I hope you have been keeping happy and healthy. It has been a strange old year, one that has caused many of us to think again about the things that really matter to us. And it’s been a real eye-opener to see just how high music stands in so many people’s appreciation of life, how much of an immediate comfort it has been, and what strength it has given us.
Reconsidering things is certainly something we have had to do a lot of at Baroque at the Edge. We’ve been through several sets of plans as rules, regulations and circumstances have altered over the past eight months, and they haven’t stopped changing yet! For instance, at one time we did think we would be able to have audiences at our concerts in LSO St Luke’s in January; now, for various reasons, we know that we cannot. But by embracing all these changes – which included a fair share of opportunities among the challenges – and by engaging in some lateral thinking we’ve come up with a new-style online festival for 2021 that we think will maintain our reputation for adventurous and original programming that shows baroque music in fascinating, revealing and uplifting new contexts.
With no audiences allowed this year, we’ve devised an all-online festival that retains all the variety and innovation you’d expect from us, while at the same reaching beyond the confines of the concert hall and right into your home. Six concert events will be filmed and broadcast in full on the web on 8-10 January, by artists including Rachel Podger working with two talented young performance poets; star guitarist Sean Shibe; synthesizer ensemble Art of Moog; the trio of tenor Nicholas Mulroy, lutenist Elizabeth Kenny and guitarist Toby Carr; and young artists Eliza Haskins (recorder) and Toril Azzalini-Machecler (percussion). The festival will end with a unique meeting of baroque and folk at the hands of David Bates’s acclaimed ensemble La Nuova Musica with soprano Lucy Crowe and folk musicians The Askew Sisters and John Dipper (whose mastery of the viola d’amore delighted us so much at BatE 2019).
In addition, some of our artists will be hosting specially created Zoom events designed to increase your involvement and bring you closer to the processes and ideas behind the music. And we are also proud to announce that we will be creating our own pop-up podcast station, during the festival and in the run-up to it, offering you even more new Baroque at the Edge experiences to enjoy at home.
We always said we were the no rules festival. Well now we’re no walls too!
Of course not the least of this year’s challenges has concerned finances. Having no physical audience has an obvious consequence, namely no ticket income. And while selling our events online instead enables us to claw some of that back, filming and broadcasting them inevitably incurs considerable extra costs. We’ve been fortunate to obtain funding from some of our usual sources – mainly relevant trusts, foundations and other grant-giving bodies – but raising the full amount of money needed to realise the 2021 festival has not been easy, and we’re not quite there yet.
If you would like to help us, a great way to do so is by becoming a Festival Friend. It’s also a good way of getting closer to the Festival and feeling a part of what we do. Click here for more information about the scheme. It certainly makes us feel good to have you as part of the festival community, but it’s also a great way to help us keep Baroque at the Edge, well, at the Edge!