We've been shortlisted for an award!

After a wonderful festival, we have some very exciting news to announce - The Tryst has been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society award, in the Concert Series and Events category! We shall find out the results on the 28 November, but we are incredibly grateful and honoured to be have been shortlisted regardless. A big thank you to our wonderful audiences, volunteers, staff team and supporters who make the Tryst the incredible meeting place for music that it is.

More information on the shortlist can be found here: https://royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk/rps_today/news/2019-rps-awards-shortlist-revealed


James MacMillan opens the sixth Cumnock Tryst festival revealing plans for year-round Music Club

At the opening concert of The Cumnock Tryst 2019, our Artistic Director and Founder Sir James MacMillan announced The Cumnock Tryst Music Club, resurrecting the former success of the much-loved Cumnock Music Club run by RD Hunter in years gone by. This new project will bring fantastic, world-class musicians to East Ayrshire year-round, not just during the festival weekend!

Commencing on 1 December this year, the Music Club will welcome the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Piano Quartet. It will then bring the guitarists Knox and Ion Duo on 18 January, Scots folk duo Hannah Rarity and Luc McNally on 21 February and the Hebrides Ensemble with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Voices on 28 March. The final concert of the season will see a very special trio from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra perform on 3 May in the splendor of Dumfries House, including their new Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev on piano.

Tickets for the Music Club go on sale on Monday 14 October online at thecumnocktryst.com/musicclub. They will also be available to purchase in person from Words of Wisdom in Cumnock, and on the door at each concert from 30 minutes before the start. Please check the website in advance for availability.

james at opening concert.jpg

Sax Ecosse on BBC Radio Scotland - Classics Unwrapped

Just in case you missed it, check out Sax Ecosse’s superb live session and interview with BBC Radio Scotland - Classics Unwrapped from last night.

Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0008pzs

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Don’t forget, you can catch them for free at the Festival Club at the Dumfries Arms in Cumnock next Friday!

Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Martin Docherty

The Cumnock Tryst is just 2 weeks away! As the excitement builds, we speak to Scottish actor Martin Docherty about his career and his involvement in the Flow Gently? project at this year’s festival.


Hi Martin, we’re so excited to have you involved in this year’s Cumnock Tryst. Could you tell us about your role at the festival?

At the festival I will be playing the part of Robert Burns, our greatest poet. As you well know he is Ayrshire's most famous man. Martin Travers is writing the script so you can be sure of some very funny and very poignant moments. It will be great playing the Bard in his own back yard.


Can you tell us a little bit about your career in acting? How did you get started and what have been some highlights?

I first started acting at the age of 10 in an amateur production of 'Oliver' in which I played ' The Artful Dodger', which was a sign of things to come and kind of fell in love with acting. I graduated from  the RSAMD in 1997 with the Silver medal. I then lived in London for six years before coming home in 2003. My experience is mostly in Theatre though over the last ten years been a lot more film and TV. I have in fact played every genre, feature film, short film, theatre, panto, radio, music video, green screen and even Opera! Last year Martin Travers and I wrote a one man show called 'Mcluckies Line' which toured round Scotland, in which I played 32 characters! There are two things that stand out which are related. Firstly, I played Tom Hanks’ Irish brother in a film called ' Cloud Atlas', a £72 million film also starring Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving, directed by the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). It was an incredible experience working with tremendous people. Secondly my friends came up with idea of making a documentary raising money for me to go to the premier of Cloud Atlas in LA. We raised five thousand pounds, went to LA and the documentary subsequently won a new talent bafta in 2015 - something I'm very proud of.


Why do you think the work of Robert Burns continues to resonate? Do you have a favourite work of his?

I think the work of Robert Burns still resonates today because Burns understood people, how they lived and worked etc. He was incredibly intelligent and perceptive, and in his writing people could see the world through his eyes. It wasn’t just people, as one of his most famous poems is 'To A Mouse'. He seemed to be in touch with nature and women were often his inspiration for some beautiful and romantic works. I also think he was ahead of his time – a great example of that is 'A Man's A Man', an extraordinary poem which I think is his masterpiece and my personal favourite.

Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Martin Travers

Flow Gently? is the culmination of a fascinating creative project involving Mr McFall’s Chamber, young composers from Auchinleck Academy, dancers and string players, four composers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the wonderful learning team at the Citizens Theatre. With less than a month to go until this incredibly exciting concert, we chatted to Martin Travers from Citizens Theatre to find out more about the project.


Hi Martin, what is your position at the Citizen’s Theatre and could you tell us a little bit about your involvement in this year’s Cumnock Tryst?

