Lizzie returns to her roots

Picture by Bernado Borghetti

Derbyshire-born violinist and singer Lizzie Ball  – who has played with pop legends Jeff Beck and the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson  –  returns to her musical roots in Buxton International Festival in July.

Lizzie, who grew up in Hathersage and attended Lady Manners School in Bakewell, has played on stage with Rock and Roll’s royalty around the world and is a regular performer at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.

But her love of the classical music which underscores her internationally renowned style of fusing genres was formed growing up with Buxton Festival.

“It’s a festival I grew up with,” said Lizzie. “My first opera was in Buxton – Madame Butterfly – when I was 12.”

On July 14 she will be present a tribute to two of her jazz heroes which has been honed at  Ronnie Scott’s with the James Pearson Trio, whose piano is guaranteed to dazzle, followed the next day by Classical Kicks Live which merges jazz, world music, folk bluegrass and rock.

“I’m so excited that Buxton Festival has given me the chance to showcase what we have been doing at Ronnie Scott’s all these years,” said Lizzie, who was inspired by her jazz pianist father as well as  teachers at Lady Manners School in Bakewell and playing with the Derbyshire Youth Orchestra.

A degree in Music at Cambridge followed, but going to Nigel Kennedy concerts with her mum and an interest in all kinds of music led her to create a style which is in demand across the musical spectrum.

“I’ve never seen any reason not to include other styles in my performances,” she said.

“Rock music has always been like classical music because it is very epic, particularly Prog Rockers like Rick Wakeman, whom I’ve worked with.

“We are trying to reach out and connect with people who do not usually connect with classical music otherwise, or people who don’t know what to see. They hear it on the radio, but don’t know where to go.”

Converts – classical fans taking up blue grass or rockers rolling over to Beethoven – are frequent. “It happens all the time,” said Lizzie. “Things have changed immeasurably.”

The Buxton dates are a welcome homecoming for Lizzie in a hectic international schedule: “As a Derbyshire girl, I’m always thinking of ways to get back. We’ll make sure we have some fun.”

The tribute concert on July 14 is called The Reunion Project as it brings back together two giants of the British jazz scene: Stefan Grappelli the violinist who made the instrument a jazz staple, and George Shearing, the blind London boy who wrote jazz standards such as Lullaby of Birdland.

Lizzie Ball and The James Pearson Trio: The Reunion Project – A tribute to Stephane Grappelli and George Shearing, 7.30pm to 9.30pm, Pavilion Arts Centre, July 14.

Lizzie Ball: Classical Kicks Live, 9pm to 10.30pm, Pavilion Café, July 15.

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