Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Concerts on Cumbrae

Passed to me by a friend, here are details of some forthcoming concerts in the smallest cathedral in Britain. Well worth a visit if you're in the west of Scotland, and particularly if there's a concert on. From this point on it's copy and paste from what was sent to me so I take no responsibility for errors or misprints (as if I ever do anyway!)




A series of concerts at 3 p.m. throughout the summer.


July - Sundays at 3 p.m.

6 July

Jane Guy (contralto) Philip Button (violin)

David Mackie (piano)

This opening concert presents a delightful programme of the music of Gerard Francis Cobb (1838 – 1904) who wrote over one hundred songs, as well as church, chamber, choral and piano music.

13 July

Telemann Ensemble

A return visit from this exciting Glasgow-based group playing a varied programme of Baroque music.

20 July

David Hamilton (organ)

One of Scotland’s foremost organists, David Hamilton returns to play a thrilling recital of music by Buxtehude, Bach and Messaien.

27 July

Ronald Stevenson Society Concert

Members of the Society and friends, including Kevin Bowyer (harpsichord) and Jaoa Lima Duque (piano) give an important and extensive concert to celebrate the year of Ronald Stevenson’s 80th birthday.

N.B. This Recital is in two halves, each lasting about an hour, with donation programmes (price £5.00) available at the door.


August - Sundays at 3 p.m.

3 August

Frevo Quartet

Aisling Agnew (flute) Matthew McAllister (guitar)

Feargus Hetherington (violin) Douglas Whates (double bass)

A stimulating ensemble, playing music with Latin American influence, including Habaneras and Tangos.

10 August

Catriona Hetherington (cello)

An opportunity to hear this fine cellist in repertoire including Cassado and J.S. Bach. Listen to a solo cellist in the Cathedral’s fine acoustic.

17 August

Katharine Laurie Jones (soprano)

One of Scotland’s finest sopranos presents a programme of songs by Vaughan Williams, F.G. Scott and Thea Musgrave. Lots of anniversaries - Thea Musgrave is 80 this year, the other two both died 50 years ago.

24 August

Jonathan Cohen and Alastair Chisholm (2 pianos)

A concert in which Jonathan and Alastair will present a recital of Romantic 2-piano music, including works by Dvorak, Rachmaninoff and Barber.

31 August

Telemann Ensemble

A second concert by the Ensemble who will present cello and piano works by Beethoven and Brahms.


September/October - Sundays at 3 p.m.

7 September

Louise Jolly (violin) and Alastair Chisholm (piano)

Louise, an old friend of the Cathedral with a wonderful gift of communication through music, will give a recital of Scottish music including works by J.B. McEwen who was born in 1868 and died in 1948.

14 September

Andrew Johnston (piano)

A piano recital by this fine, young Scottish artist, including Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” in their original solo piano form

21 September

Gracioso String Quartet

A delightful programme of quartets by Beethoven and Dvorak (the ‘American’ quartet) mark the first visit by this splendid ensemble.

28 September

Pure Brass

A varied programme of music for brass performed by a quintet of fine, young musicians from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama

5 October

Flaxton Ensemble

A concert of Scottish music for wind quintet, including works by J.B. McEwen and Ronald Stevenson. A suitable concert to end the season, marking two of Scottish anniversaries.


Other Events

Friday 11 July at 4.00 p.m. (t.b.c.)

Cumbrae Cathedral Choir

Jonathan Cohen (organ)

To mark the arrival of an international group of Bishops to our Diocese, the Cathedral Choir will sing at Choral Evensong. All are welcome to attend this important event in the Cathedral’s life.

Friday 18 July at 7.45 p.m.

Special recital by

Helen Lothian (soprano) Francis Church (baritone)

In the first in our evening performances this season, these two outstanding singers perform a delightful programme of songs and duets.

(n.b. a late ferry returns to Largs after this recital)

Tuesday 26 August at 7.45 p.m.

Vaughan Williams Concert

A concert of music to mark the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death, including the song cycle “Songs of Travel”. This runs in conjunction with Vaughan Williams music break, for details apply to the College Warden on 01475 530353 or visit www.island-retreats.org

Thursday 28 August at 7.45 p.m.

1868 - the Scottish miracle year

A concert of music to mark the births of three outstanding musicians born in 1868 - MacCunn, McEwen and Lamond. This runs in conjunction with 1868 - Scottish Miracle Year music break, for details apply to the College Warden on 01475 530353 or visit www.island-retreats.org

Friday 12 September at 7.45 p.m.

James Campbell (violin)

An evening recital for solo violin by this talented young Scots player, including music by Telemann, Prokofiev, Ysaye and Paganini

Sunday 30 November at 3.00 p.m.

Advent Carol Service

Sunday 28 December at 3.00 p.m.

Festival of Lessons and Carols for Christmas



After a Cathedral concert, why not stay overnight in the attached College three star accommodation?

We also offer music mid-week breaks. Call for further information on 01475 530353 or visit www.island-retreats.org.

Cathedral of The Isles, College Street, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, KA28 0HE


The Cathedral and The Music Resources Fund.

The Cathedral of The Isles, Millport, is Britain’s smallest Cathedral and dates from 1851. It was built on ground owned by the Boyle family, and its founder, George Frederick Boyle, later became 6th Earl of Glasgow. It is one of a group of buildings comprising two residential buildings (colleges) and a collegiate church designed by the famous English architect William Butterfield. Planned as a theological college for the Scottish Episcopal Church, in its early days it was seen as a “new” Iona, and in 1876 it was consecrated Cathedral of the Isles.

From the beginning, music has played an important rĂ´le in worship there, and the Cathedral has a warm, resonant acoustic. Following an extensive fund raising campaign, an 1867 tracker action organ, built for the opening of All Saints’ Episcopal Church Edinburgh by Frederick Holt, was restored and installed into the Cathedral during 2004 by Wood of Huddersfield. Together with the recently restored 1897 Lipp piano and the 1976 “Cumbrae” harpsichord, this has transformed the Cathedral’s music.

Present-day musical activities in the Cathedral receive no subsidies, and the Cathedral Music Resources Fund has been established by the congregational Vestry to support the Cathedral’s music. The Fund’s main source of income is the retiring collection after each concert. Please give generously - the musical artists already have.

Millport, Isle of Cumbrae…

is easily reached from Largs. Take the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Largs Pier to Cumbrae Slip, then board the connecting bus to Millport. For the Cathedral, ask to be set down at College Street.

How to find the Cathedral

Many visitors seem unaware of the existence of our little Cathedral because it is situated among trees behind the town. To make your way there, find College Street, which runs at right angles to the seashore, between the Newton Bar and the Garrison grounds. Follow College Street up the gentle hill, past George Street (Church of Our Lady), and a little further on, you will find the entrance to the Cathedral grounds through an elaborate gateway on your right. If you need to bring a vehicle close to the Cathedral, ask directions from one of the shopkeepers.

Retiring collection at each concert in aid of the Cathedral Music Resources Fund

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