schools.  The musicians, local community, and festivalgoers from around the UK, join together in the buzz of it.  And the musicians also share the festival stage with local schoolchildren and students: all are given the same respect by the captive audience.  A festival makes all of this economically viable: such a rich offering would not otherwise be possible.”

The festival’s home is the beautiful market town of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  The town boasts two exquisite Medieval churches (the Minster and St Mary’s), is overflowing with stunning architecture, has an abundance of pubs and eateries plus a bustling real market.  This down-to-earth place is a hidden gem: the perfect setting for an ‘un-stuffy’ festival.  Mr Deller observed that creativity often thrives in such out-of-the-way sort of places.  New Paths is proud to be making a contribution to the cultural and economic wellbeing of the region, which is by some measures the 10th poorest in Northern Europe.

“We hope that our work in the East Riding will be an inspiration and encouragement to others seeking to cultivate high quality music in the regions of the UK.”

New Paths’ Artistic Director, Libby Burgess, was joined by bass Jonathan Lemalu and cellist Tim Lowe for a short concert which illuminated some of the themes of the upcoming festival; including journeying, home and displacement, water and birdsong.  She picked out some highlights on the programme including the Schubert Odyssey (all three of Schubert’s great song cycles plus the Trout Quintet), the world premiere of a new piece for oboe and piano by Stephen McNeff, Howard Skempton’s setting of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and a late-night performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time in Beverley Minster.

Miss Burgess also spoke of her own musical journey and how attending an Oundle for Organists summer course as a teenager had been a transformational experience.  And so the evening was an opportunity to celebrate New Paths’ collaboration with Oundle for Organists and the performance platform given to talented young organists in the festival.

Tim Lowe’s moving performance of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise was a foretaste of the Russian theme which will run through this year’s Beverley Chamber Music Festival in the autumn.  New Paths took over the running of that long-established event last year and is privileged to be looking after such an important part of the cultural heritage of the area.

Roland Deller thanked the many people who helped New Paths get established and deliver an astonishing programme last year.  Over 4,000 people attended the festival in 2018 and two thirds of the events in it were free.  He explained that New Paths has the backing of over one hundred supporters but that it needs to raise £80,000 to fund its work over the next two years.  Mr Deller gave some examples of how donations can have a direct impact on the work of the charity:

  • £250 enables us to provide free tickets to thirty under-18s to concerts in the festival.
  • £500 enables us to send a team of four musicians into a nursing home for half a day;
  • £750 enables us to send a team of three musicians into schools for an entire day of performances and workshops;
  • £1,000 enables us to present a free concert designed especially for babies and toddlers which 100 families attend;
  • £1,500 enables us to commission or co-commission the composition of a new work;
  • £2,000 enables us to provide a residency for talented young organists at the festival including a masterclass and a performance opportunity; and
  • £3,000 enables us to deliver an inspiring education project including four visits to school during term and a final performance during the festival.

The 2019 New Paths festival is now only six weeks away and a warm welcome was extended to guests.