Event endedEditor's Choice
Classical music fans are in for a treat as Cheltenham Music Festival returns for its hotly anticipated 74th year, from Saturday 30 June to Sunday 15 July 2018, featuring a star-studded line-up ranging from music greats to rising stars.
Offering everything from grand nights out and chamber concerts, to choral music and innovative events, Cheltenham Music Festival is all about high-calibre performances, magnificent venues, and a huge variety of music.
With performances in beautiful, prestigious venues such as Gloucester Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey, Pittville Pump Room, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Cheltenham College Chapel, audiences can enjoy a wonderful experience, at whichever venue they select.
Spanning two weeks, SoGlos picks out some of unmissable highlights in 2018, while the full list of events can be found at cheltenhamfestivals.com.
Image © Nadia F Romanini
See Sir Mark Elder conduct The Hallé on Wednesday 4 July, offering a performance of Elgar’s ‘Symphony No 1’ along with a number of Mozart and Richard Strauss songs with award-winning soprano Louise Alder.
Grammy award-winning Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov will make his debut performance at Cheltenham Music Festival on Thursday 5 July, joined by the soloists of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sir András Schiff and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will delight audiences on Sunday 8 July during a programme purely of Haydn’s music.
Other highlights include the Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow on Friday 13 July; and the Iford Arts and Opera della Luna who will perform Bernstein’s Candide on Thursday 12 July.
An integral part of the 2018 festival programme, the Pittville Chamber Encounters offer daily morning recitals within the iconic setting of Pittville Pump Room, featuring the finest pianists, singers and chamber ensembles.
The series begins with Dame Sarah Connolly on Wednesday 4 July, followed by the Sitkovetsky Piano Trio on Thursday 5 July; the UK’s leading Haffner Wind Ensemble on Saturday 7 July; pianist Benjamin Grosvenor on Sunday 8 July; and the Eberle Masurenko Helmchen Hecker Quartet on Thursday 12 July, to name just a few.
Taking place on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July, Bach at the Café Zimmerman encompasses four intimate concerts within the beautiful setting of Syde Manor, opened by world-renowned Iranian-American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.
Music fans can also look forward to Parisian Choral Works by Candlelight within the atmospheric surroundings of Cheltenham College on Thursday 5 July; hear The Choir of King's College Cambridge at Cheltenham College Chapel on Wednesday 11 July; and head to Gloucester Cathedral for Berlioz’s Grand Messe des morts on Saturday 14 July.
Always a highlight of the festival, the BBC New Generation Artists series features names spanning New York-based Calidore Quartet and trumpeter Simon Höfele on Monday 9 July; the Calidore Quartet on Tuesday 10 July; and pianist Mariam Batsashvili on Wednesday 11 July.
There will also be the BBC Young Musician Rush Hour which sold out last year, with talented young musicians including Sophie Westbrooke on Friday 6 July; and cellist Laura van der Heijden on Monday 9 July.
Other anticipated events include a debut Cheltenham performance from vocal ensemble The Carice Singers who will pay tribute to Sir Hubert Parry on Thursday 5 July; and the Quenington Recital from harpist Richard Allen, a current member of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust’s young artist scheme, on Thursday 12 July.
Offering innovative and exciting entertainment, music lovers can look forward to a host of unique events at this year’s festival.
On Friday 6 July enjoy An A-Z of Orchestral Triangle Playing, a humorous and irreverent insight into the real world of the orchestral musician; and see a Bernstein Double Bill on Tuesday 10 July which features a one-man play and film.
There will also be a mix of pop, beat-boxing, electronica and poetry during Verbal: Poetry Infused Music on Thursday 12 July; and even a Music & Yoga Waves session on Saturday 14 July.
This summer’s Cheltenham Music Festival boasts more than 20 world premières, including a retelling of Hansel and Gretel by poet Simon Armitage, with chamber music by Matthew Kaner, taking place on Saturday 7 July.
The Ligeti Quartet will perform four world premières on Wednesday 11 July; there will be a new chamber opera, Juliana by Joseph Phibbs on Sunday 15 July; and the Carducci Quartet and David Cohen will perform Gavin Higgins’ new work Gursky Landscapes on Friday 6 July.
There’s plenty of spectacular performances that are accessible for seasoned classical music lovers and first timers alike, with highlights including a celebration of film and game music, Thrones, Swords and Fantasy on Saturday 7 July; and a performance by The King's Singers that pays homage to composers, songwriters and singers of all kinds on Monday 9 July.
What’s more, following a successful debut in 2017, the Classical Mixtape at Tewkesbury presents short pieces of live music from a host of different stages that surround the audience – whether they want to stand, sit or even lie down while they listen!
Image © Mark Allan
On Sunday 8 July there will be the festival’s first Family Concert with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, presented by CBBC’s Naomi Wilkinson and welcoming plenty of audience participation.
Lilliput Concerts – Music for Tiny People takes place on Monday 9 July, featuring a delightful mix of classical music within a relaxed setting.
Meanwhile on Saturday 14 July there’s the chance to enjoy a Family Yoga & Sound session; head to the Royal Academy of Dance Children's Workshops; and a magical performance of The Nutcracker & I by Alexandra Dariescu.
For the full line-up of events and to book tickets in advance, as well as information on festival venues, visit cheltenhamfestivals.com/music directly.
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