Friday, 27 November 2009

Invite to a taste of the BALKANS!

Our friends at Aberdeen BALKANARAMA are putting a shout out to come and indulge in the sights, tastes and sounds of the Balkans.

Sounds pretty interesting - they are inviting anyone to "Come jump, sing, scream, cry and laugh, climb tables and dance the night away"!!!! Not just your average invite then (and not one that we at AIYF can refuse)!

Here's the details:

Saturday 28 November
@Lemon Tree, West North St, Aberdeen
7.30pm - late
Tickets £7 available from 01224 641122


* BLACK CAT - uber-energetic 10-piece playing maddest finest klezmer, gypsy and Balkan
* KUCHKE - polyphonic Balkan female choir
* Balkan Beats DJs, VJs, dances, early live jam session (starts early), free home-made rakija
and more.

We'll see you there!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

University of Aberdeen Music Prize Weekend: 20 - 22 Nov

The University of Aberdeen Music Prize is once again offering an exciting programme of events from 20th to 22nd November, many of which we will be presented in association with our friends at the Sound festival.

The University of Aberdeen Music Prize is a competition for aspiring new composers from around the world. The University has joined forces with the critically acclaimed BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Radio 3 to promote and encourage excellence in contemporary composition.

The weekend will feature a series of workshops and performances and, of course, the Music Prize itself which will be judged this year by distinguished international composer James MacMillan.

One competition finalist will be offered a £5,000 commission for a full orchestral piece to be performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

For more info on the weekends' events visit For a full programme and to book your free tickets, you can contact the University of Aberdeen Events Office on 01224 273874 or email

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

AIYF Wedding!

Congratulations to Anne and Ian Hingston who tied the knot on Saturday (17 October 2009).

It was a perfect Autumn afternoon as friends and family descended upon King's College Chapel, Old Aberdeen for a 3.30pm wedding. The ceremony reflected Iain and Anne's love of choral music as friends from the University's music department sung Anne down the aisle - a beautiful memory for all in attendance.

It was a 'knees up' affair at the evening's reception at the Palm Court. A fantastically unconventional ceilidh band had the crowd dancing the Dashing White Sergeant to the Ghostbusters theme tune, while another highlight saw the groom bombarded with people's shoes as he danced to Robbie Williams' 'Let me entertain you' - apparently a signature routine of Iain's.

In her former life as Anne Herbert, Mrs Hingston took on the mantle of Sponsor Liaison at this year's Festival. We would like to say a big thanks from all at AIYF to Anne for her help this year, and wish her all the best for her future with Iain.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

AIYF Singing Group - Starts October 2009

AIYF Singing Group
Starts Wed 28 October, Northfield Community Centre, 6-7pm

(Taster Session - Wed 7 October, Northfield Community Centre, 6-7.30pm)

Our new singing group for all abilities aims to introduce young people to music through a mix of games, singing and song-writing. It will meet at the Community Centre every Wednesday night, 6-7pm, from Wed 28 October onwards. It is for ages Primary 5 to Secondary 3.

And it's all free!

The Singing Group is led by 3 professionally trained music and singing tutors Jayne Carmichael, Amy Beth Smith and Christopher Barr. All are students or graduates of the University of Aberdeen Music Department and have worked with many local choirs and schools as well as the National Youth Choir of Scotland. They have all received disclosure checks enabling them to work with young people.

This follows from the 'Little Larks Take Flight' project that was carried out during this summer's Festival, in partnership with the Little Larks Music Company from Glasgow.

If you're interested, you can pick up your application form from the Community Centre or online here.

You can also come to our taster session on Wednesday 8 October, Northfield Community Centre, 6 - 7.30pm.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Dance Shows

Every year at AIYF a diverse range of talented dance groups take part, and this year is no exception! There is a variety of dance groups, from traditional to contemporary, and many taking part this year are performing in two Dance Shows on Tuesday and Wednesday the 4th and 5th of August, at the Aberdeen Arts Centre Theatre.

On Tuesday the 4th Ballet Prague, Happy feet (Norway), and Oxford Youth Dance will perform at 7pm at the Arts Centre, with an exciting programme including traditional classical ballet and contemporary dance, showing off these groups' energy, technique and talent.

Our second night of dance on Wednesday the 5th will consist of The National Dance company of the Bahamas, Royal Art Group Alkuone (Belgium) and Yu Dance, featuring dynamic flag dance and acrobatics, contemporary dance and lively choreography from talanted, passionate young dancers from Europe, The Carribean and China.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Festival in the City - It's here

We're taking over the City....