I am a member of the Citizens Theatre’s Learning Team and we have a long history of working with young people all over Scotland. I spend a lot of my time building projects and looking after budgets but occasionally take the lead on the creative side of things. As a professional playwright I love it when I get the chance to create new scripts and plays. I’ve spend a lot of time recently writing historical plays in Scots so when I was asked by The Cumnock Tryst if I would write a script for amazingly talented actor Martin Docherty to play Robert Burns I jumped at the chance! Martin will play Robert Burns nearing the end of his life reminiscing – directed by award winning director Guy Hollands. The new musical compositions from pupils from Auchinleck Academy will determine which parts of the Burns story we will focus on. So that’s really exciting for me, Martin and Guy.

You worked on the Chronicles of Cumnock project at Cumnock Academy at last year’s festival. How was that experience?

I worked with theatre maker Campbell Lawrie, composer Gillian Walker and some wonderfully talented pupils from Cumnock Academy on the Chronicles of Cumnock last year and it was an honour for us to celebrate the lives of local people who lived and died during the Great War. We rehearsed in our own wee bubble during the lead up to the performance so to see our young actors working alongside all the amazing young musicians, performers from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Hub at Dumfries House and professional composers and musicians was fantastic. It’s a project I’ll always think of fondly. The buzz afterwards in the audience was a sight to behold!

Why do you think projects such as Flow Gently? are important?

Anything that gives a platform to young people’s creativity is really important and The Cumnock Tryst are experts at working with young composers to help them bring their ideas to life. I’m really impressed by the way they put local young people at the heart of projects like Flow Gently?. The experience of having world class musicians play your music must be quite life changing for the young people involved. It’s a privilege to be part of showcasing so many world premiers of compositions about Robert Burns. Its going to be a brilliant event – and Martin Docherty as Burns is the cherry on the cake! Its going to be great.

Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Cappella Nova

With the Tryst now only a month away, we caught up with the wonderful early music choir Cappella Nova for a quick insight into what they have in store.

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Why do you think Capella Nova is so successful?

We started out as Scotland’s first professional vocal group dedicated to early music, particularly medieval and renaissance Scottish treasures that hadn’t been heard for hundreds of years. That’s our USP, but we’ve also become obsessed with new music and have commissioned and/or premiered more than 100 new works – including some now very famous ones like James MacMillan’s ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’.  Audiences relate to voices singing new (or very old) music in a really immediate way.  It’s our CDs that have made the greatest impact and I’m glad to say that we’ll be recording our fourth CD dedicated to music by James MacMillan immediately after the Tryst.


What can audiences expect from your appearance at this year’s Tryst?

Both of our ‘sides’ are featured in this year’s Tryst and we’re really honoured to be giving the world premiere of two marvellous works by Michael Murray.  We’re also thrilled to be working with Mr McFall’s Chamber – although we’ve shared the stage with most of Scotland’s leading instrumental ensembles this is an exciting first for us.  In our unaccompanied programme ‘Majesty’ we’re including some absolute favourite Scottish masterpieces from the 16th century, including glorious music by Robert Carver, and we hope that audiences will be delighted to hear how much fabulous creativity was going on in Scotland just before and after the Reformation.


Why do you think festivals like The Cumnock Tryst are important?

 The main thing is the way they bring music so often only accessible to people in big cities and so-called cultural centres out into the wider world.  There’s a great buzz about a festival like the Tryst – local people can take ownership of it and have opportunities to experience unusual and mind-expanding events without the hassle of travel.   We love the community strand in the Tryst and are looking forward enormously to leading a workshop open to all, this really chimes with our own philosophy.  Festivals like this bring a sense of pride and involvement to a community and also give a great boost to performers who feel that the whole things is so much less ‘anonymous’ than performing in big cities.

Festival Service Congregational Workshop

On Sunday 29th September, we'll be hosting a congregational workshop taking place at Cumnock Congregational Church.

It's open to anyone and will be led by Alan and Rebecca Tavener from Cappella Nova with the organist from the church, David Sullivan. It will be a chance to sing through the music in preparation for the Festival Service and get some singing direction from the Taveners!

The workshop will run from 3-4.30pm at Cumnock Congregational Church, 4 Auchinleck Road, Cumnock KA18 1AE.

We hope to see you there!

Cappella Nova

Cappella Nova

Chamber Music Week Concert in Cumnock

On Tuesday 10 September The Cumnock Tryst will be hosting a wonderful free chamber concert at Trinity Church in Cumnock as part of National Chamber Music Day.

GAIA are a new cello and violin duo comprised of violinist Katrina Lee and cellist Alice Allen, and will perform a concert called Lost and Found, featuring the works of unnamed female composers discovered within the archives of the National Libraries of Scotland. GAIA will perform bespoke arrangements of these 18th century works of art as well as sharing the stories behind them.

