It’s with great pleasure that we welcome you to this year’s summer festival guide! 2022 was the first season in three years to return to full-capacity events following the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite new financial pressures and straitened budgets, 2023 looks set to build even further on that sense of joy and exhilaration at live music-making.


And so, we look forward to this season’s festival offering with huge anticipation. Please do get in touch to share your own experiences over the wonderful months ahead.

Charlotte Smith Editor

The UK's best classical music festivals


Brighton Festival

6-28 May

For over half a century, the south coast festival has been turning heads with a mixture of sheer ambition and chutzpah. Since 2009, it has invited guest directors, and in the shadow of Anish Kapoor, Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson comes Nabihah Iqbal and her 2023 motto ‘Gather Round’. With 609 performances in total there’s plenty of gathering to be done.

Conductor François-Xavier Roth, the London Symphony Orchestra and Yuja Wang collaborate on Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 3; the Takács Quartet promises Pärt at Glyndebourne; and Brighton-born Frank Bridge is included in an English programme from the Festival Chorus and Britten Sinfonia which also premieres a new work by Joseph Phibbs.

London Festival of Baroque Music

St John’s Smith Square, London,

12-20 May

In the first twist of the kaleidoscope – the festival’s 2023 theme – Albert Recasens’s La Grande Chapelle focuses on 17th-century Spain and the music of the great Madrileño Juan Hidalgo. L’Apothéose heads for the Madrid Court half a century later, and there’s more Spanish Baroquerie from Concerto 1700 and the vihuela and Baroque guitar of José Miguel Moreno.

But other nationalities apply! Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu lingers in France; Bach, Telemann, and Handel shake hands with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; and Steven Devine issues a threefold invitation to ‘Meet the Harpsichord’.

Bath Festival

12-21 May

Yehudi Menuhin, Michael Tippett and pianist Joanna MacGregor are among past artistic directors who have left their mark on a festival that has been enlivening the honey-coloured Georgian city for three quarters of a century.

In this 75th anniversary year, the resurrected Festival Orchestra teams up with Bath Camerata for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem; there’s high-octane John Adams and Jonathan Dove; five-part Byrd from Siglo de Oro; and the opening night party colonises the city’s streets.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival

12-28 May

It’s not every string quartet whose repertoire includes Beethoven and Kate Bush, but the resident Solem Quartet isn’t afraid of countering expectations.

Across three concerts, it premieres works by Bushra El-Turk and Edmund Finnis, and decamps to the Spiegeltent for late-night Steve Reich.

Music has always been at the heart of Norfolk and Norwich – it started life in 1772 with a benefit concert – and it doesn’t play safe. 12 Ensemble and GBSR Duo premiere Laurence Osborn’s tombeau-inspired Tomb; Britten Sinfonia is conquering ‘Musical Everests’; and the Hallé orchestra bookends Missy Mazzoli with Rachmaninov and Dvořák.

Chiltern Arts Festival

13-20 May

Great Missenden to Wycombe Abbey and Henley-on-Thames, the festival dispenses its artistic largesse across the Chilterns and proposes a contemplation of ‘Love, Loss, and the Passage of Time’. Soprano Rowan Pierce and tenor Ed Lyon create a Shakespearean Songbook under the gaze of Byrd and Morley, Vaughan Williams and Finzi; in Dorchester Abbey Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil lends a sonorous glow; and guitarist Craig Ogden takes on Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and Falla.

Stamford International Music Festival

18-20 May

Under the leadership of violinist Freya Goldmark, the chamber music festival has expanded to include a winter edition as well as one-off recitals.

Its morning coffee concert with Mozart is answered by late-night Messiaen; and Messiaen features in the opening concert alongside Adès’s Court Studies from The Tempest. The middle day, meanwhile, migrates from Ligeti to a French evening culminating in Chausson’s Concert for Violin, Piano and String Quartet.

Perth Arts Festival

18-27 May

It’s not just ArTay’s tented exhibition of contemporary Scottish art that’s flying the Saltire at this year’s Perth Festival – the customary excursion into opera falls to Scots Opera Project’s revival of The Seal-Woman, a Celtic folk opera by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Granville Bantock.

Vocal ensemble The Marian Consort is on a 500-year quest in search of ‘A Winged Woman’; and should the visiting Estonian National Symphony Orchestra require any guidance, ‘An A-Z of Orchestral Triangle Playing’ obliges!


