St Magnus Festival
Founded in 1977 by resident Orkney composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, this adventurous midsummer festival brings arts lovers to the 'mainland' of the Scottish archipelago - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - for a five-day feast of world-class music, theatre, dance, visual arts and literature.
Artists and companies as distinguished as André Previn, Evelyn Glennie, the Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Endellion Quartet have graced the programme at the St. Magnus Festival over the years, but the organisers are also active in commissioning up-and-coming young composers.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the festival's emphasis on participation by the local community, both adults and children, particularly in its Festival Chorus featuring about 100 Orkney singers.
The Orkney archipelago, comprising roughly 70 islands, of which 19 are inhabited, has a rich musical tradition and thriving small-scale crafts industries. Its vast beaches and soaring cliffs guarantee a wealth of bird- and sea-life, and the land is studded with Neolithic remains.
Highlights in 2012 included a midsummer opera gala performance of Carmen, a double-bill of Marc Neikrug's Through Roses and Peter Maxwell Davies's Miss Donnithorne's Maggot, featuring Alison Wells and Nicholas Isherwood, a poetry reading by Alice Oswald, a celebrity recital by Catherine Wyn-Rogers, and a free recital by the Arakaendar Bolivia Choir who will fill the Orkneys with the sound of their own South American folk music.
The 2013 programme will be available in March, with tickets going on sale in April.