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  • Attend a range of excellent concerts from solo artists and chamber groups

  • Appreciate the 'outstanding acoustics' of some of the region’s most beautiful churches

  • Discover the history and culture of this beautiful ‘nook’ of Scotland, including Falkland Palace and Garden

“The festival was a great success, with splendid performances of a rich range of repertoire”

“I was most satisfied with my first experience with ACE”

- ACE customers on the 2023 East Neuk Festival with Michael Downes

Founded in 2004 on a strong belief “in the joy and power of live music and its potential to transform lives and life”, this superb event takes place annually to broad critical acclaim; while its ever-increasing audience appreciates the festival’s dedication to high quality performances alongside community projects and support for young artists. Attendees particularly enjoy the festival’s eclectic range of venues, including parish churches set in a landscape that is both historical and naturally stunning, from charming fishing villages to beguiling coastline.  


2024 will undoubtedly build on the success of previous occasions: earlier festivals have featured concerts with pianists Christian Zacharias and Elisabeth Leonskaja; while our 2023 tour included performances by cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, the Castalian and Belcea Quartets, and pianist Yeol Eum Son, building to a magnificent finale in St Andrews courtesy of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.


While music will be at the heart of the tour, select daytime excursions will allow us to explore local history and culture in more depth. In 2023 we visited romantic Kellie Castle with its 14th century foundations, Victorian interiors and fragrant Arts & Crafts garden; as well as Falkland Palace and Garden, one of Scotland’s most impressive Renaissance estates and home to a 16th century tennis court. We also hope to include local walks, weather depending. 


The calibre of the artists involved, together with the richness of the musical offering and surrounding cultural treasures, will undoubtedly make for a memorable, stimulating and immersive week in one of Scotland’s most beautiful regions.


This tour will be led by Michael Downes, MA, MPhil, DPhil. Michael is a conductor, lecturer and writer who has lectured for most of the UK’s leading opera companies and writes programme notes for organisations including Wigmore Hall and Snape Maltings. He collaborated with Nike Wagner, great-granddaughter of Richard, on the English version of her book about her family’s history, and he is currently writing books about Wagner and Elgar. Since 2008 Michael has occupied the post of Director of Music at the University of St Andrews, and recently led the University’s project to build the £15m Laidlaw Music Centre.


Michael writes:


“The coastline south of St Andrews is studded with some of Scotland’s most beautiful villages and small towns: Crail, St Monans, Anstruther and Pittenweem all have picturesque harbours, quirky high streets full of art galleries and restaurants, and historical, well-preserved churches. It was the genius of the East Neuk Festival when it began in 2004 to recognise the potential of these churches as venues for chamber music: many have outstanding acoustics, and all offer audiences the chance to interact with performers and with each other in an intimate and inspiring setting. Since then the festival has succeeded in attracting many of the world’s leading chamber musicians to perform in this remote corner of Fife, often with combinations of instruments and repertoire only presented here. I have lived in several of the East Neuk villages since moving to Scotland in 2008, and I now live right on the coastal path in Cellardyke. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share both my adopted home and some extraordinary music with visitors from ACE Cultural Tours.”

Tour Code

Full details, including the tour dates, cost, itinerary and musical programme, will be released early in 2024. Please click here to register your interest.

Included: Full details, including the tour dates, cost, itinerary and musical programme, will be released early in 2024. Please contact the ACE office now to register your interest.

Not Included:

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