Festival Guide 2015
If you're looking for outstanding musical entertainment from all over the country, you've come to the right place.
The BBC Music Magazine Festivals Guide 2015 contains a wide range of classical music festivals to suit all tastes. Use the tabs below to find the perfect summer festival for you this year, whether you're in the UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world!
Simply click on the map locations to find out more about the year's most exciting festivals near you!
Use these filters to narrow down your selection.
1st - 4th of OCTOBER 2015
The sixth Arcadia Festival is in Leintwardine, Kingsland and Downton and this year has the theme Youth, Age and Love. Arcadia, this year extended to include film and poetry, is devised and directed by composer/pianist Eleanor Alberga and violinist Thomas Bowes and brings together what Christopher Morley of the Birmingham Post called a Œhand-picked bunch of world-class instrumentalists¹. Concerts in the historic 14th century Leintwardine church, its fellow Norman church in Kingsland, and in the delightful rural setting of Downton, will again bring superb musicianship and three compelling programmes to this ancient and beautiful part of Herefordshire. For more information on guest artists, our poet-in-residence Pele Cox and the poetry event 3:00 pm Saturday 3rd October at Aardvark Books, Brampton Bryan; the screening of ŒLate Quartet¹ 3:00 pm Friday 2nd October in Leintwardine and all other fringe events please go to: www.arcadiamusic.org.uk
Tickets: £15 each, two concerts for £25, three for £30 from Ludlow Assembly Rooms
17th July – 2nd August
Two weeks of inspiring performances in the many beautiful and historic venues in and around Ryedale, North Yorkshire. The 2015 festival has a Hungarian flavour, with an opening night that recreates the sights and sounds of Brahms’s favourite tavern, a complete cycle of Bartók’s string quartets and a new production of Lehar’s The Merry Widow. A 100th anniversary performance of Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil introduces a parallel theme of ‘night music’, which includes a complete cycle of Chopin’s Nocturnes over three candlelit concerts and famous night pieces by Bartok, Schoenberg, Mozart, Ravel, Tallis, Byrd, Britten and others.
Chamber music is at the heart of the festival with residencies from the Heath and Doric Quartets, and the Lendvai Trio. Orchestral highlights include concerts by Royal Northern Sinfonia and Orchestra of Opera North, while the Dunedin Consort bring an all-Bach programme to Scarborough, and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra promises an unmissable evening in Malton. Vocal highlights include performances by top choirs Ex Cathedra and Stile Antico, and Toby Spence joins artistic director Christopher Glynn for the premiere of a new English version of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin by Jeremy Sams.
The festival features eleven world premieres, including two by festival composer in residence Michael Berkeley. There is also the festival’s famous series of Coffee Concerts – which take place in the many beautiful country churches of the region – a series of literary events, a photographic exhibition, a series of free workshops for young and amateur musicians, and Ryedale500 – a new initiative to help more young people explore the festival.
Tel: 01751 475 777
The Stratford on Avon Music Festival has announced dates for its annual series of concerts as 9 – 24 October 2015.
The Festival showcases a diverse and extensive programme of internationally acclaimed artists alongside promising talent from classical, jazz, folk and world music backgrounds in a range of over 20 concerts held in both iconic and surprising venues around this celebrated and historic town
Amongst the artists and concerts, yet to be fully confirmed, are Eboracum Baroque, Laura van der Heijden (BBC Young Musician of the Year), Contemporary Consort and Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra. The Festival includes family concerts and activities, the ever-popular Lunchtime Series, free Buy-A-Beer events, Fringe Festival and works from Early Music to the present day performed by music legends to names of the future.
Four weekends / 10 events / June - August 2015 This season Plush Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special programme of music. Join a passionate audience to hear masterpieces including Schubert's String Quintet in C and Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, alongside modern and contemporary works by Scriabin, Adès and Kurtág. Concerts take place in the intimate venue of St Johns, surrounded by breathtaking views. Musicians include Sir András Schiff, Andy Sheppard Quartet, Imogen Cooper & Tim Horton (solo & four hand piano), Heath Quartet, Lawrence Power Trio with Simon Crawford-Phillips & Adrian Brendel, Emerging Artist Michael Petrov & many more.
Tel: 020 3286 1885
The Cambridge Summer Music Festival is the city’s annual festival of classical music offering outstanding musical performances in some of the city’s most historic buildings.
Booking is now open for our Spring Concerts as well as our popular series in Cambridgeshire villages, Music in Quiet Places.