Join in the buzz this Sunday 2 August as AIYF entertains the City with a fantastic array of local and international talent.

The day's festivities kick off at 11am this Sunday 2 August from Harlaw Academy as hundreds of AIYF participants take part in the Tartan Day Parade.

From 12.30pm to 3.20pm, we will be showcasing AIYF's international talent alongside a host of local performers throughout Aberdeen City centre.
We will be in 8 stages throughout the city:

  • The Mall Trinity (outside Debenhams)
  • St Nicholas Kirk Yard
  • Union Terrace Gardens
  • Bandstand area at Mercat-Castlegate
  • Academy shopping centre courtyard
  • Provost Skene Garden
  • Golden Area at M&S
  • Upper Deck at St Nicholas Centre

This is a great way to see and hear what we have to offer at AIYF 2009. And it's free too!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Saturday 1st August

After a successful night of performances last night there are even more concerts and shows on today as part of the festival. There are two performances as part of our chamber music series (NESMS Colin Brockie & Richard Bailey at 11am, and Pure Brass at 3pm), both at the Cowdray Hall, and Scottish Youth Theatre's performance course at the Lemon Tree at 1pm. Project Y (Y Dance) & Oxford Youth Dance will also perform, with an exciting programme of new contemporary dance work, at the Lemon Tree at 8pm.

We have our 'Welcome to Scotland Concert', at 7.30pm at His Majesty's Theatre, celebrating Scotland's cultural heritage with exciting performances from Aberdeenshire Youth Theatre, a Canadian Steel Band, dancers from the Bahamas and a Norwegian choir, all hosted by AIYF's traditional big band Ceol Mor.

Get your tickets on the door at Cowdray Hall and the Lemon Tree, or from Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122 for HMT. Keep looking out for regular blog updates on what is happening in the festival and we hope to see you at some of these exciting concerts!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Festival has Started!

On Wednesday the 29th of July, the Aberdeen International Youth Festival had a fantastic start with a reception for staff and friends of the festival with brilliant performances by the Toronto All Stars, Nathan Zaake, YMT:UK, and Ruciteme-Culture at Zeste. The first shows also began with a performance of 'Our Scotland' by Aberdeenshire Youth Theatre at the Lemon Tree, after which everyone returned home to a fantastic Ceilidh at the Hillhead residence, with music from a ceilidh band and some very interesting takes on the traditional dances! Everyone had a great time and got to know a lot of different performers taking part in the festival.

Today (30th July) at 3.00pm there will be the Welcome Ceremony for the festival, at His Majesty's Theatre, with every participant country's national anthem played by the Noordhollands orchestra and represented by their national flag. It is a great chance to see everyone who is taking part and recognise the diversity of the festival.

Over the next few days the first performances will be taking place, with the Patrick Kunka Quartet performing at the Lemon Tree at 8.30pm on the 30th. On Friday the 31st there is a variety of performances including NESMS Colin Brockie & Richard Bailey as part of our chamber music series at 3.00pm at Queen's Cross Church, a Choral Evening at 7.30pm at Holburn West Church, and a concert by the Noordhollands Orchestra at 7.30pm at His Majesty's Theatre.

Also happening tomorrow night is a performance by Ceol Mor at 8.00pm at the Beach Ballroom. Ceol Mor will be performing new arrangements of traditional material for trad instruments, along with cello, piano, bass, drums and brass. It promises to be a great night, with a variety of interesting new compositions and some great music! Tickets are £10, £6 for friends and concessions so come along!

Keep looking out for further posts about future events and ticket offers, and we hope you enjoy any performances you go along to!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Shakespearean tragedy takes centre stage

Two young Scottish theatre companies are performing popular Shakespearean tragedy at the 2009 Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

Scotland’s national youth theatre, Scottish Youth Theatre, is staging a re-interpretation of Hamlet with a modern twist, which will see Shakespeare’s most infamous character played as a woman. Artistic Director, Mary McCluskey is no stranger to adapting Shakespeare and making the plays accessible to young people.

PACE Theatre Company, based in Paisley, will perform Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. First performed at PACE’s annual arts festival in Paisley, this abridged production of Shakespeare’s tragedy will be performed by 20 actors using the enduring themes raised in the play and applies them to young people today, creating an energetic and fast moving production.

Hamlet will be staged at the Lemon Tree on Monday August 3 at 8pm and Tuesday August 4 at 1pm.

