Linlithgow Arts Guild hits half a century

Steven Osborne
Steven Osborne

Linlithgow-born international pianist Steven Osborne and his wife Jean Johnson will mark the start of Linlithgow Arts Guild’s 50th anniversary season later this month.

The couple will perform a programme of music for clarinet and piano at Linlithgow Academy Theatre on September 28.

This kicks off the arts guild’s 50th season, which includes a wide range of mainly classical music concerts, ranging from the Scottish Sinfonia Orchestra, to international soloists including the first UK winner of the international BBC Cardiff “Singer of the World” competition, and chamber music groups.

Linlithgow Arts Guild is a voluntary organisation, run by a committee of around 12 people. One of those volunteers, David Lunt, explained more about the group’s beginnings.

He said: “In 1968, Linlithgow Town Council, against the background of an art exhibition put on by Richard Demarco, organised a fortnight of culture in the town, led by Mrs Julia Wade.

“Distinguished exponents of the arts were invited. Robert Ponsonby, the then director of the Edinburgh Festival, was the music expert.

“During the course of the events, Robert Ponsonby said to Mrs Wade ‘Why don’t you start an Arts Guild in Linlithgow? You could invite the Scottish National Orchestra to give a concert here’. And that it what happened in 1969.

“Linlithgow Arts Guild has gone on to become one of the most successful music clubs in Scotland, and is still going strong 50 years later.

“The arts guild is a voluntary organisation, aimed at bringing excellence in the arts to the town.

“It currently has almost 200 season ticket holders (members) and puts on eight or nine events per year with visiting professional performers, many of international standing. The events are open to all of the community.”

Tickets for September 28 are available at www.LinlithgowArtsGuild.co.uk and from outlets in Linlithgow High Street including Far from the Madding Crowd, Linlithgow Post Office and Peterkin and Kidd. Tickets cost £16, U26 £6, free entry for school pupils.