The Spring Concerts present some delightful and varied music, including solo piano and song, orchestra and choir. We are pleased to offer a new date for the concert by Crispian Steele-Perkins and Anne Page which was postponed from last autumn.
In our Music in Quiet Places series four village churches – in Comberton, Whittlesford, Great Shelford and Girton – will play host to groups of musicians of exceptional quality and variety, including a flute and harp duo, a classical string quartet and two amazing trios with special missions to explore music from different eras and cultures.
27 Jul - 1 Aug
Now in its third year, Bristol Proms is back, continuing its tradition of inviting world-class artists to explore the classical repertoire in an informal, accessible atmosphere, and embracing the intimacy and unparalleled acoustics of Bristol Old Vic’s theatre.
This year’s line-up features today’s most celebrated performers including Daniel Hope, Milos Karadaglic and Alison Balsom, and sees the return of Bristol Proms favourites Sacconi Quartet, The Erebus Ensemble and Jonathan James.
Each evening, Bristol Old Vic’s atmospheric Paintshop will be transformed into a late night bar for an additional series of experimental events including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s The Night Shift.
To book tickets or for further information please see bristololdvic.org.uk/proms2015 or call our Box Office on 0117 987 7877.
Tel: 0117 987 7877
Scotland’s Festival of New Music
22 October – 9 November 2015
sound is an innovative festival of new music which brings together a wide range of musical styles in a variety of concerts, workshops, installations and talks across North East Scotland.
The opening weekend will showcase cross-artform collaborations in Scotland, including new commissions for new music and dance, theatre, and visual art.
The following weekend features a conference run in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, ‘New music, Beauty and the Sublime.’
Artists and composers set to feature at the 2015 festival include The Griffyn Ensemble, Red Note Ensemble, Primrose Piano Quartet, Ensemble Alternance, Leafcutter John, Ian Pace, Ian Wilson, Brian Irvine and more.
Venues throughout Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire
Tel: 01330 826526
Wednesday 24th June to Sunday 5th July
This year's festival offers an exciting programme on the theme of Leading Lights.
The varied classical music concerts include the Royal College of Music Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir performing Vivaldi, Purcell and Handel; harpsichordist Jane Chapman whose programme intersperses Inventions by Bach with contemporary pieces by Ligeti, Cage and a new commission from Diana Burrell; the Fieri Consort exploring 500 years of music on the theme of light; and recitals from Robert Houssart, Matthew Schellhorn, and Paula Sides with Jonathon Gale.
For further information about these and the wider programme of art, dance, spoken word, classical music, folk, roots and jazz please see our website. www.harwichfestival.co.uk
Tel: please see our website. www.harwichfestival.co.uk
Corbride Chamber Music Festival 7th- 9th August 2015-03-30 Concerts in St Andres Church to include Beethoven, op.95,96,97 Schubert Pianoi Quintet Trout Engligh Coffee Concert Brahms Clarient tri Saint Saens Septet Martinu La Revue de Cuisine Illustrated talk by Richard IWgmore on the Brahms lat clairent works
The shared enthusiasm of two men: Renaud Capuçon, a violinist of immense talent and Dominique Bluzet, Director of the Grand Théâtre de Provence, along with the support of Michel Lucas, President of the Crédit Mutuel-CIC bank, partner for the next five years, led to the creation of a major new event in the hear t of beautiful Provence : Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival.
The Easter Festival is set in the heart in Provence, Aix, where all is colour, music and sensation: the light of the sky, the golden stone of the facades, the transparent green of the fountains, the shade of the plane trees and an outstanding musical tradition...
Everything concurs to make Aix-en-Provence unique!
March 22nd – April 3rd
MusicFest International Music Festival and Summer School returns for another fantastic week of music from Saturday 25 July to Saturday 1 August 2015 in Aberystwyth on the beautiful Mid Wales coast. Over 40 concerts and recitals across the festival programme and as ever an inspirational line-up of internationally renowned musicians will be resident in Aberystwyth for the week, performing in the concerts and tutoring on the Summer School. MusicFest also includes an extensive Fringe programme offering free concerts and courses throughout the town. Highlights for 2015 include Tom Poster, Joanna Songi, Anne Denholm, David Campbell and Solem Quartet. www.facebook.com/AberMusicFest @MusicFestAber
Canterbury Festival is Kent’s International Arts Festival, hosting over 200 free and ticketed events including Music, Theatre & Dance, Comedy, Science, Exhibitions, Walks and Talks.
