A chamber music festival in the Highlands is to celebrate Scotland’s native rainforests with a world premiere by a local composer.

This year’s Loch Shiel Festival takes place between May 1-5 in the rural communities around Loch Shiel, about 20 miles west of Fort William.

The festival is designed to bring together the communities around the loch by hosting outstanding and unique chamber music performances by leading musicians each year.

This year's event will feature a world premiere by local composer Lisa Robertson.

The piece, Ar Coilltean, for Gaelic children’s choir and ensemble, is a celebration of our local native woodlands and of our local community’s relationship with them, both historically and in the present day.

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Duncan Strachan, Artistic Director, said: “This year’s Loch Shiel Festival, called The Woods So Wild, is one of our most ambitious festivals to date, we are delighted to have been able to create a programme of events that truly celebrates and shines a light on our native woodland, bringing new music, collaborations and social events to the local community.

"In addition to musical performances, guided walks and talks from woodland experts, film screenings and food and drink, we bring together world-class artists and local schoolchildren this year to perform a newly commissioned piece of music by Lisa Robertson, which will have a really positive impact on the community.”

Lisa Robertson, composer, said: “The piece is a celebration of our local native woodlands, painting a musical picture of the intricacy and vibrancy of life found in within these woodlands, and highlighting their importance to us and to the planet. It also celebrates our local community’s connections to the woodlands, with words from 19th century Morvern bard, Dr. John McLachlan, 18th century local bard Alastiar McMhaistir Alastair, and local school children I have been working with on this new composition.” 

In addition to the new work by Robertson, the festival champions new music by composers and performers from Scotland, including a world premiere of Elise Haller-Shannon’s new work composed for the Scottish superstar percussionist, Colin Currie, as well as a new composition by the folk duo Chris Stout & Catriona McKay, the Maxwell Quartet, and pioneering brass duo Dopey Monkey.

Sitting alongside new compositions, will be music from throughout history which connects to the woodland theme, by composers including Henry Purcell, William Byrd, Felix Mendelssohn, Ralph Vaughan Williams and many more.

More information on the festival can be found at www.lochshielfestival.com