It’s a free concert thanks to the partnership between Enterprise Music Scotland and The Cumnock Tryst., and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some fantastic music in the run up to the festival in October.

The concert takes place on Tuesday 10 September 6.30pm-7.30pm at Trinity Church, Ayr Road, Cumnock. Tickets available at the door for free.

credit - Louise Mather

credit - Louise Mather

Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Steven Osborne

We are tremendously excited to welcome Scottish pianist Steven Osborne to the Cumnock Tryst this year to perform three Beethoven piano Sonatas - the first time the iconic composer’s work has ever been performed at the festival. We asked Steven a few questions about his life in music and what Beethoven’s work means to him.

credit - Ben Ealovega

credit - Ben Ealovega

Hi Steven, we are massively excited to have you at this year’s Tryst. Can you tell us about how your life in music started and some of your career highlights?

Ever since I could reach the piano keys as a toddler, I was inexorably drawn to the instrument; it really was a constant companion through my childhood. The biggest obvious career pushes were winning a couple of piano competitions in my 20s which got me some concerts; getting a good agent; starting a relationship with Hyperion records; and having the support especially of the Edinburgh Festival and the Wigmore Hall. In all of these cases, the trust those individuals in the organisations put in me was hugely important both for the development of my career and for my confidence in what I was doing. The highlight that really comes to mind is something that will never be surpassed for me - the first time I played at the Wigmore Hall. It was for a scholarship audition when I was 10. I’d never played a concert grand before, and the beauty of the very first note I played on that piano was such a shock that I almost stopped playing. Luckily for my scholarship chances, I didn’t.

What musical projects have you been working on recently?

I’m working towards a series of concerts of the complete Rachmaninov solo piano music. There’s rather a lot of it….

What does it mean to you to be playing The Cumnock Tryst this year?

It’s a wonderfully programmed festival, with a wide variety of music. I love being part of something like that which opens you up to different music, and also helps you to hear familiar pieces with fresh ears.

What can audiences expect from your set at the festival?

These three pieces are something really special. To me, it’s the pinnacle of piano music and yet there’s humour, vulgarity, and strangeness in them. The emotional range is huge, and the final sonata ends with such wisdom and beauty that I don’t find it surprising that Beethoven never wrote another sonata.

What does Beethoven’s music mean to you as a musician?

He’s the first composer I fell in love with (the Pastoral symphony! Still the happiest piece of music I know) and remains the composer whose music I would take to a desert island if forced to choose. That combination of raw, visceral emotion and deep intellectual engagement is something I find irresistible.

50% off Edinburgh International Festival Tickets for Cumnock Tryst Supporters

As the Edinburgh International Festival celebrates the works of our Artistic Director Sir James MacMillan it's offering Tryst supporters half price for the three Usher Hall concerts of his work! 

• Royal Scottish National Orchestra (10 Aug) details here: https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on/2019/rsno

• BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (17 Aug) details here: https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on/2019/bbcsso

• Scottish Chamber Orchestra (17 Aug) details here: https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on/2019/sco

Simply enter the promotional code MAC50 in the promo code box on the seat selection page before selecting your seats. 

The T & C's 📃
Tickets must be booked online at eif.co.uk.
Maximum of 2 tickets per concert per booker. Discount cannot be used with any other offer, is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.

© Hansvander Woerd

© Hansvander Woerd

Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Jay Capperauld

Local composer Jay Capperauld is a close friend of the Cumnock Tryst and has been involved in several of the festivals over the years, as well as being on the Board of Trustees. We caught up with him to find out what he has in store for audiences this year.

Jay Capperauld - Headshot 1.JPG

Can you tell us a little about your background in music and why you became a composer and a musician?

I am local to the area having lived in New Cumnock for most of my life. After taking up the Saxophone as part of my free instrumental tuition at Cumnock Academy as a teenager, I went on to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where I graduated with distinction in Performance and Composition. Since graduating I have composed music for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland as well as The Cumnock Tryst Festival among others.  I’ve always been drawn to music and find it difficult to express exactly why I became a composer, other than a compulsive feeling I have to write music – in other words, I have musical ideas in my head that I must see brought to life; at least on the page, if not in live performance.

Can you tell us a little more about your new compositions being performed at this year’s Festival?

This exciting new project for Saxophone, Piano and Film is called “Afterlife” which has been commissioned by the extraordinarily talented Saxophonist Lewis Banks, who will perform the hour-long work alongside the equally brilliant pianist Marianna Abrahamyan. The piece is inspired by David Eagleman’s short story cycle ‘Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives’, which comprises of several pieces that are based on a diverse range of scenarios in which humans might find themselves in the afterlife.  Lewis Banks has also commissioned a brand-new film by the Manchester-based Director Paul Wright which will seamlessly integrate with the music in order to capture the qualities of each short story, while pondering their intended meanings and otherworldly implications.

