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About Us

When the Thewes family started restoring the 18th century farm buildings at Strathgarry House in 1988 - turning the ground floor space into a large hall for concerts - we had no idea that we would be creating something that would go from strength to strength during the succeeding years. And now - since the sale of Strathgarry in 2008 we give concerts between Blair Castle and the Village Hall in Blair Atholl.

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Our first concerts were for a number of charities and were so successful that, in 1991, we decided to create a Summer Festival of Chamber Music and became ourselves a charity.

Our aims, both then and now, were:

  • To establish an annual series of concerts and recitals aimed at providing both local & visiting audiences with top quality performances by both U.K. and foreign artists and ensembles.

  • To open many rehearsals to the public and to schools, and with this informality to remove artist/audience barriers.

  • To encourage master classes where appropriate.

  • To employ both British and foreign artists who may not necessarily have major careers in the U.K., to reward fully rather than exploit their talents, and to help establish them.

In 1990 we were approached by the John Tunnell Trust to host an advanced course for wind studies, master classes and concerts to be held in early November 1991 under the tutelage of William Bennett (flute), Neil Black (oboe), Thea King (clarinet) and Clifford Benson (piano). These now take place on the Island of Coll under the name of the Tunnell Trust for Young Musicians.

In 1995 we began holding masterclasses during the Spring half term with the children of the Yehudi Menuhin School. During the week local schools were (and still are) invited for afternoon concerts, and Yehudi Menuhin became our Patron. His foreword in our 1996 Summer Festival Programme read as follows:

"We are so accustomed in our day to think of big as more effective than small that we are inclined to forget that it is the small which reproduces itself far more readily, far more quickly and far more satisfactorily than the big, which is unwieldy and whose mission it can only be to control the small. The sixth Summer Music Festival at Strathgarry is one such shining example of an effort which should find its echoes throughout the land."

Since we started, we have been grateful to all our supporters as well as the press, who have given us many favourable reviews:

  • "Musical jewel off the A9"- The Scotsman - 14/7/92

  • "Fine festival with a party atmosphere" - The Scotsman - 28/6/93

  • "Small and perfectly musical" - The Sunday Times - 6/7/97

  • "Perthshire’s best-kept secret" - Scotland on Sunday - 5/7/98

  • "Scotland’s most intimate and engaging classical music venue" - Perthshire Advertiser - 19/6/98