Lawyer Meriel Schindler, politician Peter Hain, crime writer Sarah Ward and pianist Martin Roscoe star in Derbyshire’s weekend of culture

Authors will be talking about their latest books and musicians will be performing classical compositions, opera and jazz during a weekend of culture in a Derbyshire town.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 5:30 am
Meriel Schindler will be sharing her family history in a talk that covers two centuries, two world wars and a family business (photo: Holly Falconer).
Meriel Schindler will be sharing her family history in a talk that covers two centuries, two world wars and a family business (photo: Holly Falconer).

The Big BIF Weekend, which is a mini version of Buxton International Festival, takes place at the town’s Pavilion Arts Centre from October 15 to 16.

This year’s books programme features politician Peter Hain, crime writer Sarah Ward, author Azeem Azhar, lawyer Meriel Schindler and journalist Paul Mason.

The music programme includes the return of popular pianist Martin Roscoe, BIF’s Chamber Ensemble, the Corran Quartet, the Harewood Artists from English National Opera and jazz sensations XPQ (Xenopoulos, Price Quartet).

Novelist Sarah Ward will be discussing her crime thriller, The Quickening, which is set in a Nottinghamshire poorhouse.

Michael Williams, chief executive officer of Buxton International Festival, said: “The small but perfectly formed Big BIF Weekend offers visitors a snapshot of everything that’s great about BIF - world-class music and challenging, contemporary discussion rolled into one weekend. It’s possible to travel from the poorhouses of Nottingham to the Iraq War and from Liszt to Sonny Rollins without leaving your seat.”

The events begin on Friday, October 15, at 10am when Rhiannon (Sarah) Ward discusses her latest crime thriller, The Quickening, a gothic mystery which is set in a Nottinghamshire poorhouse. Azeem Azhar follows at 2pm with a discussiosn on whether humans can - and will - keep up with the power of technology. Peter Hain takes the hot seat at 4pm to discuss his biography, A Pretoria Boy: The Story of South Africa’s ‘Public Enemy Number One’ which reflects on his teenage years up growing up as the son of anti-apartheid activists in Pretoria to his front row seat as a politician weathering the Iraq War, Brexit and Covid-19.

An evening of opera and operetta follows at 7.30pm starring soprano Soraya Mafi and baritone Alex Otterburn, both members of English National Opera’s Harewood Artists scheme. They will be accompanied on the piano by festival artistic director, Adrian Kelly.

Pianist Martin Roscoe will kick-start proceedings on Saturday, October 16, at 10am with a programme which includes works by Liszt, Beethoven and Brahms.

Azeem Azhar will lead a discussion on whether human can keep up with the power of technology.

The BIF Chamber Ensemble: Corran Quartet, a young, London-based quartet follows at 12.30pm with two mighty Mendelssohn string quartets.

At 1pm, lawyer-turned-author Meriel Schindler unravels her family history, taking in two centuries, two world wars and a family business as she unravels the mysteries of the famous Café Schindler and its place in Jewish history. At 2.30pm, award-winning journalist Paul Mason looks for answers to the current rise in far-right nationalism – and to explore how the Covid-19 crisis might affect social, economic and geopolitical insecurities that often lead to extremism.

The weekend closes with The XPQ (The Xenopoulos, Price Quartet), when the award-winning band pays homage to some of the greatest historical guitar/saxophone collaborations such as Jim Hall/Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery/Johnny Griffin, Kenny Burrell/Stanley Turrentine, Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd and from the UK jazz scene Dave Cliff/Geoff Simkins and the legendary Morrissey/Mullen. This concert starts at 7.30pm.

To book tickets, go to www.buxtonfestival.co.uk

Pianist Martin Roscoe will play compositions by Liszt, Beethoven and Brahms.

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The BIF Chamber Ensemble: Corran Quartet will play two Mendelssohn string quartets.