See the pdf version of the programme below or download here

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It is my pleasure to bring you the programme for the 2017 Festival and once again, safely past our 40th year, we continue to bring a feast of wonderful events to the beginning of summer in Orkney.

"This year is a significant year in Scotland as we celebrate the History, Heritage and Archaeology of the country, all of which are in abundance in Orkney. We also commemorate St Magnus, the Norwegian Earl, saint and martyr and the anniversary of his death 900 years ago. As part of this we will be celebrating links old and new with Norway. We have the first visit of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Bergen Cathedral Choir as well a return visit from the Trondheim Soloists. We’re joined by international knitting celebrities Arne and Carlos, back again by popular demand. Homegrown talent, Gemma McGregor and Ron Ferguson, bring a significant centerpiece to the Magnus celebrations with a new work mixing the local community with professional performers and telling the story of Magnus. This performance will precede a large-scale exuberant street parade through Kirkwall involving hundreds of children from Orkney and with a giant-sized St Magnus leading the way.

"The BBC Singers return to perform in a large-scale collaboration with Olavsfestdagene in Trondheim, which takes the idea of pilgrimage, homelessness, and migration as its theme. There’s more choral and vocal music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, early music from Mhairi Lawson and Elizabeth Kenny, and new works from Alison McNeill and Sasha Savaloni.

"Steven Osborne is back again in Orkney after some years to play the new Steinway piano that he helped to choose and to join the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for a performance of Ravel’s lyrical Piano Concerto in G, whilst the Gildas and Edinburgh Quartets give us a feast of quartet music before joining together for an evening of octets and quartets. The Assembly Project returns as the Courses Ensemble and performs the winning entries in the Composers’ Competition celebrating the Hymn to St Magnus.

"There are new works and world premières aplenty across the programme as well as Excursion concerts and Island concerts that spread the Festival across the Orkney landscape.

"Our Festival Club celebrates the exciting birth of a new venue in Orkney, The Sound Archive, which promises to be a fantastic place to meet for coffee, food, beer and entertainment.

"With such a varied array of performers it promises to be another year of exciting midsummer days. I look forward to welcoming you in June."

Alasdair Nicolson


Supported by

In partnership with


Orkney's own St Magnus Festival Chorus and Mayfield Singers (both impeccably drilled) in a big, bold, enthusiastic account of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast.
The Telegraph

St Magnus International Festival, 13 Albert Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HP

T: +44 (0)1856 871445


St Magnus Festival is a charity registered in Scotland. Scottish Charity No SC011666. Company Number SC073825.

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