Ripples by Shelagh Swanson, part of Our Bodies Imprint, the Nature Art Exhibition, Haddo Arts Festival 2017
Photographed by Simon Ovenden

The Haddo Arts Festival 2017 was a celebration of the old and the new, very much in keeping with the artistic tradition of Haddo House. This year, all of Haddo – the House, the Hall, and the Country Park – was part of the Festival, bringing different perspectives to the artistic experience.

From the traditional Opening Concert by the Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society under their new Musical Director, Dr Paul Tierney, to a new version of Puccini’s Tosca from some of Scotland’s top singers, the Festival was designed to offer the very best night out to as wide an audience as possible.

Over 120 pupils from Barthol Chapel, Tarves, Daviot, New Deer, Pitfour and Pitmedden primary schools worked withMcOpera, players from the Scottish Opera orchestra, on songs from Benjamin Britten’s song cycle ‘Friday Afternoons, written for his brother’s school choir. These were given a public performance during the Festival, accompanied by string players from Inverurie, Meldrum and Ellon Academies. The highlight of the evening was the first performance of A Song for Haddo, written by Moira Morrison from McOpera and all the pupils who took part.

Another new work specifically composed for the Festival was premiered at the Harvest Festival Service. Taken from a text attributed to St Columba, Altus Prosator was written by Dr Paul Tierney and sung publicly for the first time by the Choir of St Machar’s Cathedral.

Our Bodies’ Imprint, a collaboration between current and former students from Gray’s School of Art, was a series of installations across the Country Park. Seen by over 4000 people, these varied works were thought provoking, fun and encouraged the viewers’ participation in the artistic process. They were deliberately shown without interpretation by the artists, allowing the viewer to make decisions based on personal experience.

The Haddo Arts Festival continues to be part of EFFE (Europe for Festivals. Festivals for Europe), the festival community facilitated by the European Festivals Association, and hopes to work more closely with arts organisations across Europe in future.

Haddo Arts Festival 2017


  • Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society
  • Professor John Butt
  • Brodsky Quartet
  • Dr Bendor Grosvenor
  • Shelagh Swanson
  • Christina Dunwoodie
  • McOpera
  • Julian Tovey
  • Margaret Preston
  • North East of Scotland Music School
  • Dr Roger Williams
  • Aberdeenshire Schools
  • Lynn Bennet-Mackenzie
  • Christopher Black
  • Dr Paul Tierney
  • Julia Strehle-Lynch
  • The Choir of the Cathedral Church of St Machar