Cantilena Festival Islay 19th season

The Cantilena Festival is a week of classical music concerts in venues throughout Islay. It consists a mix of professional players and young professional musicians who are senior students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). The Festival gives Islay the opportunity to hear live classical music and, just as important, gives these young people a chance to work and learn from experienced musicians. The concerts are informal and there’s always a chance to chat to the players and learn how passionate they are about their music.

Sunday 7 July sees the start of the Festival when the opening concert in the Columba Centre, Bowmore, will feature our professional players in works by Mozart, Schumann and Shostakovich. This is followed on Monday evening at Laphroaig Distillery and our Young Professionals’ Showcase. Come along and listen to our extremely talented young professional musicians from RCS show off their skills in a varied programme.

Tuesday evening’s concert in Lagavulin will include works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Rossini Mendelssohn, and little-heard Scots composer Thomas Erskine and features all the Cantilena players. Back in Columba on Wednesday, Daniel Silcock, a senior piano student at RCS will return to Islay to present a recital of Debussy’s Preludes. The second half of the evening will feature chamber music by Brahms and Beethoven. Continue reading....

Thursday’s concert at Ardbeg is sure to be popular, an all-Baroque evening with music from two of Bach’s sons, JC Bach & CPE Bach, Telemann and Handel. This concert features two young trumpet players from RCS and finishes with JS Bach’s glorious Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

The last night of the Festival will again take place in Bruichladdich Village Hall on Friday 12 July and features two works by Vivaldi, Puccini and Bartok . The second half will be our usual light-hearted Classical Ceilidh.

This year’s Festival is dedicated to the memory of Cantilena’s long-serving double-bassist Paul Marrion, who sadly passed away in June. All concerts start at 7.30 pm and all Islay residents and visitors will be made very welcome. Tickets are available from Celtic House in Bowmore or can be reserved in advance by emailing Tickets can be purchased at the door of our venues, but we cannot guarantee availability.

During the week Martine Nouet will host a Whisky Tasting and Music afternoon in Islay House. This will be on Wednesday 10 July 3.30 – 5pm and tickets are available from See the advert in the 6 July Ileach or visit

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