The paper quotes Kirshbaum, an American cellist and head of the cello department at the Royal Northern College of Music in the northern English city, as saying that "Things have their time frame, and the festival has grown so much it's reaching saturation point." He added that the first festival "was meant to be a one-off."
This year's conclave, which concluded on May 6, featured such stars of the cello world as Yo-Yo Ma, Mikl‹s Per_nyi, Mischa Maisky and Natalia Gutman. For the first time, the festival focused on British music for the instrument, anchored by repertoire by Benjamin Britten. Works by Britten's teacher, Frank Bridge, were also performed, as were a number by living composers.
The BBC Philharmonic opened the MICF on May 2 with two U.K. premieres: Berceuse by Colin Matthews, with Raphael Wallfisch as soloist, and Anatolijus Senderovas's Concerto in Do, featuring cellist David Geringas. There were also master-classes, awards and a competition for makers of new cellos and bows.
The missing figure at this year's event was Mstislav Rostropovich, who had planned to attend until his illness made that impossible and who died on April 27. Kirshbaum told the Times that he didn't intend for the festival to turn into a wake, but, as Yo-Yo Ma told the paper, "There can scarcely be a cellist here, or anywhere, who wasn't affected by him. He was supreme. He was loved. He was a wake-up call for every one of us. You can't get away from that."