Catch Romeo and Juliet at the Lemon Tree on Tuesday August 4 at 8pm and Wednesday August 5 at 3pm and 7pm. Romeo and Juliet will also tour to Aboyne Academy Theatre on Thursday August 6 at 7pm as part of the extended festival.

Tickets are priced £5 + booking fee and family tickets are available for just £16 (up to 4 people). Festival Pass is also available for £5 shows. For more information phone Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122 or online here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

An awfully big adventure - Peter Pan flies in to Aberdeen

A story of fear and enchantment, discovering a place that time has forgotten…the Scottish premiere of Youth Music Theatre’s (YMT) Peter Pan opens at Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

YMT bring their exhilarating musical version of Peter Pan - first developed in 2008 in Plymouth - to Aberdeen, returning this classic story to its powerful and magical roots and re-inventing it for the 21st century. Not a pantomime or bedtime story, but an unforgettable adventure that takes us from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Ewan Somers, 16, from Aberdeen, is in the production of 'Peter Pan'. He auditioned along with over 1400 young people around the UK and was cast in the show with just 30 other young people. Rehearsals start today in Aberdeen.

Performances at Aberdeen Arts Centre are on Sunday August 2 at 7pm and Monday August 3 at 3pm & 7pm. Tickets priced £5 +booking fee are available from Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122 or online here.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Jazz club...nice

We've got an exciting programme of Jazz coming up during AIYF this year, featuring participants from Norway to the USA.

Kicking things off at the Lemon Tree on Thursday 30th July, 8.30pm, are the Patrick Kunka quartet. The quartet formed at Boston's Berklee College of Music last year, and have received praise for their explosive and hard-swinging sound. Patrick is a drummer and composer from Aberdeen who was awarded a scholarship to Berklee at the age of 18. Whilst at Berklee, Patrick won a number of awards and also came runner-up in the Best Drummer category of the inaugural Scottish Jazz Awards in 2009. He is joined by fellow Scottish performers Alan Benzie and Leah Gough-Cooper on piano and sax respectively, and Dylan Coleman from the USA completes the line up on bass.

Get your tickets here or on 01224 641122 for the gig, or you can see them at Woodend Barn in Banchory on Saturday 1st August at 8pm (tickets available here or on 01330 825431), or in a relaxed dinner and cabaret setting at the Links Hotel, Montrose on Friday 31st July (tickets available here or on 01674 671000). They are not to be missed!

Groove Academy come to us from London, bringing with them an accessible and vibrant sound. Their mission is to empower young people to express themselves freely through music. They appear in a number of double bills with the Stavanger University Jazz Ensemble, whose creative multi-disciplinary learning environment makes them unique in Norway.

Catch these two groups at the Inverurie Acorn Centre, Wednesday 5th August at 7.30pm, at the Lemon Tree on Thursday 6th August at 8.30pm (tickets for both of these available here or on 01224 641122), or at Woodend Barn in Banchory on Friday 7th August at 8pm (tickets available on 01330 825431). You can also see Groove Academy alongside Bluestones, a Peterhead based songwriting and music development initiative, at Peterhead Community Centre on Tuesday 4th August at 7pm (tickets available on 01779 474373).

Last but not least are local group The Sideline Quartet, who join us on Sunday 2nd August, 12.30pm, at the Lemon Tree for a free lunchtime concert. With repertoire ranging from classic show standards to little known gems, there is something for everyone to enjoy here. Tickets available here or on 01224 641122.

Share the excitement - see something new.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

AIYF secures vital funding!

Aberdeen International Youth Festival has secured a hat-trick of funding worth over £21,000 from local businesses for this year’s event.

Local business Sangs of Banff is to sponsor the festival’s Lemon Tree theatre programme to a sum of £5,000 which will be matched by Arts & Business sponsor fund.

Shell UK has sponsored £4,000, to be matched by Arts & Business, towards a new project for AIYF “Little Larks Community Singing Project” to be held in Northfield, Aberdeen.

Little Larks is a new music and performance company made up of RSAMD students who will be working with local youngsters culminating in a public performance.

Union Square developments Ltd has pledged to support the AIYF extended festival to the sum of £2,500 which will be matched by the Arts & Business cash back fund.

The extended festival sees international performers tour to venues throughout Aberdeenshire.

Festival director Stewart Aitken said: “This is great news for the festival: we are delighted that local businesses have shown their support for the event in this difficult economic climate.

“The funding will see the festival being taken to new audiences and communities who may not have previously had the opportunity to be part of Aberdeen International Youth Festival.”

Arts & Business is a world leading membership network and consultancy with over 30 years of experience in fostering innovative partnerships between business and the arts.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Coming Soon...Theatre!

