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Classical music | The Guardian
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The Glasgow-based extravaganza will feature more than 2,000 musicians at 17 venues over 18 days, with Calexico, Fairport Convention, Wilco, and Justin Townes Earle among the highlights

If there’s one thing that makes wintertime in Glasgow great then it’s Celtic Connections. Staged every January since 1994, the eclectic roots music festival directed by Capercaillie member Donald Shaw will this year welcome more than 2,000 musicians from around the world to participate in an 18-day programme at 17 venues city-wide from concert halls to clubs. The variety of styles represented in the lineup is as diverse as the roster is broad: traditional, folk, alt-folk, jazz, classical, rock, soul, indie, country, Americana, Afrobeat, electronica and countless global sounds, each coloured by geographic, linguistic and cultural nuances galore.

A world première commemorating a late Celtic Connections luminary will fittingly open proceedings in 2015. Newfoundland-born Scottish piper, violinist and Celtic fusion pioneer Martyn Bennett passed away from cancer a decade ago this month at the tragically young age of 33; Grit was his final album and in many ways his masterpiece – a dramatic juxtaposition of traditional folk singing with pounding electronic beats (he was too weak from illness to play his instruments so relied on synths and samples). Originally released in 2003, and recently introduced to a younger audience by the use of the track Blackbird in an epic Danny Macaskill mountain-biking video (27m YouTube views and counting), Grit has been specially reconstructed by violinist and composer Greg Lawson for a custom-designed orchestra of folk, jazz and classical players (15 January).

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Barbican, London
With top-notch soloists including Mark Padmore and Bernarda Fink, the performance had tremendous presence Continue reading...
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Wigmore Hall, London
The pianist’s recital of two of Schubert’s most searching sonatas on a 1820s fortepiano brought extraordinary illumination and revelations Continue reading...
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The bass-baritone answers our questions about his musical tastes on and off the concert platform

How do you listen to music most often?

Mostly at home.

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A new work from the experimental composer trusts in the players but risks leaving the audience behind

The Rest is Noise Festival: the 60s - reviews from the archive

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Ever dreamed of packing it all in and becoming an artist? Meet four people who prove it’s never too late to follow your heart – from the sociologist bagging poetry prizes in her 60s, to the surgeon wowing audiences at the National

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Royal Festival Hall, London
The SBSOV cranked up a Hispanic showstopper and some Mahler up loud, but both could have used more finesse Continue reading...
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Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
A scaled-down RLPO provided restrained backing for mezzo-soprano Gaia Petrone and her Vegas accessorising in a sensual stab at Handel’s oratorio
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Matthew Rose (bass), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
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Ann Hobson Pilot (harp), Lucia Lin (violin), JP Jofre (bandoneon)
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