Two musical superstars join forces at festival


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Jazz superstar Jacqui Dankworth and renowned classical guitarist Craig Ogden will be joining forces to wow the audience at a top musical festival.

They will be performing together at the North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph Cathedral on the evening of Thursday, September 27.

Their repertoire will include songs by everyone from Paul Simon and James Taylor to Henry Mancini and Michel Legrand and the theme for the concert will be Reflections of Love.

The festival, which runs from Saturday, September 15, to Sunday, September 30, is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd.

According to Jacqui, the daughter of jazz legends Dame Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, the collaboration between classical guitar and jazz works beautifully.

She said: “I’ve now worked with Craig a few times and we have recorded an album together which is yet to be named. We will release it later this year.

“I didn’t know Craig but after my dad passed away in 2010 I got a lot of comfort from listening to classical music. I’ve always loved classical music but I just found it comforting as I was going through the grieving process.

“One day I heard a piece by Craig on the radio and I was so moved I just emailed him. We then met at a festival he ran in the Cotswolds with his wife.

“I then wrote to him and asked whether he would be interested in doing a project together. Since then we have done seven or eight shows together and recorded our album.”

She added: “Craig is an amazing musician and so very humble in a way many classical musicians aren’t. He is able to cross over genres with ease, even if he doesn’t think he can. He’s an extraordinary musician.

“The programme for St Asaph is varied but each and every song will examine the concept of love whether it’s Paul Simon’s Bridge over Troubled Water or James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend.”

And Northampton-born Jacqui says she is looking forward to playing at St Asaph as she has a strong link with North Wales.

She said: “I trained as an actor as well as a singer. I appeared at Mold’s Theatr Clwyd many years ago in a play called Cowardy Custard which was about the music of Noel Coward. In fact Theatr Clwyd is where I earned my Equity card.

“I then went back to Theatr Clwyd and worked with Ian Lavender on a two actor play about Buster Keaton and the women in his life.

“I really enjoy the area and have friends in North Wales. Performing at St Asaph with Craig Ogden is going to be an amazing experience and one I’m looking forward to so much. It’s a musical marriage made in heaven “

Craig added: “Ultimately we will be performing beautiful songs and playing beautiful music. Jacqui came up with the idea of working together after she heard a piece I’d done on the radio. She asked if we could work together and I readily agreed.

“We have recorded a CD which has not yet been released. Jacqui chose the songs which are unique and suit her style. She has a wonderful voice. We do James Taylor’s My Travelling Star and it’s just wonderful.

North Wales International Music Festival artistic director Ann Atkinson is looking forward to hearing Jacqui Dankworth and Craig Ogden perform together.

She added: “I’m delighted with the line-up for this year’s festival. We launch the 2018 festival on Saturday, September 15th with the world premiere of a new piece by Professor Paul Mealor based on the Kipling poem My Boy Jack.

“We have a concert called Hymn to the Fallen, a programme of remembrance to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice featuring the popular Voces8.

“International pianist Freddy Kempf will perform a concert of music by Chopin and will also perform Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, which was written in 1917 and is dedicated to friends that perished in the Great War.

“Our Festival community chorus will perform with the Welsh National Opera and we have another world premiere, Materna Requiem, by composer Rebecca Dale.

“And on the Saturday evening we will have the Smile, Smile, Smile performance with NEW Sinfonia and the workshop students as well as the Elgar cello concerto with celebrated cellist Raphael Wallfisch.

“Smile, Smile, Smile is based on the wartime song Pack up your Troubles which was written by two St Asaph-born young men, George and Felix Powell. George sang in the choir at St Asaph Cathedral while Felix played the organ.

“The festival will close on the Sunday with a concert reflecting on the centenary of the end of the Great War with performances by Trelawnyd and Bro Glyndŵr Male Voice Choirs, Côr Cytgan Clwyd and A5 Brass Quintet from NEW Sinfonia.

“The programme will include a selection of wartime songs and works by Barber, Kamen and Karl Jenkins.”

She added: “It’s going to be a very special festival this year. I’d encourage anyone who likes classical and contemporary music to get their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Tickets are available online, from Theatr Clwyd, Mold – 01352 701521 or Cathedral Frames, 28 High Street, St Asaph – 01745 582929. To find out more about the North Wales International Music Festival please visit www.nwimf.com.

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