Llyr Williams

The Heath Quartet

Other Events






12 - 26 August 2011

Exciting new concert series this summer at Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk, Edinburgh

Greyfriars Kirk is delighted to announce an exciting new concert series taking place this summer.  For the first time, one of Edinburgh’s most famous churches, Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk, is the setting for epic performances of all of Beethoven String Quartets and Piano Sonatas.  From 12 - 26 August 2011, the acclaimed pianist Llŷr Williams and the outstanding Heath Quartet will perform the complete works over twenty-two concerts.

One of the UK’s finest, internationally acclaimed pianists, Llŷr Williams, gives twelve concerts of all Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. He combines the well and less-well known in each performance and begins his journey with the Pathétique and ends with the Hammerklavier, two of Beethoven’s most famous Piano Sonatas. Llŷr’s performance, understanding and approach of Beethoven has gained high critical praise and he is already well-known to Scottish audiences.  The piano cycle concerts take place at 5.45pm.  

The Heath Quartet, who are rapidly establishing themselves as one of the most outstanding quartets of their generation, give late night performances at 10.30pm over ten concerts.   Their journey opens and concludes with one of the late Quartets, Op 130, with the first concert featuring the revised final movement, and the final concert with the original Grosse Fuge movement which was published separately as Op.133.

Beethoven’s String Quartets and Piano Sonatas are awe-inspiring works, and are some of the most powerful compositions of their forms ever written.  Beethoven composed them throughout his life, reflecting his thought process over the years. The later piano sonatas and quartets are among the last music he wrote and present some of his most revolutionary musical ideas.  Indeed, whereas earlier compositions such as the Appassionata Sonata were instantly much admired by audiences of the day, some of Beethoven’s later sonatas and quartets were found very difficult but as time has moved on, they have emerged as among the most acclaimed musical masterpieces ever written.

Development and Operations Manager of Greyfriars Kirk, Steve Wilson, heads the project: “These Beethoven  Cycles are one of the most exciting series of concerts to take place at Greyfriars.  We are honoured not only to welcome performers of such high calibre but to present such magnificent music in our wonderful, historic setting so suited to music. The idea to promote our own concert programme during the Festival began in July last year and I am delighted for the input from my friend James Waters whose expertise in the classical genre has been invaluable in planning the programme. The income we hope to generate from promoting this concert series will go directly to support the inspiring work undertaken by the Kirk. We are extremely grateful to the Binks Trust for their support.” 

Greyfriars Kirk is an established music venue in Edinburgh, hosting some sixty to seventy concerts a year when it is hired as a venue by visiting orchestras, choirs and soloists.  The Beethoven concerts mark the first time in many years that Greyfriars has promoted its own concerts. The concerts are promoted by Greyfriars Outreach Ltd with support from the Binks Trust.

Greyfriars’ Visitor Centre attracts some twenty to twenty-five thousand local and international visitors a year.  Its rich heritage boasting such historic events as being the first church built in Edinburgh after the Reformation, the signing of the Deed of Convenant in 1638, and the display of an American flag that once hung in the Whitehouse.  The flag was gifted to the church and recalls that the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in the New World and the opening of Greyfriars took place on the same day: Christmas Day 1620.  One of its stories has become world-renowned and even the subject of a film:  Greyfriars Bobby, the little dog who waited by his master’s grave for years and whose statue sits opposite the church gates on the fountain Candlemaker’s Row.

Greyfriars is an active Church of Scotland, home to the congregation of Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland and stands on grounds that, from the 11th century, had belonged to the Franciscan convent in the Grassmarket, hence the name Greyfriars.


Beethoven Piano Sonatas: 5.45pm, Llŷr Williams

Fri 12 August              Op 2 No 1; Op 14 No 2; Op 13 Pathetique

Sat 13 August             Op 2 No 2; Op 79; Op 109

Mon 15 August           Op 2 No 3; Op 28 Pastoral

Tue 16 August             Op 10 Nos 1, 2 & 3   

Wed 17 August           Op 26; Op 49 No 2; Op 110

Thur 18 August           Op 22; Op 27 Nos 1 & 2

Fri 19 August              Op 31 No 1; Op 14 No 1; Op 101

Mon 22 August            Op 31 No 2; Op 53 Waldstein

Tue 23 August             Op 31 No 3; Op 49 No 1; Op 57

Wed 24 August            Op 81 Les Adieux; Op 78; Op 7

Thur 25 August            Op 54, Op 90, Op 111

Fri 26 August                Op. 106 Hammerklavier

Beethoven String Quartets: 10.30pm, The Heath Quartet

Fri 12 August              Op 130 in Bb

Sat 13 August             Op 18 No 1 in F; Op 127 Eb

Mon 15 August           Op 18 No 2 in G; Op 95 F minor

Tue 16 August             Op 18 No 3 in D; Op 74 in Eb

Thu 18 August             Op 132 in A minor

Fri 19 August              Op 18 No 4 in C minor; Op 59 No 3 in C major

Mon 22 August           Op 18 No 5 in A major; Op 59 No 2 in E minor

Tue 23 August             Op 18 No 6 in Bb; Op 59 No 1 in F

Thu 25 August             Op 131 C# minor; Op 135 in F

Fri 26 August              Op 130; Op 133




Each concert is approximately one hour long




20% discount for all 10 String Quartets or all 12 Piano Sonatas when you book before 1 May 2011

£14 for young people under 16


Queen’s Hall Box Office

85 - 89 Clerk Street

Edinburgh, EH8 9JG

0131 668 2019



Also available from the

Fringe Box Office from June 2011:

0131 226 0000




Greyfriars Tolbooth & Highland Kirk

Greyfriars Place

Edinburgh, EH1 2QQ



For additional press information:

Jane Nicolson

01475 689481

07887 500977