Lewes, Sussex

19 May – 27 August

It started life nigh on nine decades ago as a ‘house for Mozart’, and to the philandering Don Giovanni falls the first night of Glyndebourne 2023. The Don receives a new production by Mariame Clément with Evan Rogister, the principal conductor of Washington National Opera, in the pit. And Mozart’s nobleman isn’t the only reprobate bestriding the East Sussex stage.

Designed by David Hockney, John Cox’s venerable 1975 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress returns, conducted by Glyndebourne’s music director Robin Ticciati. Lockdown put paid to its intended revival in 2020, and another refugee from that ill-starred summer, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites – also conducted by Ticciati – is finally welcomed into the fold.

A Glyndebourne first, it includes Sally Matthews as the redoubtable Blanche de la Force. Completing the line-up are Handel’s Semele, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and another Glyndebourne classic: Peter Hall’s 1981 staging of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

English Music Festival


26-29 May

There are world premieres aplenty as the English Music Festival unfolds its latest incarnation in leafy Oxfordshire. Dorchester Abbey shoulders most of the concerts, but there are excursions to Radley College and Sutton Courtenay’s All Saints’ Church. Raphael Wallfisch is the soloist in Moeran’s Cello Concerto as Martin Yates leads the BBC Concert Orchestra through first night Alwyn, Delius and Vaughan Williams; soprano Sara Stowe celebrates the finely crafted charms of Walter Leigh; and guitarist Fábio Fernandes dallies with Dowland.

Swaledale Festival

North Yorkshire

27 May -10 June

Swaledale 2023 is focusing on place and community – something etched into the stones of its ancient churches and well-trodden footpaths. ‘Astronomy on Reeth Green’ trains a telescope on the night skies, but there are stars to be experienced closer to home. Natalie Clein wraps Britten, Taverner and Deborah Pritchard around two of Bach’s solo cello suites; in Arkengarthdale, the Ligeti Quartet celebrates its namesake; and violist-composer Brett Dean multi-tasks with a new work for mezzo and viola.

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Longborough Festival Opera

Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire

29 May – 3 August

Perhaps it’s stretching a point to dub Longborough the Cotswolds’ answer to Bayreuth, but with 2023’s Götterdämmerung in prospect, the last link of the festival’s second complete Wagner Ring cycle is forged – all four operas to be brought together next summer. And in conductor Anthony Negus it boasts the services of arguably the UK’s finest Wagnerian.

With the period instruments of La Serenissima underpinning Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, a new arrangement of Purcell’s semi-opera The Fairy Queen and the uncorking of Donizetti’s L’élisir d’amore, it’s not just fans of Wagner destined for a treat.

Opera Holland Park


30 May – 12 August

London’s operatic ‘summer in the city’ means business, what with five new productions including the world premiere of a specially commissioned opera from Jonathan Dove.

Based on novels by Simon Mayo, Itch is the story of a geeky obsessive inadvertently caught up in a nail-biting mission to save the world. It’s conducted by Stephen Barlow who presided over the company’s previous staging of Dove’s Flight. Also cleared for take-off in the 2023 edition are Verdi’s Rigoletto, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Puccini’s La bohème and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore.

Garsington Opera

Wormsley Estate, Buckinghamshire

31 May – 22 July

Transporting Rossini’s comic masterpiece to 1930’s Seville, Christopher Luscombe’s production of The Barber of Seville (one of the best operas for beginners) bestows a twinkle on the first of four operas gracing Wormsley’s bespoke lakeside pavilion this year.

There’s a rarity too: the 14-year-old Mozart’s Mitridate conducted by Clemens Schuldt. Bruno Ravella’s Rosenkavalier was one of the highlights of the 2021 season and he returns to direct more Richard Strauss: the riotous conflation of high art, burlesque and bruised egos that is Ariadne auf Naxos. Natalya Romaniw takes the role of the hapless Ariadne.

Nevill Holt Opera

Market Harborough, Leicestershire

31 May – 28 June

Nevill Holt might have added a winter festival to its roll call of enticements last year, but summer is when the al fresco sculptures and stylish purpose-built opera house come into their own. From comedy to verismo, Italy is in the driving seat as Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi go head-to-head in a double bill conducted by artistic director Nicholas Chalmers. Wrapping things up is Rossini’s Cinderella in a new production by Owen Horsley.