Canterbury Cathedral will host a performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor, a concert of Telemann and Handel performed by Tenor Ian Bostridge and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a Magna Carta inspired concert in the Cathedral’s Crypt and the Cathedral Nave will transform into a cinema for a screening of Murder in the Cathedral (1951). One handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy will perform Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand with the Kent Sinfonia, and there will be recitals from the Escher String Quartet and pianist Joseph Moog. Other music highlights include musical comedy from the MozART Group and Bowjangles, jazz with Kenny Ball Junior, folk with The Vagaband and rock with Texas.
Box office opens to the general public on Monday 3 August 2015.
Tel: 01227 452853
Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival is a 16-day multi-arts festival that celebrates music of all kinds from classical to world and jazz. Among this year’s highlights are Mahan Esfahani with a complete performance of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Klavier, Handel’s Israel in Egypt performed by La Nuova Musica in Salisbury Cathedral and the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Jaime Martín and Narek Hakhnazaryan. World music comes from Iranian sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat, Palestinian brothers Trio Joubran and seven-piece band She’Koyokh. One of Britain’s foremost saxophonists Andy Sheppard also makes an appearance.
Tel: 0845 241 9651
Date of Festival: 27th April – 1st May 2016
Founded in 1954 to be a dynamic force in developing choral music in Ireland, the Cork International Choral Festival is held annually over the five days preceding the first Monday in May. Cork welcomes choirs from across the world for a programme of Gala concerts, Schools Concerts, National and International Competitions, and world-class performances, as thousands of participants bring the city to life for a celebration of choral music in all its many forms! One of Europe’s premier international choral festivals, Cork is noted for its high standards, eclectic and wide-ranging programme, and the friendliness of its welcome.
Tel: +353 21 4215 125
16 – 31 October 2015 The fourteenth Oxford Lieder Festival builds on the tremendous success of last year’s ‘The Schubert Project’, once again bringing a glittering array of the world’s most exciting artists to Oxford in a diverse and enticing programme. This Festival will focus on the poets and poetry through which composers have been inspired to set music, with programmes devoted to Goethe, Heine, Housman, Verlaine and others. A lunchtime series features the complete songs of Gabriel Fauré, alongside chamber music, talks, masterclasses, workshops and more. Artists include: Sarah Connolly & Graham Johnson; Christoph Prégardien & Roger Vignoles; Wolfgang Holzmair & Imogen Cooper; Elizabeth Watts & Julius Drake; and many others.
Tel: 01865 600 540
7 - 16 August
Since its foundation in 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival has gathered many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city each August. For ten days, the city’s historic churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists.
The 42nd Festival begins on Friday 7 August, and the First Announcements of our 2015 programme are now on sale: DruidShakespeare, an epic new production from one of the world’s great theatre ensembles in a co-production with Lincoln Centre Festival in New York; Eternal Harmony: The Music of JS Bach, a unique series of 18 concerts exploring the great composer's timeless, life-affirming music and featuring great musicians from around the world including Les Arts Florissants & William Christie; and headline concerts by legendary performers such as Sir András Schiff and Jordi Savall.
Tel: +353 (0)56 776 3663
25th July- 1st August 2015
An 8 day festival of over 40 concerts, summer schools course and master classes in Aberystwyth Meyrick Alexander, David Campbell, Sigyn Fosnes, Guy Johnston, Orion Orchestra, Raphaela Papadakis, Tom Poster, Solem Quartest, The Session
The Malta International Music Festival & Competition 2015 will be held between 27th April and 10th May. The Festival is growing and developing every year. Last year’s participants hailed from 21 countries and this year we are expecting a further increase regarding international participants, as the number of events, concerts and master classes will be more than double of last year’s. Eighteen world renowned professors and musicians from leading international music conservatories will be in Malta, conducting master classes and performing concerts during the 13 days of the Festival. Classical music lovers will be treated with over 20 concerts at prominent venues in Malta and Gozo, followed by public performances of the four International Music Competitions for Piano, Strings, Wind Instruments and Chamber Ensembles. The Festival opens on 27th April at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta.
Tel: (+356) 777 27 222
Artistic Director, Nicholas Daniel writes: This year’s Festival celebrates one of the greatest examples of human achievement, Ludwig Van Beethoven, with a major survey of the variety and colour in his chamber music. I have placed him alongside great Romantic masterpieces by French/Belgian composers who would have been the first to acknowledge their debt to him. In many ways the huge waves of Romantic release found in the French works are a direct result of the explosive genius in Beethoven, which he always balanced with great Classical sensibility; they took all the restraints off that Beethoven maintained and the contrast is fascinating and satisfying.