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Frederick Delius
Made in Bradford! Frederick Delius...

Delius comes home!

Some of the country's best-known classical musicians are coming to Bradford to take part in a major festival to celebrate the city's most famous musical son, Frederick Delius. And it's not just concerts!

The Lowdown...

Delius Inspired is in Bradford from July 1st to July 8th, 2006. For further information go to the Illuminate hotline on 0870 1602420. (The festival is part of Illuminate, a year long programme of events in Yorkshire).

Delius in Bradford, an exhibition of photos looking at Bradford when Delius was growing up, will be at Bradford Central Library throughout the Festival.

BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting almost every evening event throughout the Festival.

Composer Frederick Delius was born in Bradford in 1862. His father Julius Delius, a wool merchant, had moved from Bielfeld in Germany to Bradford which was then the capital of the world's wool trade. Julius' warehouse can still be seen in Peckover Street in the city's Little Germany quarter.

It is said the young Frederick, the fourth of 14 children, often roamed the moors around Bradford. It was also here that he learned to play both the violin and piano. Later in life he paid tribute to his father's love of music which permeated the family home. However, he was not so ready to follow his father's influence when it came to work. It was assumed that Frederick would join the family business but if he had he might never have left Bradford! Instead he secured his father's financial backing to run an orange grove in Florida. From there he went on to a career in music and never returned to live in Yorkshire.

Delius contracted syphilis and, even after he was both blind and completely paralysed, he continued to compose up to his death in 1934 thanks to the help of Eric Fenby, a young composer from Scarborough who took down the elder man's last works in dictation. Some of Fenby's work also feature in Bradford's Delius Festival.

Tasmin Little
Festival director Tasmin Little

Delius Inspired is the first ever week long festival to celebrate the composer's life, work and influence. It's been put together by renowned violinist and Delius interpreter Tasmin Little. Tasmin is no stranger to Bradford - the University has even named its Music Centre after her!

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's programme Midweek, Tasmin talked about Bradford's Delius celebration: "I can truly put my hand on my heart and say I'm looking forward to the whole thing. There was no way I was going to put together a festival I didn't want to go to myself because, if I didn't want to sit and listen to everything, there is no reason why anyone else would want to, but I absolutely love the fact that I've got pieces that are not often given an airing such as Delius' Sea Drift.

"We've got Eric Fenby's very witty overture Rossini On Ilkla Moor which is based on the famous Yorkshire song and I'm very much looking forward to that. We've got (cellist) Julian Lloyd Webber who is coming to play a recital, the wonderful soprano Yvonne Kenny is giving an evening of piano and song with Piers Lane and he will be playing some Percy Grainger who was a great friend of Delius. I'll be playing both the violin concertos and the double concerto. I'll also be playing the Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams which is one of my personal favourites. In addition to this we've got three films including a documentary I made in 1997 about the early part of Delius' life when I believe he fathered a child with a plantation worker and we've also got Ken Russell's film."

from film A Song of Summer
A Song of Summer: Ken Russell on Delius!

Russell, who has often been accused of sensationalism in his filmmaking, will be at Bradford's National Museum of Photography, Film and Television on July 5th to take part in a discussion celebrating Eric Fenby with Tasmin Little, Julian Lloyd Webber and Delius expert Lyndon Jenkins. There will also be a rare opportunity to see his film on Delius and Fenby, A Song of Summer, made for the BBC in the 1960s before he achieved notoriety as a film director.

All of the artists involved in the Festival will give concerts in Bradford schools and there will be a series of concerts in Bradford Cathedral.

But that's not all! Najma Akhtar will be at St George's Hall on July 2nd with her unique blend of modern jazz and Indian vocals and Delius' love for world music is also being marked at the Love Apple by a series of events kicking off with Disoriental, a cross cultural club night, continuing with jazz sessions and a dub-reggae 'back room party' and ending with the Delius Festival Party on Saturday July 8th.

As Tasmin Little says of Delius Inspired: "You name it, we've got it."

last updated: 29/06/06
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