Why do you think the Cumnock Tryst is important for East Ayrshire?

The Cumnock Tryst is hugely important in that it is bringing communities together (locally and internationally) through music and live performance. The festival acts as a meeting place in many ways, in the sense that not only do upcoming and amateur musicians mingle with the some of the world’s greatest artists, but experienced concert goers and curious new listeners alike get the chance to share their interest and new-found love for music. In a time of diminished communal face-to-face interaction, it is arguable (if not already demonstrable) that festivals like The Cumnock Tryst are able to provide creative remedies and platforms for these much-needed shared experiences.  As a local, it is very encouraging to see East Ayrshire and Cumnock represented positively in this way on the international map as a meeting place for music.

As a friend of the Tryst for a few years now, what have been some of your highlights from previous festivals?

Without generalising too much, there really have been too many spectacular musical moments for me to recount in one answer. However, seeing the festival’s Patron Nicola Benedetti perform the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No.2 for Violin in an intimate setting at Dumfries House was a truly profound and transformative experience for me. As a composer, I always thrive on hearing the diverse range of new music that is programmed each year and seeing the festival’s continued support for new compositional voices is always energising.

Happy Birthday James MacMillan!

A massive happy birthday to our founder and Artistic Director James MacMillan!

There's lots of musical birthday celebrations happening throughout 2019, not to mention some surprises we have in store at the Tryst itself.

Some of the biggest celebrations include several events at this years Edinburgh International Festival in a couple of weeks! Five concerts will highlight his life and work including the world premiere of his Fifth Symphony, a special concert in Greyfriars Kirk and a performance of Symphony No 2 conducted by the man himself.

Tickets and more details are available over at: https://www.eif.co.uk/…/celebrating-sir-james-macmillan-at-…

Edinburgh International Festival put together this great interview with James reflecting on his work and career thus far.

South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2019

The Tryst team were in London yesterday for the South Bank Sky Arts Awards following our nomination for the Classical Music prize. Sadly we didn't come away with the trophy, but a massive congratulations to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for their well-deserved win for the wonderful work they do with the Debussy Festival! 🤩🍾

It was such an honour to be nominated alongside so many fantastic arts organisations and we had a wonderful afternoon at the ceremony. The awards will be broadcast in full on Wednesday on the Sky Arts channel at 8pm - tune in and you might see some familiar Tryst faces!


Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Michael Murray

Our latest artist Q & A is with a great friend of the Tryst, local Auchinleck composer Michael Murray. He tells us a little more about what the festival means to him and what he has planned for this year’s event.

Left - Right: Sean Shibe, Michael Murray, Sir James MacMillan. Credt - Robin Mitchell

Left - Right: Sean Shibe, Michael Murray, Sir James MacMillan. Credt - Robin Mitchell

As a local musician and composer, what does it mean to you to have an event like the Tryst in your home town?

As a composer the Tryst is a very special annual event. I get to meet and talk to fellow composers with a true sense of community spirit, all thanks to the fantastic team behind the festival. Mostly, however, as a music fan I get excited whenever I read the words “world premiere” on a programme (and not just my own music). To be at a performance of a new work is thrilling and it is one of the Cumnock Tryst’s core values to celebrate the composer as well as the musicians

Having had work premiered at the Tryst before, how has the festival impacted your musical career?

With the friends I have made through the Tryst and from the great advice I always receive from Sir Jimmy, opportunities and experiences have opened up for me that I wouldn't have believed possible. If you would have told me years ago that I would be going to America to attend a premiere of my music I wouldn't have believed you, but not only has it come true, I also have more music to come elsewhere and its all thanks to the Tryst festival and team.

You have a world premiere of new commissions at the Tryst this year – what can audiences expect from the pieces?

To be asked to write for the Tryst again was a great honour. The two works I have written are true collaborations, with fellow festival friend and poet Steven Ferguson. Steven studied violin and has strong musical views, so when it came to his poems he created them musically which forced me to compose poetically. So without wanting to sound too “arty-farty”, in the bigger work “Last Fantasy” the instruments become characters within the story so the audience should listen out for the dialogue. Meanwhile the short work is what I would describe as a short oratorio, entitled “Shades Psalms”. All I am going to say is, expect the unexpected.

Michael’s new commissions will be premiered at the opening concert of The Cumnock Tryst with Mr McFall’s Chamber and Cappella Nova. More details and tickets are here: www.thecumnocktryst.com/mr-mcfalls-chamber-and-cappella-nova