The Grange Festival

Alresford, Hampshire

8 June – 2 July

Cynically put to the test, love is in the Hampshire air. Don Alfonso’s worldly-wise scepticism drives the not-quite comedy of Mozart’s Così fan tutte which opens the season. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, meanwhile, channel a double bill overshadowed by death: Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. To end, there’s all to play for as Paul Daniel conducts Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. Eduard Martynyuk is Herman, with Josephine Barstow as the Countess.

Grange Park Opera

West Horsley Place, Surrey

8 June – 13 July

From Indian pavilions to crinkle-crankle walled garden, and an opera house that is modelled on La Scala Milan, ‘home’ to Grange Park Opera is a place bathed in bosky enchantment. Not that there’s anything peaceful about the impassioned relationships baked into a season that unites Puccini’s Tosca, Massenet’s Werther and, raising the curtain, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Gwyn Hughes Jones and Rachel Nicholls take the title roles in the latter which is conducted by Stephen Barlow and directed by Charles Edwards.

Leeds Lieder Festival

9-17 June

Topped and tailed by Gala Recitals featuring tenor Mark Padmore and mezzo Dame Sarah Connolly (who premieres a new cycle by Errollyn Wallen), Leeds Lieder’s guest of honour is another great mezzo: Dame Janet Baker.

Pianist and artistic director Joseph Middleton masterminds an arresting skein of masterclasses and outreach activities to complement recitals including chansons from soprano Véronique Gens and a 200th-anniversary salute to Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin.

Aldeburgh Festival

Snape Maltings and around

9-25 June

No visit to Aldeburgh is complete without visiting The Red House, Britten’s home tucked away from the bustle of the seafront. During the festival weeks, however, how do you fit it all in?

Time is indeed at a premium, with 35 world and nine British premieres, eight visiting string quartets and five orchestras in a programme that spools back to a 1595 Venetian Coronation, laces up for a Britten Song Trail and spotlights composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Cassandra Miller.

Opening this year’s proceedings is Giant, a new opera by Sarah Angliss that unites five voices, 18th-century instruments and 21st-century musical technology.

Festival of Chichester

10 June – 9 July

The city’s month-long rendezvous is the sort of festival that likes to say ‘Yes’! From music in all its guises to arts and crafts, cinema and dance, all are grist to Chichester’s mill. Vocal quartet Sonare journeys through 900 years of music by women composers; the Endymion Ensemble pairs quartet Mozart with sextet Dohnányi; and in the cathedral where Holst’s ashes are interred, the Tallis Fantasia of his friend Vaughan Williams is performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra before Mendelssohn and Dvořák.

Thaxted Festival

16 June – 9 July

Lofty Thaxted Church might be the hub of a festival indebted to Holst’s Whitsuntide music-making with students, professionals and locals during World War I, but it’s a festival on the move this year.

Step aboard the Audley End Miniature Railway and be whisked off to the Tippett Quartet’s family-friendly concert in the woods. Back at the church, they also premiere Noah Max’s String Quartet No. 2; Orlando Jopling conducts his new opera company in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love; and on the closing night, The Orchestra of the Swan makes unlikely bedfellows of Rameau, Maxwell Davies and George Harrison.

Stour Music

Boughton Aluph

Kent, 16-25 June

Boughton Aluph’s pilgrim church will be fighting its demons this summer as artistic director Robert Hollingworth’s vocal ensemble I Fagiolini teams up with Brecon Baroque. ‘Angels and Demons’ pulls an unexpected Christmas cracker combining festive JS Bach, Monteverdi and Byrd with Neapolitan pantomime, and similarly playing fast and loose with the seasons, Solomon’s Knot performs Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Harpsichords in triplicate, a tribute to David Munrow and Benevoli’s Mass for four choirs propel a programme that ends with the enigmatically titled ‘Reining in Donkeys’.

St Magnus Festival


16-23 June

With a composer (Peter Maxwell Davies) and a poet (George Mackay Brown) among its founding fathers, St Magnus Festival has always enthusiastically adopted a multi-arts approach. Scottish Ballet appears for the first time this year, and there’s the premiere of a new play by David McNeish. But music is loud and proud, what with a jamboree of massed accordions.

At the head of a cohort of Dutch artists, the Amsterdam-based Ragazze Quartet is in residence, including a string quartet re-imagining of Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise with baritone Martijn Cornet; the Hebrides Ensemble accepts an invitation to the dance from Ravel; and the period instruments of Florilegium pay a visit to the Court of the Sun King Louis XIV and sup at Leipzig’s Café Zimmermann in the company of Bach and Telemann.