It's fewer than four weeks until the start of AIYF 2009, and things are hotting up! We're very excited about our programme, which you can browse at your leisure here. We've got a diverse programme of drama this year, featuring groups from Aberdeenshire to Zimbabwe, and largely sponsored by MacB.

Aberdeenshire Youth Theatre are presenting "Our Scotland" - their take on Homecoming year and all things Scottish, in the style of a TV magazine programme. Funded by the Aberdeenshire Council Homecoming Scotland 2009, we look forward to welcoming this exciting young group back to AIYF for the fourth time.

PACE Theatre Company is a vibrant and thriving arts organisation which runs the largest Youth Theatre in the UK with over 2000 members. They are bringing an abridged version of "Romeo and Juliet" to AIYF, which applies the enduring themes of this classic play to the youth of today.

Umkhathi Theatre Company make a welcome return to AIYF from Zimbabwe, with "African Tales". They will present an imaginative and powerful storytelling tradition through music, dance, song and theatre. Audiences were wowed by their energy and friendly enthusiasm on their last visit to Aberdeen.

Scottish Youth Theatre continue their long association with AIYF with a modern re-interpretation of "Hamlet", which sees the title role played by a woman! In addition, some of their senior members will be performing in a Burns' Ceilidh alongside other festival participants, and there will be a showcase of the results of their two week performance course.

Shell are sponsoring Youth Music Theatre:UK's production of "Peter Pan", which has been transformed into a musical. An unforgettable adventure which has been returned to its magical and powerful roots has also been re-invented for the 21st century, taking us from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

As you can see, there is something for everyone and all our tickets for the drama events are a bargain at £5! In addition, we have a festival pass available which gives you even greater value for money - see our programme for details.

Check back soon for information on the rest of our exciting programme - contemporary dance, song, orchestral music, ballet, chamber music, jazz and more!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Ceol Mor Auditions

Aberdeen International Youth Festival’s big band, is looking for musicians for this summer.
The band was established in 2006 as a project where young musicians, especially those interested in traditional music, could use their music skills to explore some of the new work that's currently being written, where composers are exploring the margins between traditional music, contemporary classical music and jazz. This year we are looking at band members exploring some of their own ideas in order to devise new work, and at some short pieces by Scottish jazz trumpeter, Colin Steele. The band’s Musical Director is Harris Playfair, with additional support from fiddler, violist and singer, Mairi Campbell.

There are places in the band for this summer, specifically for clarsach, pipes (especially Border or small pipes), cello, accordion, fiddle, trumpet, trombone, and drums/ percussion. We would like to invite young musicians aged between 16 and 25 to audition for the available places.

Auditions will be held in
Tiger Tiger, Shiprow, Aberdeen on Saturday 9th May 11a.m. – 4p.m.
Quaker Meeting House, Edinburgh on Saturday 16th May 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Applicants should be reasonably good readers, and have an interest in a wide range of music. The deadline for applications to audition is Friday 7th May for Aberdeen and Friday 14th May for Edinburgh.

The dates for this summer are 25 July to 1 August, 2009, with three gigs at the end of that week, and a possible additional performance in Edinburgh on 2 August. The cost of the week is £160 all in (accommodation and meals at Aberdeen University campus)

For more information contact Aberdeen International Youth Festival01224 213800 or visit the website: and click on the menu header Taking Part

Monday, 30 March 2009

Photo of the week

From Festival 2005, this gorgeous photo shows members of the Hong Kong Children's Choir taking part in the Festival Parade.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Festival News Update

We're pleased to annouce that we have confirmation from youth orchestras from the Netherlands (No-ordhollands Y.O.) Scotland (NYOS), and the Basque Region of Spain (Basque Y.O.).

The Festival’s own creation – the traditional music big band, Ceol Mor will be performing at the Beach Ballroom and at some venues outwith the city centre, and we will be having special Burns Celebrations as part of Homecoming Scotland, including winners of national Burns competitions, with Highland dancing, piping, and a theatrical exploration of The Enlightenment.

Theatre groups will include the highly-acclaimed Mitchell School of Drama from Inverurie, Youth Music Theatre UK, and Scottish Youth Theatre.

We'll be extending the chamber series after the success of last year, with a series of concerts as well as the Norman Cooper Chamber Music Competition.

All being well, we'll aslo be welcoming back the Toronto All Star Steel Band from Canada, and Happy Feet from Norway, the National Youth Choir of Scotland plus dance companies from Ghana and the Bahamas!