Edward Gardner, Eric Whitacre and The King’s Singers among artists announced for Cheltenham

Festival's 70th anniversary programme revealed

Edward Gardner
Published: March 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Cheltenham Festival today announced its 2015 programme, revealing a wide variety of performers for its 70th anniversary, including conductors Edward Gardner (above) and Eric Whitacre, and The King’s Singers.


This year's festival, which runs from the 30 June until 11 July, takes inspiration from Paris while marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. There will be performances of works by Strauss, Britten and Messiaen as well as Parisian caberet and music by Erik Satie.

Eric Whitacre will be this year’s featured artist and on the opening night he will conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra in an orchestral version of one of his most well known pieces, Water Night.

Director of Cheltenham Festival, Meurig Bowen, says, 'I thought it would be interesting to celebrate a number of pieces that have deservedly made their mark in the repertoire since 1945 - music as important as Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Poulenc’s Figure Humaine and Messiaen’s Vingt Regards. Our broader Parisian theme interlocks with this; the city emerging from wartime occupation 70 years ago, and with a figure like Messiaen making the traverse towards postwar modernism.'

The festival will also see the return of the Festival Proms, a series of five concerts which take place in Cheltenham's grand Town Hall. These will begin with an evening inspired by George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, featuring an array of works performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Young Musician 2014 winner, pianist Martin James Bartlett, conducted by Ben Gernon. Further Proms performances feature the CBSO performing Mozart and Rachmaninov, pianist Stephen Osborn and Edward Gardner conducting Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 3 with Chetham's Symphony Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly.

There will be ten premieres of new works, including the world premiere of Charlotte Bray's one-act chamber opera, Entanglement, which draws inspiration from the life of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain.

Other highlights include The King’s Singers's celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia and the appearance of soul-jazz singer Laura Mvula with the Eric Whitacre Singers at Gloucester Cathedral.

The festival will conclude with an all-Mendelssohn finale, featuring the Academy of Ancient Music and violinist Alina Ibragimova, conducted by Edward Gardner.

Click here to view the full festival programme.

Cheltenham Festival takes place from 30 June to 11 July 2015. Visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music to find out more

Pick up our April 2015 issue, out Wednesday 18 March, for our special guide to this year's best classical music festivals

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