Proms at St Jude’s

Hampstead Garden Suburb, London

24 June – 2 July

It’s nigh-on 30 years since Lutyens’s imposing North London church inaugurated a festival that’s grown to welcome a Litfest and signature Heritage Walks. An inclusive core music programme remains key, though, introduced this year by the Fantasia Orchestra and violinist Jennifer Pike.

The Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra accompanies a screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, while opera returns to NW11 when Christopher Monks’s Armonico Consort pairs Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. The London Mozart Players supply a traditional ‘Last Night’ including Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

East Neuk Festival


29 June – 2 July

Musical camaraderie hangs in the air as the fishing villages of the Fife coast prepare to welcome back a festival that professes not to ‘do’ themes but contrives some serendipitous strands.

The Belcea Quartet and distinguished friends venture solo Bach to sextets by Brahms and Chausson; Spanish accordionist Sofía Ros joins Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski for a Latin journey; and in Holy Trinity St Andrews, Philip Glass’ take on Vivaldi caps Bach and Britten.

Manchester International Festival

29 June – 16 July

New work is central to what Manchester’s edgy biennial is all about, and the festival returns feeling decidedly chipper. Christening its new state-of-the-art ‘Factory’ home, the programme includes the world premiere of Philip Venables’s The Faggots and their Friends between Revolutions.

The BBC Philharmonic under Vimbayi Kaziboni premieres music by John Luther Adams, Ailís Ní Ríain and Alissa Firsova; and Britten’s Noye’s Fludde is making waves.


JAM on the Marsh Festival

Romney Marsh, Kent,

4-16 July

The Marsh in question is Romney, and JAM has been ‘jamming’ there for a decade now. A celebration is in order. From medieval churches to stream railway carriages, it’s a moveable feast, and in St Leonard’s Church, Hythe a three-concert day trip to Paris includes Berlioz, Messiaen and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

Anna Tilbrook and the Sacconi Quartet tickle Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet; and the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral join the London Mozart Players for the premiere of The Sky Engine, a community oratorio by Richard Peat.

Penarth Chamber Music Festival

South Wales

6-9 July

With panoramic views across the Bristol Channel and end-of-the-pier shows like no other, Penarth’s celebration of chamber music has quite some USP. Violinist David Adams and cellist Alice Neary invite friends including soprano Claire Booth for a seaside sojourn that ranges over late night ‘Myths and Legends’, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schoenberg’s landmark Pierrot lunaire.

Lichfield Festival

6-16 July

The Midlands’ pre-eminent multi-arts festival attained its 40th birthday last year and the 2023 instalment has the wind in its sails. In Lichfield’s triple-spired cathedral Berlioz and Sibelius bring together the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Ryan Bancroft; associate artist Danny Driver makes three appearances - one accompanying violinist Jack Liebeck as they tail Stravinsky and Korngold in Hollywood; Stravinsky and Coco Chanel intrigue accordionist Miloš Milivojević and violinist-vocalist Lizzie Ball; and the Liberata Collective and Ensemble Hesperi are waylaid by Handel’s Orlando.

Buxton International Festival

6-23 July

Frank Matcham’s matchless opera house isn’t just the perfect home for Buxton’s core operatic offerings. At the centre of an all-encompassing festival, it also hosts writers, politicians and jazz – trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is a headliner for 2023.

Among the spa town’s signature opera productions are Bellini’s La Sonnambula, and the young Mozart’s Il Re Pastore, conducted by Adrian Kelly, Handel’s Orlando, staged with period gestures, and a new musical uniting Vera Brittain and Ivor Novello.

Deal Festival


7-16 July

Former Deal resident and erstwhile artistic director of its festival, composer David Matthews is handsomely fêted in his 80th-birthday year. And there’s a new composer at the helm, as Luke Styles prepares to take it into the future.

The Resonate Chamber Orchestra, Kegelstatt Trio, pianist Junyan Chen and Kreutzer Quartet line up to pay tribute to Matthews; mezzo Hilary Summers asks ‘What’s so great about opera?’; and the English Concert under Trevor Pinnock are single-minded Mozartians.

York Early Music Festival

7-14 July

Taking its lead from the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is York’s strapline for 2023. In the imposing Minster, The Sixteen contextualises the liturgical music; The Rose Consort of Viols and The Marian Consort explore the world of Elizabeth I’s court; and harpsichordist Francesco Corti interleaves some of the keyboard works with Frescobaldi and Peter Philips. But York isn’t single-minded. Countertenor Iestyn Davies sings Handel, and an alliance of Hera, Mahogany Opera and the Dunedin Consort celebrate Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre.

