University professor opens this year’s Aberdeen International Youth Festival

University professor opens this year’s Aberdeen International Youth Festival

The University of Aberdeen welcomed international performers from around the globe at the official opening of this year’s Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF).

Professor Albert Rodger, Vice-Principal, external affairs at the University of Aberdeen welcomed dignitaries, friends of the festival and youth festival performers at the event in Elphinstone Hall, King’s College on Thursday.

The official opening of the 10 day long festival, where more than 1,500 of the world’s top young classical jazz and traditional musicians as well as dancers, actors and opera singers are scheduled to appear, included recitals from some of the festival’s stars.

Young Romanian virtuoso violinist Dragos Manza played a series of pieces and Norwegian choir Stord Ungdomskor also performed.  One of the most accomplished ‘oud’ players in the world, Issa Mubarak al Najem, made an appearance playing haunting melodies on this rare traditional instrument from Bahrain.

Professor Rodger, who opened the festival for the first time in his official capacity as AIYF trustee representing the University, said: “There is a wonderful buzz about the place at what is traditionally a quiet time of year on campus.   It is a testament to the festival organisers, as well as its supporters, that such a high calibre of artists from across the globe are attracted to participate in the festival each year. 

“The official opening was an outstanding success and set the benchmark for the exciting programme of events on offer over the next 10 days.”

This year’s festival marks the 39th consecutive year for AIYF which has witnessed a surge in applications from groups and individuals keen to perform at one of the biggest celebrations of youth arts anywhere in the world.

AIYF festival director and chief executive, Stewart Aitken said: “This is another huge year for us and we are thrilled that so many of our international and national participants are so enthusiastic about taking part in the festival.  The official opening of the festival is the first of many top class events that we will deliver over the coming weeks and we are looking forward to another successful year of AIYF.”

In response to demand for tickets during the 2010 event organisers have rolled out this year’s programme to offer more performances during the day and in the evenings.  A brand new gala evening of musical theatre, held at His majesty’s Theatre on August 3, has been announced and a matinee performance of the festival’s most popular show, the International Variety Gala on August 6, has also been confirmed.  In addition there are many performances during the day and early afternoon specifically tailored for families.