Festival Favourite Opens Harrogate International Sunday Series This Month

Clarinet virtuoso Robert Plane, leading light of Harrogate Music Festival’s Summer Residency, is set to return by popular demand on 28 January to open the 30th Harrogate International Sunday Series.

Produced by Harrogate International Festivals and staged at The Old Swan Hotel, the Sunday Series is an annual fixture in the spa town’s classical music calendar and features the chamber music world’s brightest stars.

Plane will be joined by his frequent collaborator, leading British pianist Tim Horton. Their rich and varied programme features 20th century and contemporary composers, with Brahm’s great masterpiece, Sonata in F minor, providing a timeless anchor to the recital.

From the Caribbean rhythms and Latin jazz influences found in works by Paquito D’Rivera and Eleanor Alberga to the folkloric trends of Witold Lutosławski’s post-war communist Poland, Plane likes to mix classics with new discoveries in his programmes.

Plane said, “I’ve loved the general move to more diverse programmes which has been a huge positive of recent times. This has encouraged me to explore works like the Eleanor Alberga and Paquito D’Rivera pieces.

“Our programme also reflects my love of British music from the early 20th century, and in particular my research into the work of Pamela Harrison, totally unknown these days but finally being heard again in the concert hall.”

Plane discovered his love of music at school through playing in a recorder group and initially wanted to play the flute, but switched to the clarinet after discovering the flute’s method of sound production made him dizzy. He describes the clarinet chamber repertoire as “wonderful” and “unparalleled in terms of wind instruments” and believes improving access to music in schools is key to the future of classical music.

Plane said, “Music is so important to introvert-inclined kids in schools and the current lack of provision and opportunity is a tragedy… Playing an instrument has become a thing of incredible privilege, and certainly something that someone with my background wouldn’t have had access to.”

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “Robert Plane brings a programme that is a testament to the rich tapestry of 20th-century and contemporary works, exploring different cultural influences and compositional styles.”

We are delighted to open the 30th year of the Sunday Series with such a distinguished artist, and we believe that this recital will set the tone for a memorable and musically enriching series.”

To help make classical music more accessible to new generations of audiences, tickets for under 35s will be priced at just £5 for Sunday Series concerts, and a discount of 10% is available to those booking a series subscription for all five concerts up until 28 January.

Tickets are available to book online from the Harrogate International Festivals website here or via the Box Office on 01423 562303.