Cheltenham Festival

8-15 July

When it comes to its flagship music festival, Cheltenham doesn’t rest on its laurels. Long gone is the conservatism for which it was once a byword. In the opening weekend alone, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra premieres a new work by James B. Wilson, the Maxwell Quartet follows a co-commissioned piece by James MacMillan with Eleanor Alberga, and at the Pittville Pump Room, the Doric Quartet and Mark Simpson include Thomas Adès’s clarinet quintet Alchymia. And in a festival that goes Byrdwatching in Regency drawing rooms and secures two helpings of Bach from the Dunedin Consort, Anna Meredith has the ‘seasonal’ last word.

BBC Proms


14 July – 9 September

Last year, from Bristol to Belfast, Truro to Glasgow, the BBC Proms took to the road. hosted visiting orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and saluted Aretha Franklin. What’s in store for 2023? It’s hard to imagine the Rachmaninov and Ligeti anniversaries will be overlooked. Here is the full BBC Proms 2023 schedule

Ryedale Festival

North Yorkshire

14-30 July

With its medieval churches, majestic Minster and stately homes, when it comes to venues, Ryedale enjoys an embarrassment of riches. And, similarly richly endowed is pianist Christopher Glyn’s adroit programming, which this year nods to the anniversaries of Rachmaninov, Byrd and the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The Dudok Quartet embarks on a cycle of the complete Tchaikovsky string quartets; a pop-up-production of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis takes to the road; and a light music afternoon salutes Scarborough stalwart Max Jaffa.

Music at Paxton


21-30 July

It’s all change in the Scottish Borders, where the period-instrument Consone Quartet take up residence as artists-in-association, leavening Haydn and Mozart with Sibelius and Puccini. In the august picture gallery of Palladian Paxton House, Melvyn Tan plays Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas and accompanies Guy Johnston in the complete cello sonatas; the Andante Chamber Choir, meanwhile, cuts a dash with James MacMillan and Billy Joel.

Bampton Classical Opera


21 July – 13 September

For 30 years, Bampton has been championing the 18th century’s less familiar operatic fare, and as birthday candles are metaphorically extinguished, Salieri’s 1772 hit La fiera di Venezia is given its probable UK premiere. Thomas Blunt conducts a production by Jeremy Gray which also fetches up at St John’s Smith Square, London, in September.

Dartington Summer Music School and Festival

Totnes, Devon

22 July – 19 August

There are double helpings of birthday cake to be consumed as the Summer School celebrates its 75th anniversary plus 70 years of music-making in its idyllic Devon home. Dartington has always been something of a powerhouse.

Stravinsky was on the 1957 faculty, with students including Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies. This year, Thea Musgrave is composer-in-residence; and in the medieval Great Hall there’s Purcell and Bach from John Butt, 17th-century Italian polychoral music from I Fagiolini, and James Gilchrist sings Mahler, Fauré, and Quilter.

Three Choirs Festival


22-29 July

There’s more to the Three Choirs Festival than choral music, but from Festival Chorus to solo recital, the human voice is never far away– the clue’s in the name! And as Gloucester prepares to take its turn as host, 2023 notches up the 295th edition. Rounding out a year-long celebration of proud Gloucestershire man Ralph Vaughan Williams are his opera The Pilgrim’s Progress and viola suite Flos Campi. There’s Elgar too, while tempting rarities include Graham Fitkin’s cantata The Age of Aspiration and a Passion setting by a contemporary of JS Bach, Gottfried Stölzel.

Summer at Snape

Snape Maltings

24 July – 3 September

The name might have changed, but anyone mourning the loss of ‘Snape Proms’ can take heart. Its reincarnation adds a week to festivities that, taken together with June’s Aldeburgh Festival, turn the Suffolk seaside into summer festival central.

Jazz and folk are part of a programme that invites the intrepid Aurora Orchestra to tackle Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – from memory, no less. There’s a complete Mozart piano sonata cycle from Christian Blackshaw, and other visitors include soprano Danielle de Niese and guitarist Sean Shibe.

Dorset Opera Festival

Bryanston, Dorset

25-29 July

As the summer school readies itself for next year’s half-century edition, Mozart returns to Bryanston, where Figaro and Susanna are bent on outwitting their libidinous master. The Marriage of Figaro is paired with Massenet’s five-act take on love and loss: Le roi de Lahore.

