Preparations have begun in earnest for our wind quintet trip to Orkney for the St Magnus Festival. We'll be making an excursion to Flotta for an afternoon recital on Tuesday 25th June - and recently heard that it's sold out! Our programme is as follows:

Carl Nielsen - Wind Quintet Op.43 A classic work for this combination of instruments. Nielsen wrote this piece for the Copenhagen Wind Quintet, with the intention of capturing each player's personality in the music.  

Modest Mussorgsky - selections from Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Lisa Portus) A familiar favourite, this piece was originally written for piano, and has been arranged for a number of different settings, including orchestra, brass band, and now wind quintet. The music is based on a number of paintings by the composer's friend, Viktor Hartmann, and, with its Promenade movements, 'walks' the listener around the exhibition in question.

Berio - Opus Number Zoo Now for something completely different... This piece is in four short movements, each capturing a scene reminiscent of a children's fable. "A fusion of wicked and whimsy", each player is required to narrate the music with monologue and rhythmic speech, telling the following animal tales: a barn dance between a fox and a chicken, a fawn listening to 'the cry of bombs...the scream of distant fields', a grey mouse mourning the loss of her youth, and a David and Goliath-style battle between two tomcats. 

Christopher Gough - Durham Scenes We'll finish the concert with a world premiere by our very talented horn player, Chris. This three movement piece is based on fairytale-themed pictures created by a friend for an exhibition in Durham this year.

As well as our public concert, we'll be visiting five community venues, delivering participatory performances for Live Music Now. Graeme (bassoonist extraordinaire) and I have an extra day in Orkney, for an additional project with Drake Music Scotland and St Magnus Festival. It features newly-composed music for local schoolchildren with additional support needs, who will be performing using Figurenotes notation, skoog and soundbeam technology. We'll be playing two pieces alongside the children, clarsach player Fiona Rutherford, and BBCSO trumpeter Martin Hurrell.

It's going to be an action-packed few days!