Lake District Summer Music

28 July – 6 August

After last summer’s immersion in Vaughan Williams, the musical legacy of Vienna is exercising Lake District minds (and fingers) this year. Incomers such as Beethoven and Brahms invite scrutiny alongside natives including Schubert and Zemlinsky. The Barbican, Sacconi and Chiaroscuro string quartets share rich pickings; in John Ruskin’s former home on the shore of Coniston Water, solo violin works by Kurtág and Ysayë are woven around Bacewicz and Saariaho; and there’s downsized Mahler as Stephen Threlfall conducts Klaus Simon’s artful arrangement of Symphony No. 4.


Edinburgh International Festival

4-27 August

The times they are a-changing at Edinburgh Festival. After eight years in the role, 2022 was Fergus Linehan’s last as director, and he bowed out at an auspicious moment: the 75th instalment of a festival founded in the aftermath of World War II to foster ‘a flowering of the human spirit’. Stepping into his shoes is violinist Nicola Benedetti – the first musician, and Scot, to occupy the hot seat.

Waterperry Opera

Waterperry House, Oxfordshire

11-20 August

From small beginnings, Waterperry has flourished and musters no fewer than eight productions – among them an unlikely encounter between Haydn and Peter Rabbit, and Paul Patterson’s Roald Dahl-inspired take on ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘The Three Little Pigs’. Headlining the summer is Bizet’s Carmen conducted by Bertie Baigent; and there are two outings for Judith Weir’s solo soprano tour de force, King Harald’s Saga.

North York Moors Chamber Music Festival

Welburn and around

13-26 August

Octagonal-towered Coxwold Church to the Norman sturdiness of St Mary’s Lastingham, cellist Jamie Walton’s peripatetic cornucopia continues its love affair with the North York Moors National Park. Welburn Manor is where the lion’s share of the concerts take place in a specially adapted marquee.

Bookended by Schumann’s Kinderszenen and Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals, ‘Into the Looking Glass’ is the inspiration as Walton and friends embark on a programme that finds Ligeti hommaging Brahms, György Kurtág paying a nod to Schumann, and Gulliver’s Travels as envisioned by Telemann.

Clandeboye Festival

Bangor, County Down

19-26 August

‘Cultivated connections’ is the intriguing theme when director Barry Douglas, Camerata Ireland and friends including violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky and soprano Ailish Tynan reassemble in the aristocratic surroundings of Clandeboye. A celebration of Penderecki pairs his Sextet with the sunny sparkle of Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet – and Schubert’s String Quintet crowns an opening night that also features Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio. Douglas himself gives a solo piano recital that locates Schubert and Chopin between late Brahms and Liszt’s B minor Sonata

Presteigne Festival


24-28 August

Unlike its Vale of Glamorgan Festival cousin, Presteigne isn’t exclusively given over to living composers. But it certainly has a soft spot for music with the ink still wet on the page. Eleven new works are premiered in an edition that marks David Matthews’s 80th birthday and the 75th of festival resident Michael Berkeley. Roxanna Panufnik is composer-in-residence, and on the opening night Janáček’s The Diary of One who Disappeared is performed in the translation by Seamus Heaney.

IF Opera

Belcombe Court, Bradford-on-Avon,

24 August – 16 September

If Giordano’s Fedora, a steamy tale of murder, adultery and revenge, looks a leftfield choice for country house opera, it’s coincidentally scheduled for La Scala and the Met this season. And IF Opera can look to the example of Opera Holland Park, which has long championed the byways of Italian verismo. Elsewhere, Iolanta sees the light (literally) at Wiltshire Music Centre, while Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is staged in Belcombe’s elegant gardens.


Lammermuir Festival

East Lothian

7-18 September


The perfect marriage of sound and stone was one of the founding aspirations of Lammermuir, and it’s been effortlessly marrying fine architecture and music across East Lothian since 2010. In that time, it’s accrued a few festival favourites, among them the returning Dunedin Consort, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and Scottish Opera. Another regular is pianist Steven Osborne, who gives a lecture-recital probing Rachmaninov; the omnivorous Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective ranges across Bacewicz and Nicola Lefanu, Coleridge Taylor and Poulenc; and in his 400th anniversary year, the Gesualdo Six and Fretwork busy themselves with Byrd.